Mumbai-based Koinex has become a major destination for cryptocurrency traders in the country.
Founders: Rahul Raj, Rakesh Yadav, Aditya Naik
Year it was founded: 2017
Based out of: Mumbai
The problem it solves: Making crypto trading easier and accessible
Sector: Digital assets
Funding raised: Pre-Series A round funding, undisclosed
Not so long ago, when cryptocurrencies were attracting plenty of attention across the country, I was intrigued by the profit flow and the kind of money my friends were making. I wanted to venture into trading this 'genie' money, for I wanted to make a long-term investment. It was the time when Bitcoin was making unimaginable waves in the space, and I was looking for other currencies to invest in, while I was also consciously aware of the volatility and the scope of the smaller coins.
While I had learnt that Zebpay was the go-to destination for Bitcoin trading in the country, it did not cater to other currencies like Ethereum or Ripple, which were the baskets I wanted to put my eggs in. Quick research and optimisation of Google led me to Koinex, which hosted trading of all other currencies, including Bitcoin.
Koinex is an entrepreneurial venture set up by Rahul Raj (an IIT Kharagpur alumnus), Rakesh Yadav (from IIT Delhi) and Aditya Naik (a BITS Pilani graduate). They met while working together at their former workplace and found synergies in their thinking and mutual passion in the emerging Blockchain technology.
The trio would individually trade and research about Blockchain in their own capacity since 2016.
Speaking with YourStory, Co-founder Rahul says,
"When we three met, we often deliberated on the issues and challenges here in India with respect to Blockchain, and we realised that India did not have any platform that was as developed or even one that matched the efficiency of global exchanges. There was an opportunity here, and so we developed few beta versions, tested them and revised the versions and finally got our product ready."
Koinex is a peer-to-peer exchange model, which is run by Discidium Internet Labs Pvt Ltd, incorporated in July 2017.
On Koinex, users have to submit their KYC formalities, and once the verification is done, they create an account on Koinex's exchange, with a pre-defined wallet. The buyer and seller on the exchange will need to have a pre-filled wallet in order to ensure the transactions are honoured.
First, the seller raises a request to sell his crypto-asset, and defines his or her price. The interested buyer then places a request to buy the assets at the mentioned price, and once the buy-sell entries are in resonance, the equivalent value gets deposited in the seller's wallet in Indian rupees. The assets are then transferred to the buyer.
Their revenue model is based on simple trade fee on the Indian rupee value of an order placed on Koinex. While the selling is free, they charge a nominal trade fee, which is levied on the Indian rupee value of the order. "This is in three brackets - 0.15 percent, 0.20 percent, 0.25 percent, and the fee is decided depending on an individual's last 30-day trading volume. It is also called trailing trading volume," Rahul explains.
The team had received funding from global investment firms Pantera Capital and Beenext. The pre-Series A round of funding was led by Dirk van Quaquebeke, Managing Partner of Beenext, and Daniel Morehead, Founder and CEO, Pantera Capital. Rahul goes on to say that the capital infusion helped them in scaling their technology infrastructure, further enhancing the product and expanding their team.
"In a previous round, we had also raised a seed fund from Beenext, among other angel investors. We have managed to sustain our market prominence and have a continuous growth in revenue."
Blockchain technology, which was once merely a digital trend, has rapidly transformed into a full-fledged technology platform. In this context, the Koinex team felt that India was lagging behind the rest of the world with the adoption of Blockchain.
Rahul says that Koinex was built essentially to bridge this gap. The team has built Koinex with an open ledger format. Reportedly, the platform is manned with Grade A security, user-centric UI/UX and user-demanded features.
"We have literally built the entire platform on our own, with every line of code written in-house. So there is an India innovation story being scripted here. Our research team studies all the tokens in the global crypto-market and filters the genuine that which will benefit our traders. These tokens, selected after careful deliberation, are listed on our exchange. This quality check at our end is what we feel is a key differentiator," Rahul said.
After Bitcoin found its little limelight in 2009, other cryptocurrencies have emerged gradually. With the prices soaring high and profits finding people's pockets, the startup space in India has stepped in to optimise the trends, and platforms like CoinSecure, Zebpay, Bitxoxo, BTCXIndia, Unocoin, Bitindia have made their mark.
While startups like CoinSecure and Zebpay raised fundings of over a million dollars, Koinex also has an undisclosed amount in funding. Rahul says he has seen an affinity for Blockchain technology and crypto- trading primarily in Bengaluru, but NCR and Mumbai are equally thriving markets.
"We will soon have many other products on Blockchain to service varied sectors and industries. We want to lead the blockchain transformation in India and be the market leader in blockchain and the go-to platform among cryptocurrency exchanges in India, as well as globally."
As of now, the team is learning blockchain every day with the rest of the world. "The early days of any mushrooming technology is fascinating because new facets of innovation and technology unravel every day. There are no failures, only experiences and the possibilities to try something different each day," Rahul says.
Having A/B tested his career with engineering, sales, writing, and product management, Sampath now executes a callback function for a second stint with YourStory. Loves to eat, learn, write, travel, and take photographs. Often spotted consuming lethal doses of Dosa on the main roads of Bangalore. Tweet to him at @sampathptrvu.