ZebPay was launched by a group of Bitcoin enthusiasts Sandip Goenka, Mahin Gupta, and Saurabh Agarwal in 2015. Ever since the launch, the crypto exchange has seen momentous growth which includes over 3 million users and $2 Billion in fiat transactions.
Bitcoinworld recently caught up with ZebPay CEO Rahul Pagidipati to discuss various aspects of cryptocurrency in India and across the globe.
With the growing number of crypto exchanges, what is unique about ZebPay?
ZebPay is unique in that unlike other crypto exchanges that focus on short term trading, our priority is to encourage wealth creation for our customers through long term investing. We want to show the potential of Bitcoin as a store of value, much like any other asset class such as gold.
What led to the idea of forming ZebPay?
The three founders, Sandip Goenka, Mahin Gupta, and Saurabh Agarwal were big Bitcoin enthusiasts. There was no easy way to buy Bitcoin in India, so they created a very simple mechanism that at first was just a way for Indians to be able to buy Bitcoin, and then ZebPay grew from that.
How has cryptocurrency grown, in your view, ever since the ban was lifted in India?
There’s been an explosion of interest, not just in crypto trading but also in blockchain technology. Some people are still waiting for more regulatory clarity, but we hope that policymakers will create a regulatory framework for India soon, and we look forward to working with them.
There have been a lot of cases of crypto fraud in the country. What can be done to eradicate it?
Education is the most important thing. The fraud has never been in the crypto itself. It comes from old-fashioned tricks that fraudsters have always used, tricking people into giving their personal information or sending money. We’ve been working with law enforcement for years to fight such fraud. In fact, crypto itself is very secure because blockchains are completely transparent. Recent studies show that less than 1% of Bitcoin transactions are for illicit activities.
What do you think the future of cryptocurrency in India looks like?
Bitcoin and cryptocurrency are going to be part of the global economy in a fundamental way, and the same will be true for India. It’s hard to gauge just how big it’ll be, but the real impact of cryptocurrency goes far beyond trading and investing. We’ll see it affect healthcare, access to credit, banking the unbanked, and a host of other poverty-fighting measures, which is the direction ZebPay wants to go in the future.
Tell us more about the first non-fungible crypto token that ZebPay will launch
An NFT is a one-of-a-kind digital collectible and a technology that allows people to create digital art, agreements, proofs of ownership, and games. Project Dazzle (the name for a herd of zebras) will offer India’s first nonfungible crypto token.
At the start, we’ll give our members discounts and rewards using these NFTs including lower fees on the ZebPay exchange as well as discounts from partners such as e-commerce retailers, streaming services, and food deliveries. In the long term, we want to open-source the marketplace. India has millions of brilliant local artists and artisans and a digital NFT marketplace could offer new opportunities to create as well as protect their work.
How challenging is it to be accessible to the scores of Indian investors?
There are an estimated 5 million crypto investors in India already. ZebPay itself has over 30 lakh users. So the interest is real. Education is central to our marketing strategy. Because once people understand what Bitcoin is, and how crypto works, they very easily get why they should move a portion of their savings into this new asset class. So once we explain and teach, it’s not very hard to convince people that this is something they should look into. The main work right now is debunking myths and getting people accurate information.
Ever since the relaunch of ZebPay in India. How have things shaped up?
ZebPay has seen immense growth since March of this year. The number of trading customers has increased 3.8 times. Over 2 lakh unique users have traded with us, with an average month-on-month increase of 24%. Our app downloads and number of new users registered have also crossed 2 lakhs, with a 7% average month-on-month increase in new users.
When did they start lighting services?
Lightning payments were integrated in March 2019. We were among the first to offer it.
What are the possibilities for a visa or MasterCard launch from Zebpay that will allow us to use crypto to make payments at merchants accepting visas or MasterCard? Are there any in the works?
We are considering it, but don’t have any immediate announcements at this point.