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EXCLUSIVE: WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty, co-founder Siddharth Menon shift base to Dubai

EXCLUSIVE: WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty, co-founder Siddharth Menon shift base to Dubai

The development comes amidst India imposing a 30 per cent tax on virtual digital assets in addition to a 1 per cent tax deductible at source, a move which has led to a significant drop in trading volumes in crypto exchanges.

The WazirX CEO had said in an earlier statement that the crypto platform is in compliance with all applicable laws. The WazirX CEO had said in an earlier statement that the crypto platform is in compliance with all applicable laws.

Nischal Shetty and Siddharth Menon, co-founders of Indian cryptocurrency exchange WazirX, have shifted their base to Dubai from India, multiple sources with the knowledge of the matter told Business Today.

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, a co-founder and the Chief Technology Officer at WazirX, however, continues to operate from India, one of the sources said. Currently, the entire workforce at WazirX is working remotely. 

A WazirX spokesperson responded to our query by saying in a statement that the exchange is a remote-first organisation with employees in over 70 locations. 

"We are a remote-first organisation with employees from 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 Bengaluru, and there is no change in any of our operating procedures. It is business as usual," the statement said.

Meanwhile, BT awaits a comment from Shetty and Menon. The story will be updated as and when they respond.

The development comes amidst the Indian government imposing a 30 per cent tax on virtual digital assets in addition to a 1 per cent tax deductible at source, a move which has led to a significant drop in trading volumes in crypto exchanges. The government has clarified that no losses will be set off against profits on VDAs and crypto mining will also be liable to taxes, which has drawn severe criticism from the industry players.

Shetty has been vocal on social media platforms, including Twitter, hitting out at the Indian government's stance on crypto taxation saying that the move will impact the homegrown players and lead to a wealth drain from the country.

India's Enforcement Directorate had issued a show cause notice to Shetty in June last year for allegedly violating provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, for cryptocurrency deals worth Rs 2,790.74 crore.

Shetty had earlier said in a statement that the crypto platform is in compliance with all applicable laws.

"We go beyond our legal obligations by following Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) processes and have always provided information to law enforcement authorities whenever required," Shetty had said and reported earlier by BT.

Shetty had also announced his project Shardeum with the US-based crypto innovator Omar Sayed. Shardeum is a layer 1 blockchain project which will solve for scalability and higher transaction concerns around crypto tokens.

Notably, Dubai has turned into a hotspot for cryptocurrency innovators and influencers after India imposed taxes on crypto transactions. India's crypto and web3 start-ups have flocked to UAE, especially Dubai, where there are no income tax provisions and the government has formed a regulatory body for trading in virtual digital assets.