WazirX, Binance roll out initiative to aid blockchain-based startups

WazirX, Binance roll out initiative to aid blockchain-based startups
Photo Credit: 123RF.com
12 May, 2020

Cryptocurrency marketplace Binance, along with its subsidiary WazirX, have launched an initiative under their Blockchain for India programme.

Dubbed Polaris, the initiative will provide Indian blockchain-based startups access to its open platform as well as seed funding between $5,000 and $100,000, according to a statement.

Blockchain for India is a $50 million fund launched in March, which aims to invest in startups in the sector that focus on industrial and social issues.

“Today, India is observing a complete reversal of recent brain drain within the blockchain space. As more talent chooses to stay, we are practically standing at the tipping point of both blockchain development and the cryptocurrency market in India. The initiative will empower existing and emerging Indian entrepreneurs as well as the Indian blockchain ecosystem at large with adequate capital and technological support,” Nischal Shetty, founder of WazirX, said.

Read: Supreme Court quashes RBI crypto ban to allow trading in virtual currencies

The Polaris initiative includes the Kickstart and the Blitzscale programmes. The former will help startups with seed funding between $5,000 and $20,000 to build prototypes with proof of concept. The latter will provide capital between $20,000 and $100,000 and help with business and marketing plans to companies with an existing prototype or deployed application. 

Separately, Binance and WazirX will invest between $100,000 and $5 million through the Direct Investment programme, which will also use funds from Blockchain for India, as per the statement. The investment vehicle primarily uses equity and tokens, it added.

Shetty set up WazirX in 2018 with Siddharth Menon. The platform, which was acquired by Binance a year after its launch, enables peer-to-peer trading and allows users to conduct transactions with Indian currency.

Read: Crypto is now legal in India but cos tread with caution as draft bill looms ahead

Binance Holdings, which runs the cryptocurrency exchange, provides solutions and services including cloud, research and training to support blockchain developers. It also operates Binance Academy, an educational portal for blockchain; and Binance Labs and Launchpads, which supports upcoming startups in the sector.

Binance’s cryptocurrency exchange, which facilitates the trade of bitcoin, ethereum, ripple and litecoin, currently processes over 14 lakh transactions per second, according to information on its website.

There have been some recent developments in the sector. 

In March, London headquartered cryptocurrency wallet and exchange provider Blockchain.com announced a new lending product, which allows users to borrow US dollar-denominated stablecoins against cryptocurrency held in their Blockchain.com wallet.

In February, information technology (IT) services firm Tech Mahindra partnered with the government of Telangana to launch T- Block Accelerator, a programme for the Telangana blockchain district. 

In the same month, Air transport IT solutions provider SITA, along with other industry partners, launched a new blockchain association to track, trace and record aircraft parts.