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CoinSwitch Navigates Choppy Waters: Shaping a New Path Amidst Layoffs and Crypto Challenges

Jack Evans
Aug 29, 2023 at 08:07 pm

In a recent move that echoes the turbulence of the crypto industry, CoinSwitch, a prominent Indian cryptocurrency exchange supported by Andreessen Horowitz and Coinbase Ventures, has made the difficult decision to downsize its customer support team. Against the backdrop of ambiguous crypto regulations and the weight of stringent taxation policies, the exchange has bid farewell to 44 members of its customer support division, as reported by local news source Moneycontrol.

Addressing this strategic shift, a spokesperson from CoinSwitch characterized the downsizing as a "right-sizing" measure. The impacted team members chose to voluntarily step down after engaging in in-depth conversations with their managers. The exchange's spokesperson clarified, "We right-sized our customer support team <...> This impacted the roles of 44 members of our customer support team, who voluntarily resigned from their roles after a detailed discussion with their managers earlier this month."

However, the alterations didn't appear confined to the customer support sector. Anonymous insiders revealed that the company had also parted ways with employees from its operations team. CoinSwitch swiftly countered these claims, asserting its operational model centered on a "flat organizational structure with minimal hierarchy."

Beyond the immediate impact, CoinSwitch's maneuver is a reflection of the trials experienced by the broader Indian crypto landscape. Akin to its rival, CoinDCX, which recently trimmed its workforce by 12%, CoinSwitch has had to grapple with a perplexing regulatory climate and the onerous burden of crypto taxation. These challenges have notably led to a marked decline in trading volumes on local exchanges.

In a bid to address these concerns, the Bharat Web3 Association, comprising influential Indian exchanges, has urged the government to reconsider the Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) rate, proposing a range from 0.1% to 0.001%, down from the prevailing 1%. This call stems from the growing trend of Indian investors seeking more favorable tax conditions on foreign exchanges.

Diversification emerges as a key theme in CoinSwitch's future strategy. Reports reveal that the exchange is exploring avenues beyond the crypto realm, envisioning the creation of a wealth tech platform. CEO Ashish Singhal disclosed this vision in July to Moneycontrol, sharing plans to introduce a spectrum of financial products, including mutual funds, fixed deposits, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and bonds, aiming to roll out this array by the conclusion of 2023. CoinSwitch's ambition to diversify follows its attainment of unicorn status in 2021 through a Series C funding round that secured $260 million. Investors like Andreessen Horowitz, Coinbase Ventures, Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital, and Paradigm contributed to the exchange's transformative journey.

In the midst of industry disruptions, CoinSwitch's recent workforce adjustments and its vision for diversification encapsulate the challenging and dynamic landscape of cryptocurrencies in India. While regulatory headwinds and tax complexities may buffet the ship, CoinSwitch steers forward, poised to navigate new waters and explore innovative horizons.

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