Indian Exchanges Attempt To Bypass Reserve Bank’s Ban On Crypto, Now Offering Support For Tether (USDT), TrueUSD (TUSD)

Omar Faridi
  • Indian crypto exchanges have started listing stablecoins Tether (USDT) and TrueUSD (TUSD).
  • "Tens of thousands" of new local crypto traders have registered after the stablecoins were added.
  • Stablecoins may be used to bypass the Indian Reserve Bank's ban on crypto.

An increasing number of digital asset exchanges in India have started to list stablecoins such as Tether (USDT) and TrueUSD (TUSD). It appears that this could be an attempt by local exchanges to reduce the negative impact on India’s crypto economy, as the country’s reserve bank (RBI) has prohibited financial institutions from offering banking services to those dealing in digital currencies.

Exchanges Add Stablecoins Tether (USDT), TrueUSD (TUSD)

Last week, Unocoin, a major Indian cryptocurrency exchange, announced that it would support TUSD on its Unodax trading platform. TUSD is an ERC-20 token, which was developed on the Trusttoken platform, and each TUSD is said to be redeemable 1-for-1 for US dollars.

Currently, Unodax is reportedly offering support for 23 different TUSD trading pairs, which include Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Ripple (XRP). According to Inc42, an Indian media company, “the decision [to list TUSD] has been taken to minimize the RBI circular’s impact on [local] cryptocurrency investors and traders.”

“Plausible Solutions” To RBI’s Ban

As reported by CryptoGlobe, the RBI instructed all local banks on April 6th to stop offering banking services to crypto-related businesses and individuals looking to convert digital currencies to fiat (or vice-versa) through exchanges.

Sathvik Vishwanath, the CEO of Unodax, explained:

After the RBI banned bank transfers for crypto trading and investments, we were looking for the plausible solutions to help our users continue to hodl, without any disruptions and hassles.

Vishwanath added that with stablecoins such as TrueUSD, users would have a reliable medium of exchange for other digital assets as it would help “minimize their risks in a volatile [crypto] market.”

Zebpay, a leading Indian crypto wallet and exchange service, also recently announced that it would begin listing TUSD on its trading platform. At present, Zebpay is offering support for only two trading pairs: BTC-TUSD and TUSD-INR (Indian Rupees). Users looking to transact in TUSD on Zebpay will reportedly not be charged withdrawal fees until August 31st, 2018.

“Tens Of Thousands” Of New Crypto Traders

Other popular Indian exchanges such as Wazirx have started offering exchange-escrowed peer-to-peer (P2P) services that allow users to make deposits and withdrawals with INR by using Tether (USDT). USDT was created by Tether Limited and the company claims that each USDT is backed by one USD held in reserve. Moreover, USDT uses a specialized cryptocurrency and communications protocol called Omni Layer, which was developed on the Bitcoin blockchain.

While there has been some controversy regarding Tether’s USDT, its demand does not seem to have been affected. Notably, Wazirx’s new USDT escrow service has become quite popular in India, as the exchange’s CEO Nischal Shetty revealed that “tens of thousands” of new traders registered on the exchange after it began offering the P2P crypto escrow service.

Commenting on USDT’s ability to increase liquidity on exchanges, the WazirX CEO noted that extreme fluctuations in cryptocurrency prices was not something their trading platform could control. However, by offering users a stablecoin such as USDT, crypto investors could potentially be able to take advantage of the token’s relatively high liquidity and stable price.

Several other Indian cryptocurrency exchanges such as Zecoex, Coindelta, and Koinex have also recently added support for USDT and/or TUSD.

Coinbase Doesn’t Want You to Get Scammed on Telegram

On Friday (April 19), cryptoasset exchange Coinbase's security team explained how various "threat actors" are trying to use Coinbase's brand to commit scams on messaging platform Telegram. 

Telegram is a free cloud-based messaging app with the ability to make voice/video calls. It is available as a web app, a mobile app (OS and Android), and a desktop app (MacOS, Windows, and Linux). In recent years, it has become the messaging platform of choice for cryptocurrency traders/investors, developers, and entrepreneurs for various reasons, such as the ability to create price bots.

In a long, detailed article published on Friday, Matt Muller, Head of Security Operations at Coinbase, started by pointing out that "Coinbase does not provide support through Telegram, nor do we have any authorized groups or channels." (In fact, "Coinbase has no official presence on Telegram," and "any usage of the Coinbase logo or brand on Telegram" should be considered a scam.)

He then went on to say that Coinbase's security team has been following the activities of "several threat actors attempting to leverage the Coinbase brand on Telegram for purposes ranging from crypto scams to account takeovers." 

In order to help users of Coinbase and other exchanges recognize "the signs that they may be talking to a scammer," Muller outlined some of the most common scam techniques on Telegram.

  • Employment Scams"Scammers on Telegram impersonate Coinbase recruiters and executives with fake career opportunities. These scams prey on job seekers, soliciting payment for training materials, mining hardware, or in some cases providing stolen financials for the purposes of money laundering. These job offers will appear very legitimate, with forged offer letters and seemingly astute interview questions. Coinbase recruiters will never contact job seekers via Telegram."
  • Giveaway Scams: "Impersonations of our executives and brand to perpetuate giveaway scams are becoming increasingly common on Telegram. One channel in particular, titled simply Coinbase, advertises a new giveaway scam almost daily."
  • Load-up Scams: "Telegram frequently hosts scammers advertising the buying or 'loading' of accounts with high limits. These scammers ask to access your Coinbase account, so they can use your verified limits to buy digital currency. While they claim to split profits with the account holder, in actuality, they use stolen credit cards and bank accounts, leaving you responsible for facilitating a financial crime. When the legitimate card or account holder reverses payments, you will be responsible for any account delinquencies caused by the fraudulent bank reversals. In many cases, the scammer will lock you out of your account, use your own payment methods without consent and steal any available digital currency."
  • Tech Support Scams: "Scams impersonating customer support take many shapes and sizes... Scammers will impersonate Coinbase or Coinbase employees, asking you to take action that results in theft of digital currency. Some scams involve fake promo offers. Many of these scams ask for remote access to your computer, something Coinbase personnel will never ask for... In other situations, the scammers pressure you into 'upgrading' or securing your Coinbase account by sending digital currency to their external address."
  • Coin Listing and ICO Scams: "Scammers on Telegram often approach project developers soliciting payment for asset listings on Coinbase and other digital asset exchanges. In addition, scams promising investment bonuses on new ICO listings are prolific."

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