Cryptocurrencies and blockchain are more than just buzzwords in recent times, especially with the current bull run seeing Bitcoin and Ethereum reach all-time highs. India and cryptocurrencies have shared a rocky relationship, to say the least, and the crypto space wouldn’t be in the current scenario without the contribution of a large number of people. Some of these Indian influencers have been extremely proactive in spreading awareness on crypto, while others have been instrumental in educating the youth about Blockchain and its applications. Here’s our take on the most influential Indians in the crypto/blockchain space.
You might have heard of Balaji S. Srinivasan, an angel investor, as the former CTO of Coinbase. Before getting into crypto, Srinivasan, a then Stanford University professor, co-founded Counsyl, a genomics startup, with his graduate school friends and brother Ramji. When Srinivasan founded the company in 2007, everyone was advising against it. However, the company went on to become a huge success and now scans the DNA of parents in 3 percent of all births in the United States.
After founding Counsyl, he launched 21.co, a Bitcoin mining startup that eventually morphed into Earn.com. Coinbase later bought Earn.com for a rumored $100 million, placing Srinivasan in a seat next to Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong as the company’s CTO.
An Indian-American entrepreneur and investor, Naval Ravikant is the co-founder, chairman and former CEO of AngelList.
A Fellow of the Edmund Hillary Fellowship and a podcaster who shares advice on pursuing wealth and happiness-he has invested early-stage in over 200 companies, including Uber, FourSquare, and Twitter Wish.com, with over 70 total exits and more than 10 Unicorn companies.
Moreover, Naval runs a short-form podcast at Nav.al and Spearhead. He discusses philosophy, business, and investing along with being a podcast guest on The Joe Rogan Experience, The Tim Ferriss Show, Coffee with Scott Adams, The James Altucher Show and Farnam Street.
Nischal Shetty, our co-founder and CEO at WazirX is one of the most influential Indian Blockchain spaces. A gifted software developer and entrepreneur, Nischal was featured in Forbes magazine’s 30 under 30 in India. Nischal started his software development career in 2004, when he built a “bug” game in C++, and eventually landed a job at 3i Infotech. After working in the food-tech industry for a while, he co-founded Crowdfire along with Samir Mhatre (co-founder WazirX). He started taking blockchain seriously in 2017, around the time of the Bitcoin bull run, eventually leading to the birth of WazirX in 2018, which he founded along with Samir Mhatre and Siddharth Menon.
Recently, post the RBI blanket ban of transacting cryptocurrencies through the banking channels, Nishcal spearheaded the monumental #IndiaWantsCrypto campaign until the Supreme Court repealed the ban, calling it unconstitutional.
Ajeet Khurana, a leading name in the startup ecosystem these days, is an author, angel investor, mentor, TEDx speaker, steering committee of the NASSCOM Start-Up Warehouse, ex-advisor to Kalaari Capital, and former CEO of IIT Bombay’s business incubator, among others.
Another feather to his hat was being a part of the team behind the TV show, ‘The Vault.’
Back in 1993, as a lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin, he taught e-commerce.
An undergrad in computer engineering from the University of Mumbai and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin- Ajeet Khurana, from starting two ventures as a solopreneur to helping many startups with their go-to-market, firmly believes that small business owners need to be facilitated extensively.