OKX, a top-10 crypto exchange by trading volume, has set its sights on expanding into India and is actively seeking local talent to delve into potential Web3 projects, according to the company’s CMO, Haider Rafique, in a conversation with CoinDesk. OKX, which operates regional centers in various global cities like Hong Kong and Singapore, aims to significantly grow its wallet services by leveraging India’s robust developer ecosystem. Rafique disclosed that OKX already has around 200,000 wallet users in India, which represents just 5% of the country’s Web3 user base.
“We’re not just barging in; we want to understand the local community and collaborate with local stakeholders to identify where we can make a meaningful impact,” Rafique said.
While cryptocurrency isn’t strictly illegal in India, it isn’t fully legalized either. The government has yet to pass any laws concerning Web3 or crypto but has imposed hefty taxes on trading and set up anti-money laundering protocols. Despite a restrictive regulatory landscape that has deterred many global crypto exchanges from entering India, six of the country’s top-10 trading apps are from international platforms.
Rafique explained that OKX distinguishes between Web3 and traditional centralized finance (CeFi) and believes that Indian regulators are also moving in this direction. “Our focus is mainly on Web3 services, which don’t require us to have an office in India. But once a regulatory framework is established, we’d love to be at the forefront,” he added.
Currently, OKX doesn’t have a physical office in India and doesn’t see the immediate need for one, specifically for offering Web3 services. However, the company is keen to assemble a team that will spearhead their Indian initiatives.
“We’re in the process of figuring out key players and understanding how we can support and collaborate with the large developer community here. Whether it’s sponsoring Web3 or developer events, or organizing something like an OKX Blockchain Week, these are options we’re actively exploring,” Rafique stated.
In a recent move, OKX partnered with blockchain platform Neo for an APAC Hackathon held in Bengaluru, which Rafique said serves as an experiment to better understand the local landscape and ecosystem.