After Indian Web 3.0 Startups, Are Crypto Exchanges up for a Dubai Move? – Analytics Insight


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According to reports, Indian cryptocurrency exchange, WazirX, co-founders Nischal Shetty and Siddharth Menon have shifted their base to Dubai from India. Sources said that Shetty and Menon have moved out of India with their families to Dubai, although WazirX still has an office in Mumbai and Bengaluru. Sameer, Mhatre, the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at WazirX, however, continues to operate from India. It looks like Indian crypto exchanges are looking for places where they are welcomed, supported, and provided with various benefits. This article features why after Indian Web 3.0 startups, crypto exchanges are shifting their base to Dubai from India.
In the recent Web3 meetups that were held in Bengaluru, New Delhi, and Mumbai in March, everyone was talking about Dubai. But why? Because it is a city that has almost become an emotion and a panacea for entrepreneurs building on the Web3 platform—the so-called next version of the Internet, which will be decentralized and run on blockchain—even as they grapple with an uncertain regulatory landscape and hefty taxes in India.
India’s Web 3.0 startups are moving to Dubai for a number of reasons. Similar to how India’s Web 2.0 entrepreneurs registered companies such as Flipkart, Ola, and InMobi, in Singapore for ease of business, India’s Web 3.0 entrepreneurs are now registering businesses in Dubai, Singapore, and the British Virgin Islands, and Estonia.
This is not the first time crypto exchanges are moving out of India. In 2017-2018, when a ban on cryptocurrencies was being discussed, a string of entrepreneurs had moved out.
Crypto exchanges such as ZebPay and Vauld are two such examples. Unicorns such as CoinSwitch Kuber and CoinDCX are also registered in Singapore. Polygon (earlier known as Matic), which was founded in India, shifted its base to Dubai and has become a global name that entrepreneurs reckon as a Web3 enabler.
Dubai is ramping up to become the cryptocurrency capital of the world as two more crypto companies have set up their offices in the city-state. Cryptocurrency exchange Bybit announced last month that it would be moving its headquarters from Singapore to Dubai. Moreover, has announced to set up its regional office in the city.
Last month, the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, announced the creation of a Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) to regulate the cryptocurrency sector. The law does not curtail any innovation at this point unlike in other countries, and this has been a major factor in drawing these startups. With stricter laws being implemented in Singapore, it is slowly losing preference, say experts.
The Dubai Virtual Asset Regulation Law was introduced to develop Dubai and the UAE as regional and global destinations for the crypto market players. The Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), a regulatory body, will oversee the development of the virtual asset business environment in terms of regulation, licensing, and governance. As regional economic competition heats up, Dubai has been encouraging the growth of the crypto sector by creating a regulatory environment to attract crypto businesses and talent to the city.
Additionally, Dubai has no personal income tax. There is zero tax on any gains, including gains on cryptocurrency. It also means there is no need for extensive record keeping and filing. Entrepreneurs say it has advantages such as networking opportunities, no restrictions on innovation, access to global opportunities, and resources that outweigh the cost of living in Dubai.
Other than entrepreneurs, the talent around blockchain, crypto, and Web 3.0 is likewise moving out to track down better opportunities. While many are adding to various international projects from India, many prefer to move out as it is easier to find international opportunities. A significant reason for this is the payment process. A number of developers and others earn in crypto. With the 30 percent tax, these developers find it troublesome as they work for quite a long time and different ventures as freelancers; so keeping records and filing them as income is an uphill task for most of them.
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