Welcome to our comprehensive interview series – Humans of Blockchain™ where we get the best in the business to answer a diverse set of questions.
This series will clear the air of doubt in the blockchain space today by focusing on bringing more transparency to the readers.
Our guest, today, Mr. Sharan Nair – Senior VP Marketing Business Development at CoinSwitch.
Not wasting much time, let’s hear it out from Sharan himself.
1. We would love to know more about you Sharan. Your journey and how you entered the blockchain space?
I got a job with Unocoin straight out of college back in 2014. Unocoin is one of the first entrants into the Indian crypto space providing a platform for over a million Indian users to convert fiat-crypto and vice versa. Those days the awareness around crypto was close to nil, and the ones who had any idea about it considered it to be something that is used to buy drugs in the dark web.
Last year around March, I joined coinswitch.co which is a Sequoia Capital-backed global cryptocurrency exchange aggregator.
2. Can you tell us more about CoinSwitch? What’s the vision and mission of the organization?
CoinSwitch is an exchange aggregator that makes it extremely easy for anyone to compare prices and buy over 400+ cryptos by aggregating the leading global exchanges like Binance, Bittrex, KuCoin, HitBTC, Idex etc. under one platform and without having to create an account at any of these exchanges.
Apart from these, we have built tools like ‘CoinSwitch instant exchange‘ that lets website owners, monetise their crypto audience by setting up an exchange on their site in less than 2 minutes and with ZERO code and ‘CoinSwitch Pay’ that enables businesses/individuals in accepting payments in over 400+ coins at fixed rate which is then automatically consolidated into a base currency like BTC/ETH.
We want to make it easy for everyone to access cryptocurrency and work towards building products that can take cryptocurrencies mainstream.
3. Can you tell the audience in simple terms, what an exchange aggregation is?
An exchange aggregator uses APIs of multiple exchanges for its users to trade on these exchanges on one single platform.
Let’s say someone wants to buy a coin ABC. There are three essential things that they will have to look at:
1) On which exchange is this coin available?
2) If it’s available on multiple exchanges then where they will get it for the best price?
3) Which coins can be converted to buy coin ABC.
CoinSwitch supports over 400+ coins across 10+ leading global exchanges on its platform, and hence the possibility of finding the coin of your choice is high. You also get to see the exchange rate of that coin across multiple exchanges and therefore you get to choose the best price, and we support conversion between any coin to any coin, so one doesn’t have to worry about which coins are required to buy coin ABC. Not to forget that the user doesn’t have to create an account on any of these exchanges including CoinSwitch.
4. There was a recent crash in the crypto market. What are your views about that? Does that affect trade exchanges?
I believe market crashes are inevitable in any form of trading and it certainly affects trade exchanges. I would only be surprised if someone didn’t see the crypto market crash coming. There is a bloodbath, but it also weeds out weak players. It gives birth to a whole lot of ideas that are going to catapult the industry to mass adoption, and I believe we at coinswitch are one such idea.
What you might find interesting is that though we saw a dip during the crash but the period after that we saw a stable growth in contrast to the sharp decline of our competitors. This reinforces my belief that we are truly the easiest way to buy cryptocurrencies.
5. There are a lot of Trade Exchanges in the blockchain world, but many lack volume and adoption. What are your views about the high number of trade exchanges in existence?
During the peak, many major and popular cryptocurrency exchanges were unable to serve the massive inflow of newbies who rushed in due to FOMO. Naturally, there was an increase in the number of crypto exchanges that wanted to feast on this situation. Most of them were poorly built in terms of security and feature and had horrible customer service. So when the party got over, they had no clue what to do. I am sure most of them will wind up business due to low volumes. This is what I was referring earlier when I said market crashes weeds out weak players.
6. What do you think can be done to increase the rate of adoption of blockchain technology?
We still lack awareness in this space. Most people do not really understand what Blockchain is or how it is implemented in real life use case. Some substantial practical application of blockchain in real life can encourage more people to look into it. I also think an excellent curriculum around blockchain could potentially bring more minds into this space and create a good pool of human resource that can further lead to increased adoption of blockchain technology.
7. What are your views about the market manipulation that happens on many trade exchanges?
There have been instances of exchanges dealing in unfair practices to benefit themselves or a certain group of people. Such activities have to be labelled outright financial frauds and dealt with strict hands. Exchanges convicted of such scams have to be heavily penalised and if need be closed down. Such acts can drastically reduce the trust in the system.
8. Do you feel decentralized exchanges will be the future or will centralized exchanges lead the way?
Isn’t it ironic to believe that centralised exchange will lead the way in the world of decentralisation? I am sure that decentralised exchanges (DEX) will be the way forward. In fact, we are the only exchange aggregator to aggregate Idex, the most popular DEX onto our platform making it very easy for regular users to trade on them via coinswitch user interface in the same way they would have done with other centralised exchange on our platform. But I will have to be honest here that mass adoption of cryptocurrency, the way we see it today wouldn’t have been possible hadn’t it be for centralised exchanges.
It’s just that we are getting started and DEX are just too damn complicated for regular users. But it indeed is the future or else some of the world’s largest exchanges wouldn’t have been actively working on it.
9. What role do you think a regulatory framework has to play in the trade exchange business?
Cryptocurrency exchanges are the gateway for most people to the crypto world. More than 90% of people got their first crypto coin through an exchange, and hence it is required for it to be regulated. This industry has seen rampant scams and pump and dump schemes which are outright frauds in traditional industries. Such regulations will bring in the lost trust in the system and weed out bad players. It will also serve as an enforcer of level playing ground and protect good exchanges from the unfair practices followed by a few bad exchanges.
10. Any last words of motivation from your end Sharan for the audience?
I wouldn’t call it motivation, it’s instead a humble request to all readers that let this be the time that you enter the world of cryptocurrency with rational thinking, long term vision and not for quick gains. Let your sense of judgement and DYOR (do your own research) be your trade signals 🙂