India’s Tax Regime Prompts Crypto Companies To Leave

Companies are opting to relocate to destinations with friendlier tax codes, including Dubai and Singapore


Dubai skyline | Source: Shutterstock


key takeaways

  • “A favorable tax regime, supportive legislation, access to capital and a wealth of talent makes Dubai the Web3 hotspot of the future,” a crypto exec told Blockworks
  • “India has battled brain drain for decades,” CoinSwitch’s CEO said

India’s daunting cryptocurrency taxation policies and seemingly complex treatment of digital assets are pushing local exchanges to Dubai and Singapore.

The nation recently announced a 1% tax deducted at source (TDS) — meaning crypto users must pay 1% tax on any transaction — on top of a controversial 30% tax on investment profits.

India’s 30% tax law, which came into effect on April 1, triggered trade volumes at four regional crypto exchanges — WazirX, ZebPay, CoinDCK and BitBns — to immediately crash as much as 72%.

Moves like these have led to India’s central bank being labeled “hostile” to the cryptocurrency sector. Its governor Shaktikanta Das has cautioned against cryptocurrencies and claimed they hold no underlying value. 

Nischal Shetty and Siddharth Menon, co-founders of WazirX, have now reportedly shifted operations to Dubai, although they still plan on doing business out of Mumbai. 

The Binance Labs-backed exchange told Business Today it is a remote-first organization with employees in over 70 locations. Sameer Mhatre, the third co-founder, continues to head the exchange in India.

Coinbase Ventures-backed Vauld, which recently cut its workforce by 30%, shifted its headquarters to Singapore in 2018 alongside ZebPay. CoinDCX is also registered there under the legal name Primestack Pte. Ltd.

“India has battled brain drain for decades. This is a generational opportunity to reset the odds in our favor,” said Ashish Singhal, co-founder and CEO of Bangalore-based CoinSwitch.

CoinSwitch itself isn’t being enticed to move operations away from the country. “We want to play an active role in shaping the Web3 ecosystem in India,” he said.

“Examples from the US and other matured economies show institutional investors are ready to put capital in crypto markets if there is more regulatory clarity.”

While the new taxation in India appears restrictive and discouraging to investors, Dubai has a full exemption on cryptocurrency taxes — similar to its treatment of personal income. 

The emirate’s crypto regulator, the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority, began handing out crypto exchange licenses in March, and two months later Dubai announced its first law regulating digital assets.

“There’s a unified regulator workflow, which synthesizes the regulations and creates a beacon for the UAE to become a leader in the digital asset space,” Pranav Sharma, founding partner of Woodstock Fund, told Blockworks. “Taxation rules are also on the individual side.”

Global companies look to Dubai and Singapore

It’s not just India’s crypto exchanges making the move. A raft of global companies are now preparing to launch in Dubai, including Binance, FTX Europe, and Bybit — even though Dubai-based crypto exchanges can only offer a limited number of products and services to pre-qualified investors and professional finance service providers throughout the first phase of its “test, adapt, and scale” framework.

“Dubai is set to become the largest blockchain hub globally,” Domenik Maier, CEO of Dubai-based crypto market maker iBLOXX, told Blockworks. “A favorable tax regime, supportive legislation, access to capital and a wealth of talent makes Dubai the Web3 hotspot of the future.”

Loading Tweet..

Singapore’s laws, too, are permissive for cryptocurrencies, where the purchase of digital assets isn’t considered taxable, and so capital gains aren’t taxable.

Eric Barbier, founder and CEO of TripleA a company that allows businesses to pay and get paid in crypto says Singapore is “an efficient place to run a global business from.”

“I have been building companies in Singapore since the early 2000s because of its strong [intellectual property] laws, pro-business environment and international connectivity,” Barbier told Blockworks. 

TripleA recently became one of the first crypto companies to be licensed by Singapore’s Central Bank, a process that took 18 months. Barbier believes that his company was able to receive regulatory approval as it ran by a business-to-business model, which made it “easier to enforce stringent regulatory and compliance standards.” 

“Conducting a comprehensive verification process on a business is much easier than on a consumer or on an individual,” Barbier said.

Despite being headquartered in Singapore, Barbier says he has not completely ruled out the possibility of moving to Dubai.

“We are definitely not closing the doors to this possibility. At the moment, though, we are running a global business from Singapore and Europe,” he said. “It is imperative to have in place proper regulatory frameworks and good systems, which will ensure that we are not used as a vehicle for money laundering or terrorism financing in any way.”

Don’t miss the next big story – join our free daily newsletter.


Upcoming Events

Hilton Metropole | 225 Edgware Rd, London

Mon - Wed, March 18 - 20, 2024

Crypto’s premier institutional conference returns to London in March 2024. The DAS: London Experience: Attend expert-led panel discussions and fireside chats Hear the latest developments regarding the crypto and digital asset regulatory environment directly from policymakers and experts.

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Top Icon.png


Osmosis thrived in H2 2023 on the back of increased DeFi activity deriving from recently launched Cosmos-related projects and better market conditions. With new value accrual mechanisms for the native token, Osmosis is well-positioned to continue its strong performance in 2024.



The mining segment has healthy buyers likely to be “very inquisitive and active” around the halving, crypto advisory firm partner says


In reality, many of the oft-touted uses for bringing blockchain and AI together aren’t actually all that useful


The latest total broke the previous daily net inflow high of $493 million set on Feb. 13


The liquid restaking token’s TVL shot up over 200% in the past month


Analysts say continued demand for spot bitcoin ETFs, optimism that a spot ether product will hit the market this year and anticipation of bitcoin’s next halving are the main tailwinds for this rally


Bitcoin may have sucked air out of the room but there’s still plenty going on across the rest of crypto and web3