Will Acquisition of an Indian Crypto Start-up by a Global Company Make India Cryptocurrency Friendly?
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In what could be termed as a milestone in the Indian cryptocurrency industry, crypto exchange platform WazirX announced its acquisition by global cryptocurrency exchange and blockchain company, Binance.
Founded in 2018 by Nischal Shetty and Siddharth Menon, WazirX is an online platform to buy, sell and trade cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, ethereum and ripple, among others.
A Milestone in the Crypto Space
According to the company statement, this is the first ever acquisition of an Indian cryptocurrency platform by a global company within the same industry.
Nischal Shetty, CEO of WazirX said in a statement, “The next phase of mass adoption for cryptocurrencies will arise from developing nations around the world. India, with more than a billion people is primed for massive crypto adoption and this acquisition by Binance gives us the opportunity to not only cater to India but every developing nation where fiat on-ramps have to be built. The acquisition is yet another step towards achieving our shared mission with Binance of decentralizing the world.”
Experts believe that this acquisition is a landmark step in the Indian crypto market and for a variety of reasons. First, Binance will be able to leverage from WazirX’s user base in India and scale operations. Wei Zhou, chief financial officer of Binance said in the press release, “Building fiat-to-crypto bridges remain a key mission for Binance, and WazirX will help this by providing a simple and cohesive way to purchase cryptocurrencies in a country which is home to more than a billion people.”
Second, amidst such hype and conflict, it would be interesting to see what role Binance plays towards making India a more crypto-friendly country.
Cryptocurrency in India- A Grey Area
Indian policymakers have for long been opposed to the idea of making cryptocurrency a part of its ecosystem. Even though no blanket ban has been imposed on the virtual currency yet, Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019 draft has proposed that anyone found dealing in virtual currencies will be subjected to a 10-year prison sentence.
Earlier in April 2018, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) disallowed all banks and other entities regulated by the central bank to undertake any transactions related to virtual currencies.
This move led to one of the leading crypto exchanges Zebpay to close down its operations in September 2018.
Over the past few months, many Indian cryptocurrency-related companies have shifted base to crypto-friendly countries. Hong Kong, Switzerland, Japan and Singapore, among others, are some of the countries to have adopted and regulated virtual currencies, and are open to cryptocurrencies-related business opportunities.