Coinbase Hires Former Snap India Boss in Emerging Markets Push – TechCrunch

Coinbase has hired Durgesh Kaushik, the former head of Snap India, as the global cryptocurrency exchange looks to expand its reach in emerging markets including India, TechCrunch has learned and confirmed.

Kaushik is joining Coinbase as Senior Director of Market Expansion and is tasked with helping the company with its launch in India and several other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas.

Sought for comment over the weekend, the company confirmed the development and said that Kaushik will join the company on May 9.

“We are excited to confirm that Durgesh Kaushik will join Coinbase on May 9 as our Senior Director of Market Expansion,” said Nana Murugesan, Vice President of Business Development and International Partnerships at Coinbase, in a statement provided to TechCrunch by a spokesperson company.

Murugesan added: “[Kaushik’s] The appointment to this global leadership role is an important step towards our entry into India as well as our mission to increase economic freedom across the world. In addition to his initial focus on our launch in India, Durgesh will leverage his extensive experience to also support our entry into other markets in APAC, EMEA and the Americas, as set out in our recent blog post on our global expansion strategy.”

Kaushik – who has worked at companies such as Facebook and hyperlocal delivery service Dunzo and also co-founded a social video platform – is widely credited with helping Snap change its footing in India. Under his leadership, the company has grown India’s monthly active user base to about 130 million, according to mobile insights firm Data.ai (formerly known as App Annie), up from about 30 million when Kaushik joined the company. company in April 2019.

He was tasked with helping the social media platform grow to 100 million users in the first or second quarter of 2021, according to an executive who has engaged with Snap employees. Kaushik announced his departure from Snap last month.

Kaushik’s appointment comes at a time when Coinbase is struggling and, in many ways, feeling a bit helpless, making its eponymous cryptocurrency exchange service operational in India. The publicly traded company announced the launch of Coinbase in India to much fanfare last month.

Coinbase launched last month in India with support for UPI, a payments railroad built by a coalition of retail banks that has become the most popular way Indians transact online today. But on the same day, the National Payments Corporation of India, the payments body that oversees UPI, threw a ball at the company stating that it was not aware of any cryptocurrency exchanges using UPI. Three days later, Coinbase suspended support for the app’s UPI and currently its users in the country have no means to outperform their fiat currency.

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

Indian newspaper Economic Times reported late last month that several banks have approached and questioned the NPCI about its “parallel ban” on cryptocurrency-related transactions and are seeking a formal directive. Reacting to the news, Brian Armstrong, co-founder and chief executive, he said: “Tough questions and good questions for NPCI and RBI in India. Is “shadow ban” a violation of the Supreme Court ruling?”

Murugesan said the company is also looking to hire a new regional managing director for India and South Asia.

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