Binance sees India as a source for a new generation of employees, despite its doubts about business developments in the country.
Binance chief technology officer Rohit Wad said that India would be one point of focus for upcoming internships. Wad said that Mumbai would be among five cities Binance is sourcing for its 2023 summer internship cycle.
Of Indian-origin himself, Wad said he hopes Binance can acquire some of the top talent from the country’s elite universities.
“I would like to see if we can find interns in India and get them bootstrapped on crypto,” Wad said. The chief technology officer also highlighted the country’s potential as a space for Web3 development. “There is going to be a tremendous boom in the innovation that comes out of India,” he said.
Wad highlighted the country’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) as an example of its technical innovation. He said that Binance would likely invest in at least one Indian startup in the next few years.
Binance: Questionable Future Development in India
However, the chief technology’s officer’s enthusiasm is tempered by the perspective of the company’s chief executive officer. Last week, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao expressed doubt about the company’s further development in India. He cited the country’s hostile approach to cryptocurrencies as the main reason it is not a viable place for expansion.
Zhao said that India’s repressive tax policy towards cryptocurrencies made it infeasible for conducting transactions at any significant scale. In addition to taxing income on the sale of any virtual assets at 30%, India imposes a 1% tax deduction at the source for crypto purchases. Zhao said this rate of taxation prohibits trading at any meaningful volume, as profits would dwindle with each additional transaction.
While the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange will continue to operate in India, Zhao said expansion would require a policy change. To this end, the chief executive said he was “in conversation with a number of industry associations and influential people.” However, he advised that “tax policies typically take a long time to change.”
The Impact of the Tax on Exchanges
India introduced this cryptocurrency tax regime earlier this year, and it has already had a marked effect on local exchanges. Following the introduction of the tax scheme, CoinDCX saw downloads of its app drop from 2.2 million in Jan. to 163,000 by Sept.
During the peak of the crypto boom last year, WazirX registered trading volumes of up to $500 million per day. As of last month, this figure had plummeted to just $5 million. The exchange also has a troubled relationship with Binance.
After WazirX came under investigation earlier this year, Binance distanced itself from the exchange, despite claiming to have acquired it in 2019. Zhao said these issues were unrelated to his current perspective about India’s unsuitability for development.
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