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.
Kaushika joins Coinbase as Senior Director of Market Expansion and is tasked with helping the company with its launch in India and various other markets in the Asia Pacific region, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas.
When asked for comment over the weekend, the company confirmed the development and said that Kaushik will join the firm on May 9.
“We are pleased to confirm that Durgesh Kaushik will be joining Coinbase on May 9 as our senior director of market expansion,” said Nana Murugesan, vice president of international business development and partnerships at Coinbase, in a statement provided to TechCrunch by a company. spokesman.
Murugesan added: “[Kaushik’s] Appointment to this global leadership role is an important step towards our entry into India, as well as our mission to increase economic freedom around the world. Beyond his initial focus on our launch in India, Durgesh will draw on 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 previously worked at companies including Facebook and hyperlocal delivery service Dunzo and also co-founded a social video platform, is widely credited with helping Snap turn around its position in India. Under his leadership, the company grew its monthly active user base in India to around 130 million, according to mobile insight firm Data.ai (formerly known as App Annie), up from 30 million when Kaushik joined. signing in April 2019.
He has been tasked with helping the social media platform grow to 100 million users by the first or second quarter of 2021, according to an executive who has engaged with Snap officials. Kaushik announced his departure from Snap last month.
Kaushik’s appointment comes at a time when Coinbase is scrambling to get its eponymous cryptocurrency exchange operational in India, and in many ways feels a bit helpless. The publicly traded company announced the launch of Coinbase in India with much fanfare last month.
Coinbase launched last month in India with the support of UPI, a payments railway 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 curveball at the company by stating that it was not aware of any crypto exchanges using UPI. Three days later, Coinbase discontinued support for UPI from the app 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 put pressure on banks to create friction with crypto-related transactions despite that the Supreme Court of India lifted the ban on cryptocurrencies imposed by the RBI. three years ago, according to an executive at a cryptocurrency exchange.
The Indian newspaper Economic Times reported late last month that several banks have approached and questioned the NPCI about its “shadow ban” on crypto-related transactions and are seeking a formal directive. Reacting to the news, Brian Armstrong, co-founder and CEO, saying: “Tough questions and good questions for NPCI and RBI in India. Is your “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.