WazirX's Nischal Shetty and Zebpay's Avinash Shekhar launch Pi42 crypto perpetual futures exchange

Pi42 is also the first exchange that will permit users to invest their rupees, eliminating the need for stablecoins or any other complex layers to trade.

WazirX's Nischal Shetty and Zebpay's Avinash Shekhar launch Pi42 crypto perpetual futures exchange

Wednesday February 07, 2024,

3 min Read

Indian cryptocurrency veterans Nischal Shetty and Avinash Shekhar have launched Pi42, a crypto-INR perpetual futures exchange, which the founders say will be one of the most legally compliant exchanges in the country.

WazirXFounder and CEO Shetty will head the growth strategy of the firm, while Shekhar, the former CEO of ZebPay, will handle the finance, regulatory compliance, and operations verticals, the company said in a statement.

This comes at a time when cryptocurrency markets are slowly moving into the green following Bitcoin Halving—when the reward for mining Bitcoin transactions, along with its inflation rate, is cut in half—and the Securities and Exchanges Commission's approval of a Bitcoin-ETF.

Pi42 is also the first exchange that will permit users to invest their rupees, eliminating the need for stablecoins or any other complex layers to trade. That being said, compliance is still at the centre of what Pi42 is hoping to achieve.

"If you look at the first-, second-generation international exchanges they launched in a regulatory grey area... the focus -[at the time], was on launching rather than think about things like KYC (know your customer) or AML (anti-money laundering). Our mindset is to be compliant with whatever the local requirements are at the outset," Shetty told YourStory.

Pi42 has already applied for recognition under the FIU (Financial Intelligence Unit), and is entirely compliant with PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) guidelines, as per the statement.

"So this is the start of something new for us, a start that is compliant, you have a clean slate, and its more clear now in terms of what different countries expect in terms of an exchange," said Shetty. Post-launch, the company is expecting to clock at least 7 to 8 million users from India, which is about 20% of the country's population that currently invests in cryptocurrency, per Shetty's estimates.

Those looking to trade on the app can access it through the Android app or Pi42's website. An Apple version of the app will be made available soon.

Built from India for the world

Last year was a period of maturity for the cryptocurrency spot trading space, noted Shekhar, adding that Indians who were interested in cryptocurrency did not have adequate opportunities to invest in the space given the limitations that exist with using rupees to trade.

"So I think with Pi42, serves to these customers [who want to trade] and do it in a compliant manner... I also think now is the right time to participate in the future crypto derivates," he added.

"I think the very important thing here is also with futures trade you do not need to worry about the 1% TDS,... the TDS has affected almost every day trader, those who buy and sell within hours or minutes, this is a great alternative for them," Shetty said.

Regulatory environment

Both Shetty and Shekhar remain optimistic about the reforms associated with cryptocurrency in the country. "We are definitely moving towards regulation... even the government's thinking has postively changed in the last one or two years... some concerns remain, overall, we are moving in the right direction," Shekhar said.

Echoing Shekhar's thoughts, Shetty said that the momentum will continue in the right direction. "As entrepreneurs we know how to build good companies and grow the ecosystem... the knowledge of that ecosystem and how we understand it, and that's what we are trying to do with Pi42."

(The copy was updated to correct a typo.)


Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti