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Coinbase is entering India, appoints Google Pay engineer Pankaj Gupta as lead


Global crypto-currency exchange Coinbase Inc. is hiring staff in India and has hired Pankaj Gupta as vice president of engineering and site lead in India. In Twitter post, Gupta said that he is leaving his role as Senior Director of Engineer at Google Pay at the end of the month to start Coinbase’s platform in India from scratch.

With a PHD from Standford University at the start of millennia, Gupta worked out of Silicon Valley and Menlo part for a while, with a 5 year stint at Twitter as a data scientist, according to LinkedIn. He eventually moved back to India in 2016 and after a brief time with now defunt-Stayzilla, he formed an artificial intelligence company called Halli Labs. Gupta sold Halli Labs to Google within a few months of its founding and joined the tech giant a year later. He headed the engineering team for Google Tez (Google Pay in India) in Asia Pacific and eventually moved to a more global position as a senior engineer.

According to Coinbase’s website, it is hiring five positions, 4 for engineering and 1 for product.

In a blogpost on Wednesday, Gupta said that the company will explore startup acquisitions as part of India’s strategy and founders who are interested in joining Coinbase’s journey should get in touch.

“India has world-class tech expertise and some of the brightest minds in the industry. Coinbase plans to tap and develop this local talent. Specifically, the plan is to hire hundreds of employees across all levels in engineering, product management, UX design, research and program management within the next 1–2 years to build out a full tech hub in India” Pankaj Gupta

The entry of Coinbase, which recently listed shares on the NASDAQ, comes at a time when the government’s position on crypto-currencies remains ambiguous. However, at the same time it is a sign that India is an important market for crypto-investing and local talent have  much to contribute the development of the crypto-universe globally. As of closing on April 20, Coinbase’s shares were priced at $320 each. Its total market cap stood at $63 billion.

Coinbase could bring more regulatory credibility to the Indian market as crypto-currencies gain legitimacy abroad amongst the financial establishment and regulators. The government too seems to be more accepting of crypto-investing, on the one hand it has legitimised crypto-investing through company disclosure regulations and at the same time, has said that gains from trading and investing services will be taxed.

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