This is an interview with Rahul Raj, the co-founder of India’s first AltCoin exchange, Koinex, along with his colleagues Aditya Naik and Rakesh Yadav
(1) Please tell us something about yourself and your first meeting with Bitcoin?
My name is Rahul. I graduated from IIT Kharagpur in Mathematics and has been involved in startup ecosystem a lot in my first year itself. Throughout college, I represented IIT Kharagpur at various international conferences and competitions and I had been the part of beyond development cell there and had a couple of startups of myself there, so I have been an active mentor and mentee in college.
Then I went on the Bizongo and did product management sales and dealt with product division there. I got to know about Bitcoin early in my college but did not pay much attention, that is why I am not a bitcoin millionaire today. But in 2016, I got thoroughly interested and excited about blockchain technology, so got involved in this, read up about it, learned about it and the developments happening and early 2017 began Bitcoin Currency trading myself and got more excited about Altcoins. I was interested in the ICS project because that sounded really fantastic plus the inter-alliance scheme and found all of that pretty exciting, because in my previous circle where I met with Aditya, Rakesh from IIT Delhi. Both of them deal with different kind of sales frequencies that I do. Rakesh has handled various startups and Aditya has led and handled growth strategy and market relations so all of us have been working together and when we met had the discussion what to do, for going ahead. So, we began Bitcoin Trading almost together and realized that it is something that can be done.
(2) How did you come up with an idea of building India’s first Altcoin Exchange KOINEX?
Basically, there are lots of problems people facing while trading different currencies sales in India. It can be anything like poor customer support, lengthy and slow KYC process. For example, there is no trading available on Altcoins in India. So, if we look at the bitcoin trading space in India after a coin is out of competition and before coin prevails less that could be called trading and you could not trade because of the threats. So, every bitcoin sale is facing the same problem in other countries and then we began and faced the same problems. What everybody used to do is to get the Bitcoins and transfer it global exchange and do all of their Altcoins trading there and cash it out and get it converted in Bitcoin again and sell it off. That’s what everybody used to do and we also did in the beginning but when we started using the global exchange that is when we realized the kind of quality and environment they have managed to maintain in bitcoin trading outside and in India. There are lots of people who want to do trading but don’t have access to such environment. After realizing this, we started thinking what could be done about this. It was easy for us to understand the market and kinds of threats here and we took it as an opportunity as no one was doing here this rightly and that is when we decided to make India’s most advanced exchange system that supports all kinds of coins that are actually the coin people want to be paid in and that is how we conceptualized it. Since we were inherently interested in the blockchain technology so we were very excited to do something in this and also if you look at our conversation, brand, and material, we sent out and draw a comparison to other companies so you’ll find that we are really implying this technique and having an ultimate vision that India is at the right moment to adopt the Blockchain technology. People will realize that the crypto technology is the crucial part of blockchain technology and they will have to feel comfortable with it first. Blockchain decentralized system application will apply token transaction for that we have to familiarize with this. So, if you look at that Koinex, the first thing automatically that supports multiple coins and makes people comfortable with how to hold wallet, how to make transactions, how to pay or sell, blockchain transactions. That is why we are excited about cryptocurrency trading and transactions as we sufficiently realize that blockchain adoption will only come when there is an exchange that tells people that blockchain is a new big thing. That’s why we decided to build an exchange first and of course, the ultimate aim is to become India’s best blockchain technology.
(3) Now the trending topic is ICO. What’re your comments on this?
Ok, so if you talk about ICO, there are lots of interesting things to be considered. The most obvious one we find is that trust in ICO that people want to raise capital through this. So, if you look at the global ICO, you came to know about some amazing ones like my personal favorite Brave Browser or the IOTA, so these are really cool projects that come out. The ICO is having various features that distinguish it from regular ones. If you look at tokens, these are basically paid API fees, so basically people can extend their API and people can use those API with payment of the token, so it’s a paid API. So that is really an innovative idea. Of course, if the idea is really promising, people would really feel excited about it and they would get hold of the token they have to offer, on top of that all of these tokens can be traded on the exchanges that support them, so it becomes an integral part of the shared economy. You can transfer your token to someone who is in need of same services or you can sell it off. So, it’s a really good development. From Indian Context, as there were players like ethexindia, there were no options for anyone to even wonder about the ICO’s. Now that we have received 4-5 requests for ICOs globally as well, people now feel that being an Altcoin exchange gives them a comfort level that they can do ICO in the country. We are still working on a model so you could see some really cool projects in short span of time like ICO’s in India from us. So That’s my view on ICO.
(4) You can see lots of ups and downs in Bitcoin prices. What’s your view on its prices after two years? Do you think it will cross $10,000?
Now to answer this question I will make a disclaimer first as I am a co-founder of an exchange so I am not supposed to comment on the prices but if you study different studies, then you will find that people have said that prices will cross $7500 this year. So, one of those magic numbers in which people are floating in the market. But if you look at this, you will find that there are certain things you can consider before commenting on prices. First that 2 years is a big time when it comes to volatile things like this but if you look at objectively going forward Bitcoins liquidity is going lower in the future. So, the current Bitcoin Map is 21 million coins and 19 million or so has already been issued and we are left with just 2 million coins and the last one to be mined in 2041 so there is a decrease in the rate of mining these and the coins that are mined or created and added to the network so liquidity is automatically disappearing and people are holding Bitcoin. So, circulation is also disappearing from the exchanges, though it will be at the slow pace. So, when demand is high and supply is low, prices are automatically going to be higher. To counter up you will see that there are lots other coins coming in the market. For example, Ethereum, it a very strong competitor of Bitcoin so if this becomes a major thing in the market then its prices will become high and Bitcoin’s prices will become low. So, all of these factors will holistically contribute to the prices of Bitcoin. I can see its prices rising but can’t predict and only time can tell.
(5) Right now, Koinex offers four cryptocurrencies. Will you add more in future?
Definitely, if you look at the entire roadmap of Koinex we have lots of interesting tools coming up. We have lots of features and models that are already in the development process. We are planning to bring new coins in the market that adds value to the market. We are planning to launch coins equipped with modern security which can give traders security to trade in. We have definitely some coins in the pipeline coming up in the market in next few years. Currently, there are four coins we are working on such as Litecoin, Bitcoin etc. We want to add a holistic number of coins covering up the entire interest in the Indian cryptography market. We have been working on 4-5 coins and currently, two are under development and soon we are going to launch this in the market.