Cryptocurrency exchange Bitmex launches spot trading in India


Recently, rival exchange Coinbase went through a bitter experience after launching its India operations with a bang, as it had to soon suspend buy orders due to payment issues with the county’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

Mumbai: One of the world’s top global cryptocurrency exchanges, Bitmex, is launching spot trading in India on Tuesday, despite the bloodbath in the crypto market and an unfavourable regulatory environment, a top executive told ET.

The spot exchange will allow Indian users to instantly buy, convert, deposit and withdraw multiple cryptocurrencies.

“India is one of the most active hubs globally for crypto adoption and not just from a trading perspective, but we are seeing a lot of activity in terms of project development, project rollouts, and actual infrastructural projects within the ecosystem. India is ranked second in the global crypto adoption index. Given its demography and tech capabilities, India is just impossible to ignore,” Jenia Mikhalchenko, vice-president of spot exchange at Bitmex, said during an interview.
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The exchange is starting spot trading in India at a time when the government has shown an indifferent attitude towards crypto and imposed a high tax rate on crypto income.

The exchange will start spot trading globally with the launch of Bitmex Spot.

Recently, rival exchange Coinbase went through a bitter experience after launching its India operations with a bang, as it had to soon suspend buy orders due to payment issues with the county’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

Sometimes there is no best time to enter a market and it is best to enter when one can and exploit the opportunity, Mikhalchenko said. “This is one of those moments. The fundamentals are all in place in India. It would be silly for us to ignore the market and the opportunity despite what we might see in the short or midterm,” he added.

Given that Coinbase ran into payment issues with the National Payments Corporation of India, the governing body that oversees UPI in the country, how does Bitmex plan to execute its trades?

“For customers to be able to move money in and out of the exchange, it will be Bitcoin and Tether — a stable coin — funded. We do have the payment gateway Onramps that will allow you to trade directly,” said Mikhalchenko.

The exchange, which is best known for crypto derivatives trading, is betting on better pricing and deeper liquidity to draw Indian crypto investors to its platform.

“It is more than a milestone for us, shifting focus to more than a derivative exchange. We’ve, of course, had a lot of client demand for spot trading, for being able to actually own the base assets … Bitcoin, Ether, Tether, and so on. It’s a move to not just fulfil the urge to expand but also to fulfil the client demand, both on the retail side and the institutional side,” said Mikhalchenko.

Bitmex won’t have an India office immediately, but will focus on launching new products for the time being.

“We want to support the Indian ecosystem as much as possible. One of the coins that we’re launching with is Polygon’s Matic. We have also invested in Indian exchanges like CoinDCX. We already have a pretty direct tie to the market itself without having to be physically on the ground. Our brand is very well known in the Indian crypto community,” said Mikhalchenko.

The exchange will start the spot exchange by offering trading in seven cryptocurrencies: XBT, ETH, LINK, UNI, MATIC, AXS and E.

“We want to do something better or something different for the spot exchange. We will also have a very competitive fee structure on the spot exchange,” he said.

Commenting on the crypto crash that has shaken the confidence of crypto investors around the world, Mikhalchenko said: “Everything’s cyclical. We go up, we go down, we go sideways, but there’s so much innovation going on in this space that ultimately the industry moves forward.”
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Updated: 05/16/2022 — 22:00