As the founder of India’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Nischal Shetty has his finger on the pulse of new trends.
In 2017, after it took him more than a week to buy his first Bitcoin, he discovered a niche in the market to make trading the then-booming digital currency easier.
By 2018, he had launched WazirX as a localized cryptocurrency trading platform for his native India – a company that was later acquired by Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange.
Now he has the next phase of growth for cryptocurrencies in mind.
The challenge is to understand when the time is right for the idea because crypto is still early days.
Founder and CEO, WazirX
“The last three to four years were (were) the time to build crypto exchanges, first-tier blockchain products,” Shetty told CNBC Make It.
Blockchain refers to a decentralized, digital ledger that can be used to record data and transactions. One of its main uses is in the storage and management of digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum – forms of virtual cash that operate independently of state governments.
Choosing the right idea at the right time will be key to building the next big crypto company, he added.
Sameer Mhatre, Nischal Shetty and Siddharth Menon, co-founders of the Indian crypto trading exchange WazirX.
It’s not easy to spot this trend, but 36-year-old software developer Shetty expects the next wave of consumer goods to take place, making digital currencies more accessible in everyday life.
According to Deutsche Bank estimates, there are around 50 million blockchain wallet users worldwide today. By 2030, the bank expects it to grow to 200 million as digital currencies become more common.
“I think the next few years would be about developing consumer-oriented crypto products. It’s not really in human hands right now, ”Shetty said. “Then crypto-education will also turn out to be another big area for people to explore.”
A challenging business
The key for aspiring entrepreneurs is getting the timing right, Shetty said, noting that mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology is still a long way off right now.
“The challenge is understanding when the time is right for the idea because crypto is still early days,” Shetty said. “Many of these ideas are not feasible given the current technological status of the cryptocurrency.”
The crypto industry is facing increasing pressure internationally as authorities weigh concerns that it could support tax evasion and criminal activity.
For its part, WazirX was caught amid an ongoing crypto debate between Indian authorities, leading Shetty to partner with other exchanges to collectively involve the country’s top financial decision-makers.
It is a time of opportunity where any entrepreneur or anyone with an idea can step in and build it.
Founder and CEO, WazirX
“There will not be a smooth ride because mistakes will be made and in that we will see many difficulties that will come from a regulatory perspective,” he said.
Shetty compared the situation to the early days of the internet. In the beginning, poor technology and slow internet speeds made it difficult to send email. Today, video calls are commonplace and an important part of the work society.
Still, regulators are trying to get a grip on the rapidly evolving technology industry.
In the same way, new blockchain technologies offer developers and entrepreneurs the opportunity to help build the next wave of innovation, Shetty said.
“It will take time, but it is a time of opportunity where any entrepreneur or anyone with an idea can step in and build it,” he said.
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