Co-founders of India’s leading cryptocurrency exchange WazirX, Nischal Shetty and Siddharth Menon, have shifted base to Dubai, Business Today reported quoting sources.
Sources said that the two have moved to Dubai with their families even as WazirX continues to operate from its headquarters in Mumbai.
WazirX employees free to work from anywhere
At present, all employees of the cryptocurrency exchange, which is backed by Binance, are working remotely. Another co-founder and chief technology officer Sameer Mhatre continues to operate from India, the report said.
When contacted by CNBC-TV18, a company spokesperson said it had not shifted its headquarters from India.
"We are a remote-first organisation with employees in over 70 locations. This gives all the company employees the option to work from anywhere, subject to their comfort and convenience, unless they are required to travel officially. WazirX is headquartered in Mumbai and there is no change in any of our operating procedures. It is business as usual," the WazirX spokesperson told CNBC-TV18.
Shetty and Menon have reportedly stepped away from active daily operations at WazirX to focus on new projects, Moneycontrol had reported earlier.
In February, Shetty had announced he was working with US-based crypto innovator Omar Sayed on a project called ‘Shardeum.’ The same month, Menon said he would be launching Tegro, a Web3 game ecosystem marketplace, with game development firm SuperGaming.
Life after crypto tax
There has been a lot of chatter around brain drain after the Indian government announced a 30 percent tax on virtual digital assets from April 1 this year in addition to the 1 percent tax deductible at source. The tax has resulted in a significant drop in trading volumes in cryptocurrency exchanges.
Adding to investors' woes, the government has said companies could not set off losses on virtual digital assets against profits. Crypto mining has also been brought under the tax net, which drew severe criticism from the industry players.
In recent years, several Indian entrepreneurs have shifted their businesses to crypto-friendly jurisdictions despite the steep cost of setting up shop in those countries.
In 2018, crypto exchanges ZebPay and Vauld moved to Singapore. Other companies like CoinSwitch Kuber and CoinDCX are also registered in Singapore. Polygon, founded in India, shifted to Dubai, while Mudrex set up shop in the US in 2019.
Countries like the US, Dubai, Singapore, Mauritius, and the Cayman Islands have legalised cryptos, making them hotspots for crypto innovators and influencers.
"The lack of clarity on what the crypto regulatory framework will look like is making investors rethink their decision to make India the base for launching crypto platforms and products," Shilpa Mankar Ahluwalia, Partner and Head-FinTech at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co told CNBC-TV18.