WazirX: WazirX founder, Zebpay ex-CEO join hands to start new crypto exchange

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WazirX founder Nischal Shetty and erstwhile chief executive of Zebpay Avinash Shekhar have joined hands to launch a rupee-denominated futures exchange for crypto traders.

The India-registered platform, Pi42, will allow Indian crypto enthusiasts to engage in derivative trading in the local currency. Indians mostly had to use international exchanges for derivative trading till recently.

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In terms of the value of trades, derivatives are typically much higher compared with spot trading, which is of small ticket size. As the crypto industry matures, this segment will open up, said Shekhar, who is CEO of Pi42.

“During its peak, the trading volumes in Indian exchanges were as high as $70 billion per month; that is the amount of interest among crypto traders in this country,” Shekhar said.

Pi42 has already applied for registration with the Financial Intelligence Unit of the federal government to abide by the Prevention of Money Laundering guidelines.

Investors will be allowed to take exposure to the crypto market with leverage up to 20 times their holdings and no expiry dates, the company said in a note issued on Tuesday. It offers features like margin trading, stop-loss orders, and other advanced tools to manage risk and maximise profits, the note said.

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At Pi42, Shetty will be leading the overall growth strategy of the company, while Shekhar will be heading the key verticals of finance, operations and regulatory compliance among others.While the founders have pumped in the initial money to set up the business, Pi42 will look to raise external funding once it starts operations. The startup employs around 20 people currently.

“Overall there could be estimated around 30 million crypto traders in India, of whom around 50% would still be holding their digital assets and around 10% who would still be actively trading,” said Shetty.

Shetty, who ran WazirX, one of the largest local crypto trading platforms, said he joined Pi42 as a cofounder since it will help expand the crypto market and build more advanced trading products and services for crypto traders in India.

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