Coinbase taps former Niti Aayog and Prosus director for India expansion – TechCrunch

Coinbase has hired Arnab Kumar, a former executive at Prosus Ventures, as part of the latest campaign to relaunch its eponymous cryptocurrency exchange in India.

Kumar, who also worked at influential think tank Niti Aayog and Deutsche Bank, is joining the exchange as director of Indian market expansion, a spokesperson said in an email. At Niti Aayog, Kumar was instrumental in conceptualizing, overseeing and liaising with different government departments for the Covid contact tracing app Aarogya Setu, a person familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.

The development comes at a time when Coinbase said it was cutting its global workforce by nearly a fifth as it prepares to navigate the crypto winter. A company spokesman said the recent layoff affected just 8% of its Indian staff.

Coinbase also recently hired former Snap executive Durgesh Kaushik to help the company launch in India and several other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and of the Americas.

The global crypto company is scrambling to relaunch its exchange service in India. The listed company announced the launch of Coinbase in India to much fanfare in April. But the app became non-functional after only three days in the country.

Coinbase was launched in India with the backing of UPI, a payment railway built by a coalition of retail banks that has become the most popular way for Indians to transact online today. But on the same day, the National Payments Corporation of India, the payments body that oversees UPI, threw a snowball at the company by claiming that it was not aware of any crypto exchange using UPI. Three days later, Coinbase suspended UPI support from the app and currently its users in the country have no way to exceed their fiat currency.

The NPCI, which is a special unit of India’s central bank (the Reserve Bank of India), and the RBI continue to informally pressure banks to create friction with crypto-related transactions despite the India’s Supreme Court lifted RBI ban on cryptocurrency. three years ago, according to an executive at a cryptocurrency exchange.

India’s Economic Times newspaper reported earlier that several banks have approached and questioned the NPCI about its “phantom ban” on cryptocurrency-related transactions and are seeking a formal directive. Reacting to the news, Brian Armstrong, co-founder and managing director, said: “Tough questions and good questions for NPCI and RBI in India. Is their “phantom ban” a violation of the Supreme Court ruling? »


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