IT Voice:-Please share the details of Giottus Cryptocurrency Exchange’s inception and journey so far?
Arjun Vijay:-Giottus was founded in November 2017 by two IIM Calcutta Alumni Vikram Subburaj and Arjun Vijay. Giottus went live for trading in April 2018, just a week after the RBI’s banking ban circular, that deprived the crypto industry of the formal banking channel. Giottus has been one of the very few exchanges who were able to thrive and grow amidst a tough regulatory environment in India. This commitment to provide service to the crypto industry even during tough times has helped Giottus in gaining a strong and loyal customer base.
The idea of Giottus began way back in 2015 when Vikram and Arjun were working as category leaders in Amazon and Vodafone respectively. What began as a quest to understand the economics behind cryptocurrencies, gradually grew into an passion and, Vikram and Arjun are now among the key industry leaders driving cryptocurrency adoption in India. They realized that exchanges play a major role in driving adoption into this future tech and they envisioned building an exchange that could deliver this complex tech in a simple format to trade
Though there were exchanges like Zebpay and Unocoin in 2016, these exchanges were very limited in their product offerings and did not have a transparent pricing system. Further, it was rather counter-intuitive that an unregulated industry with complex tech did not focus much on customer support. Being from a highly customer focused backgrounds like Amazon and Vodafone, both Vikram and Arjun realized that such a futuristic industry, needs customer support at its core to drive adoption and to build trust within the customer. This is the idea with which Giottus was founded in 2017, to build an exchange that could deliver this complex tech in a simple and trustable format. “Simplicity at the far end of complexity” has become their motto ever since.
Though Giottus was planned to be launched as an open order book Spot Exchange, RBI’s banking ban circular in 2017 forced them to quickly pivot and launch a Peer to Peer exchange (P2P). Giottus was the first fully KYC enabled Peer to Peer (P2P) exchange in India. Though many competitors followed suite and launched their respective P2P solutions, Giottus was able to re-introduce Spot Exchange to the India cryptocurrency Industry by innovating around the banking process. They introduced trusted peers for processing INR deposit and withdrawals, and this became the industry norm for the next 2 years till the Supreme court verdict in March 2020 that quashed RBI’s Banking ban circular.
Supreme court’s verdict in March 2020 came in as a big relief for the Indian cryptocurrency Industry. Banking support came in as a major catalyst of growth and the industry has been growing exponentially ever since the verdict. Giottus has been growing at a rapid pace of 40% month on month in trade volume and Monthly user registrations have grown 15X since March 2020.
Giottus is one of the very few exchanges in India who have focussed in providing a highly responsive customer support team and almost the only exchange that offers customer support is multiple regional languages. They are able to continue offering their responsive and high quality customer support even at the midst of this exponential growth period.
IT Voice:-What are the challenges faced by the company throughout the journey? How did you overcome it?
Arjun Vijay:-Apart from regulations, Giottus began operations during a time when there were competitors like Zebpay, Koinex and Unocoin who have achieved scale over the years. Now 2 years down the lane, Koinex has ceased operations, Unocoin though exists does not have much trade volumes and Zebpay had ceased operations in 2018, re-entered market in Feb 2020 and trying to fight it out with the current industry players. Giottus was able to gain a strong customer base even at the midst of such competition by focussing on customer support and offering 100+ pairs to trade for customers. Giottus was able to offer services to customers even at lower volumes and at a time when other players were shutting shop. This commitment to the crypto industry helped Giottus in gaining a strong and loyal customer base.
IT Voice:-How has company seen in rise in cryptocurrency investments?
Arjun Vijay:-The industry has been growing exponentially ever since the supreme court verdict. Many customers who moved out post the RBI circular have begun coming back and started trading. Though the volumes are yet to reach the Pre-RBI circular levels, the market has been steadily growing for the past few months. Giottus has been growing at a rapid pace of 40% month on month in trade volume and Monthly user registrations have grown 15X since March 2020.
IT Voice:-What are the long term expansion plans of the company?
Arjun Vijay:-We believe that exchanges will become the gateway of financial innovation driven by cryptocurrencies. Just like how Google has become the gateway of Internet for many, Giottus in long term will start offering many financial solutions like Lending, staking, Savings account and Merchant payment solution. This would make Giottus a one-stop solution for all the cryptocurrency related requirements of a customer.
IT Voice:-What are some of the key industry trends seen in Cryptocurrency industry in past couple months?
Arjun Vijay:-The hot new trend in cryptocurrency has been the growing interest of DeFi in the industry. DeFi stands for “Decentralize finance” and aims at recreating traditional financial systems and solutions with no middlemen. Many of the traditional activities in the financial markets like lending, borrowing, trading assets and structuring of derivates can be done through a decentralized network now. Majority of DeFi projects are created on top of Ethereum Blockchain, since these projects run with the help of Ethereum smart contracts. DeFi assets market cap have increased significantly over the past few months and now stand at around 10 billion US Dollars. Chainlink, Uniswap, Yearn.Finance, Aave, Maker, Compound and ZRX are few famous DeFi projects that have seen crazy growth in both volume and prices in the past few months.