India’s tech talent and emerging Web3 community has caught the eye of Binance, one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world. The incubation and venture capital arm of the company called Binance Labs, which is preparing for the fifth season of its incubation program, expects to bring under its wing promising blockchain projects from around the world, including India. The US-based crypto mammoth is actively monitoring India’s local market environment to identify the best market approach, Ken Li, the investment director at Binance Labs, told Gadgets 360 in an interview.
“We are currently pending for the fifth season until the end of July. We focus on fundamentals and long-term thinking to select projects that will have a direct impact on the blockchain industry. Web3 startups in India have great potential to grow,” said Li, who leads the incubation program for Binance.
One project that Binance Labs is proud to have supported in its early stages is Polygon. Recently selected by Disney to participate in its accelerator program, the eco-friendly blockchain is an Ethereum Layer-2 scaling solution developed by Indian co-founders Jaynti Kanani, Sandeep Nailwal and Anurag Arjun.
According to Li, his team maintains close ties with Polygon’s investment team for ecosystem value creation and deal synergy.
In the fourth installment of its incubation program, Binance had secured funding of $500 million (approximately Rs. 4,000 crore) with 14 selected teams developing products and services around DeFi, metaverse and crypto fintech.
“The criteria Binance Labs looks for before onboarding projects into its incubation program include business model, product innovation, team quality, and general background,” noted Li.
The Investment Director of Binance Labs, which navigates innovative projects year after year, believes the DeFi space has the potential to create more open and free financial markets.
According to a recent analysis by Emergen Research, the global DeFi market is expected to reach $507.92 billion (approximately Rs. 40,49,200 crore) by 2028.
Meanwhile, Li expects that building more projects that align metaverse with other elements of the Web3 sector could decentralize the virtual economy sooner rather than later.
In his advice to emerging crypto founders, Li said they need to stay ahead of the game by constantly learning about new technology trends and having a clear product vision to ensure long-term viability.
“Web3 is a nascent industry with great potential for early stage founders. I would also advise founders to enter the Web3 space to focus on growing the ecosystem by raising awareness not only of the users but also the general consumer base of fintech in their country. This may not immediately lead to short-term gains in user growth. Still, it’s important to invest in quality research-based education to counter common misconceptions and misinformation in this space,” added the Binance Labs honcho.
Binance has taken initiatives to educate people about the crypto and web3 sector through online and offline programs.
For now, Binance Labs is gearing up to meet the teams that are eligible to be part of the incubation initiative that kicks off between October and December.
As for projects created by Indian minds, Binance Labs expects more options to choose from.
Earlier this year, the entity made a strategic investment in pStake Finance, a liquid staking protocol created by Indian developer Tushar Aggarwal and his team at Persistence, a company looking to build an ecosystem of decentralized apps.
“India has established itself globally as a fintech innovation hub. We believe the same level of innovation can be unlocked in the world of crypto and blockchain. For example, PStake allows users to stake their proof-of-stake assets while earning DeFi proceeds. This project has brought additional innovation to the BNB Chain ecosystem and the wider DeFi space,” said Li.
In recent times, other big names in the crypto sector have also been betting on Indian talent amid regulatory uncertainties surrounding crypto that still prevail in the country.
In April, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong had visited India and expressed an interest in hiring Indian developers to be part of the Coinbase team.
In May, Indian blockchain e-sports company ‘STAN’ secured investments from OpenSea and Coinbase super angels.
In the same month, CoinTracker, a global cryptocurrency tax compliance and wallet tracking company, announced its entry into Indian shores in an effort to help crypto users get through the tax complexes and easily measure deductions.