WazirX, one of India’s largest crypto exchanges, is planning to shift its headquarters to Dubai, reports showed on Tuesday. The exchange’s co-founders, Nischal Shetty and Siddharth Menon, have already made the shift.
The move comes in the wake of a 30% tax on digital assets by the Indian government, along with a 1% tax on all crypto transactions. Several Indian crypto players, including Shetty, warned that the move would drive investors away from the country.
WazirX is among the largest crypto exchanges in India, with daily volumes of over $25 million. But it has also come under pressure from recent moves by the Indian government to curb crypto usage.
WazirX founders already in Dubai
Indian publication Business Today reported that Shetty and Menon had already shifted with their families to Dubai, citing sources close to the matter. Co-founder and chief technology officer Sameer Mhatre continues to operate from India.
Most of WazirX’s workforce is operating remotely, the publication said. The exchange, which was founded in 2018, was taken over by Binance in 2019. It has over 10 million active users, accounting for a bulk of the Indian market.
WazirX isn’t the first crypto firm to seek better shores abroad. In 2019, Polygon founder Sandeep Nailwal had also shifted base to Dubai. Naiwal recently called out the Indian government for driving a “crazy” crypto brain drain with muddled policies.
With its recent tax ruling, the Indian government appears to be echoing the anti-crypto stance shown by the Reserve Bank. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently criticized crypto over its potential for money laundering and financing terrorism.
Dubai becoming the next crypto hub?
Dubai has attracted a slew of crypto investors this year, after passing seemingly friendly regulation for the space. Binance and FTX, which both received licenses to operate in the city, could turn the port into a major crypto hub.
Binance has even considered making Dubai its global headquarters.
In March, Dubai passed its first law regulating virtual assets. The law set up a committee to regulate the space, and also includes plans to establish economic zones for the development of crypto.
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