ZebPay Applies for Singapore License as Indian Regulations Remain Unclear
One of the first crypto exchanges in India, ZebPay, has applied for a license in Singapore and is looking to make a similar move in UAE, according to a report by Bloomberg. The move comes as recently-imposed transaction taxes in India weigh on ZebPay’s trading volumes.
New Crypto Taxes Hurt Trading Volumes in India
ZebPay, one of the oldest crypto exchanges in India, is targeting expansion in Singapore and United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bloomberg reports. The company has already applied for a license in Singapore and is considering doing the same in UAE, CEO Avinash Shekhar told Bloomberg.
The move comes as crypto exchanges in India struggle to fulfill their growth potential following the 1% transaction tax the Indian government imposed earlier this year. Shekhar said new taxes are weighing on crypto trading volume and must come down or “things are not going to improve,” he added.
Daily trading volumes at major crypto bourses in India have plummeted more than 90% since the new transaction taxes came into effect in July 2022. As a result, the embattled crypto exchange WazirX has reduced roughly 40% of its workforce. ZebPay took similar action, reducing salaries for non-management employees by 6%.
According to crypto data aggregator Nomcis, ZebPay’s trading volumes on a daily basis fell from $122 million in October 2021 to about $700,000. Founded in 2014, ZebPay is a key Indian crypto exchange that allows users to trade over 100 different tokens.
Shekhar intends to leave ZebPay to start his own Web3 venture, though he will retain an advisory role at the company. ZebPay will also be one of the seed investors of Shekhar’s new venture.
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India’s Crackdown on Crypto Industry
India’s new crypto taxes represent a part of the government’s efforts to crack down on local crypto companies. Last month, the financial watchdog Directorate of Enforcement (ED) froze $1.5 million worth of crypto assets in the country.
In the summer, India’s central bank asked the government to ban cryptocurrencies due to the “destabilizing” effect digital assets have on monetary stability. In response, India’s finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said global collaboration is needed to impose such a ban.
ZebPay’s decision to expand into Singapore does not come as a surprise as the city-state has been considered one of the most crypto-friendly countries in the world. However, even Singapore considered tightening restrictions on retail crypto trading following the LUNA implosion in May.
Do you expect more Indian crypto exchanges to seek overseas expansion following new crypto taxes? Let us know in the comments below.