“You could say that we are probably the first Indian outfit to have closed a decent pre-sale,” said WandX founder Abhinav Ramesh, confidently. While ICOs are disrupting fundraising for startups, there haven’t been many success stories from India. We sat down with WandX founder, Abhinav Ramesh, to understand what goes into running a successful ICO and why is it so difficult to do in India.
All Cryptocurrency, No Blockchain
Abhinav believes running a successful ICO needs the backing a strong Blockchain community. India, unfortunately, doesn’t have that today.
“If you look at India there’s a lot more interesting in trading and cryptocurrencies. We’re lacking in the blockchain side of things. While there is growing interest in the field, there isn’t a strong ecosystem here for the technology,”
“On the flipside, if you look at AI and ML, India is right up there with most other parts of the world. This current lack of interest in Blockchain is one big reason that it’s difficult to run an ICO out of India.”
No Government Regulation
While WandX is an all Indian team, the lack of regulations required them to set up their main company out of Singapore. Abhinav says, “Singapore has a good Fintech ecosystem, but more importantly, it has a set of regulations in place for running ICOs. These regulations are particularly important if you’re issuing a security token like us. It’s a little easier for utility tokens,”
“For WandX, we had to hire a lawyer in Singapore, India and the US, just to make sure we’ve got all the legal aspects of the ICO right. The Blockchain and ICO ecosystem in Singapore helped us a lot. Furthermore, the regulations gave us a defined framework to work with. This is something most governments, including India, have a lot of catching up to do with.”
Lack of Blockchain talent
Another downside to not having a strong blockchain ecosystem is the lack of talent in India. Abhinav, however, says they got a little lucky with this regard. He says, “I did a lot of the product building myself and we were really lucky to have found people who were well versed with B2B blockchain development. It was a tricky transition for them into B2C.”
“The good thing is that it has all come through. We have just launched a new iteration of WandX (check it out here). Furthermore, the fact that this team could finish more than 80% of the product before the ICO really helped get us a lot of investor support.”
So, could WandX have done this out of India?
“Short answer – No.”
Abhinav believes that the lack of government regulations provides very little investor security. The lack of blockchain awareness makes it difficult to build such a product entirely from India. “WandX greatly benefitted from the Fintech ecosystem in Singapore.”
As parting advise for anyone looking to run an ICO from India, Abhinav says,
- Wait for the regulations. You don’t want to do something unregulated now and end up suffering when they do come through.
- Figure out how you’re going to ensure liquidity in your platform, especially if you’re building financial tools.