Coinbase has hired Durgesh Kaushik, the former CEO of Snap India, as it seeks to extend its presence in emerging areas such as India.
Kaushik will join Coinbase as Senior Director of Market Expansion, and will be responsible for the company’s debut in India, as well as many other markets in Asia Pacific, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas.
“We’re excited to confirm that Durgesh Kaushik will be joining Coinbase on May 9 as our Senior Director for Market Expansion,” said Nana Murugesan, VP of International, Business Development and Partnerships at Coinbase, shared in a statement by a company spokesperson.
Murugesan continued: “Kaushik’s appointment to this global leadership role is an important step toward our entry in India, as well as our mission to increase economic freedom around the world. Beyond his initial focus on our India launch, Durgesh will draw from his extensive experience to also support our entry into other markets in APAC, EMEA, and the Americas as laid out in our recent blog post on our global expansion strategy.”
Kaushik, who has previously worked at companies such as Facebook and Dunzo, as well as co-founding a social-video platform, is widely credited with helping Snap turn around its fortunes in India. According to mobile analytics business Data.ai (previously known as App Annie), the company’s monthly active user base in India expanded to over 130 million under his leadership, up from about 30 million when Kaushik joined the company in April of 2019.
According to an executive who has spoken with Snap officials, he was assigned with helping the social media network reach 100 million members by Q1 or Q2 2021. Last month, Kaushik announced his departure from Snap.
The appointment of Kaushik comes at a time when Coinbase is frantically trying to get its eponymous bitcoin exchange service up and running in India, and feeling a little powerless in the process. Last month, the listed company announced the debut of Coinbase in India with great enthusiasm.
Coinbase launched in India last month with support for UPI, a payments network created by a group of retail banks that has become the most popular way for Indians to transact online today. However, on the same day, India’s National Payments Corporation, the payments body in charge of UPI threw the firm a curveball by claiming that it was unaware of any crypto exchanges using UPI. Coinbase removed UPI support from the app three days later, leaving customers in the country without a way to top up their fiat currency.
According to an executive at a cryptocurrency exchange, the NPCI, which is a special unit of India’s central bank (the Reserve Bank of India), and the RBI continue to put pressure on banks informally to add pressure with crypto-related transactions, despite India’s Supreme Court lifting the RBI-imposed ban on cryptocurrency trading three years ago.
The corporation is also looking for a new regional managing director for India and South Asia, according to Murugesan.