OKX eyes local talents as it plots entry into India

Global digital asset exchange OKX has signaled an intent to extend its footprint in India by hiring local developers to develop new solutions for the nation’s Web3 industry.

Chief Marketing Officer Haider Rafique stated that the new solutions will be tailored to wallet services as it seeks to attract new users. Presently, OKX has 200,000 Indian residents using its wallet services, which is less than five percent of the country’s Web3 users.

OKX is moving to “exponentially” increase its market share with new initiatives by leveraging on the local developer talent in India.

“We are not going to come in and cowboy this thing,” Rafique told the news outlet. “We’re going to learn about the community. We’re going to work with local folks. Figure out where we can add value.”

Plans are already underway, with the marketing executive confirming that the exchange is already shopping around for a team to spearhead its development plans. Rather than steer the operations of the local team, it is more likely that the exchange will give it free rein to develop Web3 solutions for Indian users.

“How do we first let them know what we’re about. And then work with these communities to figure out what is the right way in. Is it for us to sponsor Web3 conferences or developer conferences or host an OKX Blockchain Week? This is what we are exploring,” said Rafique.

However, OKX faces a steep mountain in its attempts to increase its presence in India’s digital currency ecosystem. The company faces stiff competition from India-based exchanges like CoinDCXWazirX, and CoinSwitch, entities with a significant first-mover advantage.

The government’s stance towards digital assets is seen as a potential stumbling block to OKX’s ambitions. Industry participants are expected to pay a 30% tax on gains and another 1% tax deductible at source (TDS) per transaction.

With stifling anti-money laundering (AML) rules and a passive-aggressive stance from the central bank, foreign firms face an uphill task in establishing a foothold in the space. Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN), the largest digital currency exchange in the U.S., was forced to shut down a section of its services following “informal pressure” from the central bank.

Looking for new hubs

Ranked as one of the leading exchanges in transaction volumes, OKX has been searching for new jurisdictions to operate following a rough patch with regulators. In March, the company exited Canada over claims of new and unfriendly regulations by Canadian authorities with plans to stage a return.

In July, the exchange clinched a preparatory license from Dubai’s digital currency regulator, pledging to comply with existing rules to attain a full license. The exchange, without any global headquarters, has operational hubs in Hong Kong, the Bahamas, and Singapore.

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