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Building Crypto Out of India

By Pankaj Gupta

July 1, 2021

, 4 min read time

Building Crypto Out of India

I joined Coinbase about two months ago to establish and lead a new tech hub for Coinbase in India. In this blog post, I wanted to share a bit about our plans and ambitions in India and how we are thinking about this hub in general.

There’s never been a more exciting time for builders working in crypto. This is true worldwide, but especially in India which is seeing a boom in crypto-native talent and in creating and growing important crypto projects — Polygon and Instadapp to name just a couple. It is of course well known that India has a vibrant, world class community of software engineers, technology builders and entrepreneurs. To add to this, we have been pleasantly surprised at the growing expertise in crypto and blockchain technologies as well.

Building a high quality tech hub

Coinbase is fully committed to expanding the understanding of crypto and blockchains in the region. It is early days for our India tech hub but it has already taken off with an incredible amount of interest in our open roles from across India. We have ambitious plans for this hub in the near future — we want to hire hundreds of world class engineers in the near term. This team of engineers will be complemented by equally high quality product and design teams, as well as support functions such as recruiting and HR to build out a sustainable, well-rounded tech hub. One of our cherished cultural tenets is top talent in every seat — so even though we wish to hire in large numbers, we are proud to say that each of these new hires is and will be among the topmost talent available anywhere in the world.

To support our ambitious growth plans in India, we are also exploring startup acquisitions and acquihires. Founders who might be interested in joining Coinbase’s journey and mission, please contact me.

Coinbase is an ambitious and fast-moving company. As we build our presence in India from scratch, this is an incredible opportunity to work in a start-up-like, fast growing environment. The crypto space — together with its terminology, its protocols, projects, tokens, etc. — is a whole new exciting universe with new stuff to learn about every day. For me, it is frankly like being a kid in a candy store — or a mithai shop if you will — every day :)

Independent and autonomous charters in exciting deep tech areas

We have intentionally planned out a continuously learning environment and an org structure to maximise learning, growth and impact. We will have teams in all major areas Coinbase works in today — infrastructure, cloud, platform, payments, crypto, blockchains, data engineering, machine learning, growth, product engineering — to name just a few. These teams in India will be led by local engineering directors, who will have large, independent and autonomous charters. They are being intentionally set up for local decision-making to optimise for impact and velocity. These teams will work on a combination of projects that support both our global products and systems, as well as projects in the greater APAC region. We believe this will increase the speed, empowerment, and local decision making, as well as provide a sustainable and better quality of work life for all our teams worldwide.

In order to be fully functioning, independent and fast-moving, we are also hiring roles — both senior and junior — across product management, user experience, design and program management. In addition, we’re creating a core support team — in areas such as in HR and recruiting — to provide well-rounded support for our India hub.

Flexible and modern work environment, with plenty of perks

Given our remote-first strategy, we offer a truly flexible and modern work environment. That means that we’re hiring from all parts of India in order to find the best talent wherever they are or choose to work from in the country. We plan to complement this with physical offices in key cities as well to have a hybrid, flexible environment. In addition to the challenging and meaningful work, we also provide top tier perks and compensation, which allows us to ensure we have top talent in every seat across the company.

As a product led company, it’s important that our new hires in India truly understand the products and services that they are helping to deliver. That’s why we’re introducing a new program called CIkka — short for “Coinbase India Sikka” — offering each new employee in India a one-time $1000 in crypto when they start. Our expectation is that they’ll leverage this offering to learn about crypto, and will use this knowledge to help us build the next generation of products that will delight our customers around the world.

Want to do challenging work that has worldwide impact?

So, what types of employees are we looking for? We want to hire nimble and innovative people who want to make an impact and contribute to our mission of increasing economic freedom in the world. We’re looking for builders, who want to create products that will drive the global cryptoeconomy forward. We have built a culture of sustained innovation in the company, exemplified by Project 10%, where we dedicate 10% of our resources to supporting big product bets.

To learn more about our innovative culture, please review this recent post from our co-founder and CEO, Brian Armstrong. In it, he outlines our cultural tenets that describe how we treat each other and operate day-to-day at the company. If you’re interested in joining us on our mission, please visit our hiring website and apply for our open positions in India.

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Pankaj Gupta

About Pankaj Gupta

Dr. Pankaj Gupta is VP Engineering and Coinbase India Site Lead. Previously, he was Sr Director of Engineering at Google Pay leading its consumer efforts and teams in India and APAC. He has a Ph.D. from Stanford University in Computer Science and a B.Tech from IIT Delhi. He has published more than 30 research papers and holds more than 20 patents.