Binance Buys Indian Crypto Exchange WazirX

Siamak Masnavi

Binance announced on Thursday (November 21) that it had acquired Indian cryptocurrency exchange WazirX

Nischal Shetty is the founder and CEO of Indian crypto exchange WazirZ, which was launched on 8 March 2018 with support for three cryptoassets, namely Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Dash.

Shortly after this launch (on 6 April 2018 to be exact), India's central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), issued a circular/notice (RBI/2017-18/154) titled "Prohibition on dealing in Virtual Currencies (VCs)" that banned banks from dealing with all crypto businesses:

"In view of the associated risks, it has been decided that, with immediate effect, entities regulated by the Reserve Bank shall not deal in VCs or provide services for facilitating any person or entity in dealing with or settling VCs. Such services include maintaining accounts, registering, trading, settling, clearing, giving loans against virtual tokens, accepting them as collateral, opening accounts of exchanges dealing with them and transfer / receipt of money in accounts relating to purchase/ sale of VCs."

As the WazirX CEO explained in a blog post published late yesterday (November 20), WazirX then decided to get around this ban by launching peer-to-peer crypto exchange "WazirX P2P", which featured what he calls "the world’s first auto-matching P2P engine." Shetty says that today WazirX P2P is "the cheapest, fastest and most-used method to deposit or withdraw Indian Rupees in India."

Shetty also says that at WazirZ they believe that "the next phase of cryptocurrency adoption will happen when the world’s Fiat <> Crypto problem is solved for the masses."  To make this happen faster, he says, WazirX decided to "join forces" with Binance.

In WazirX's official announcement about this acquisition, the WazirX CEO had this to say:

The next phase of mass adoption for Crypto 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 decentralising the world.

Siddharth Menon, the COO of WazirX, stated:

Fiat ramps play a critical role in deciding the size & adoption of cryptomarket. Binance has all the major traders in the world and WazirX has tried and tested technology for next-generation peer to peer exchange, together we can drive mass adoption across the globe by solving fiat ramps.

As for Changpeng Zhao (aka "CZ"), Co-Founder and CEO of Binance, he explained Binance's reason for expanding to India:

The young demographic in India give an edge to adopt and build on new financial technologies, and I believe this will play a vital role in making India a global blockchain innovation centre to also spur cryptocurrency adoption throughout the larger public in the country. The acquisition of WazirX shows our commitment and dedication to the Indian people and strengthen the blockchain ecosystem in India as well as another step forward in achieving the freedom of money.

According to a press release shared with CryptoGlobe, it will be possible to buy and sell crypto with Indian rupees (INR) on the Binance Fiat Gateway from November 25.

Binance says that in Q1 of 2020 "WazirX’s unique auto-matching engine will be integrated into the Binance Fiat Gateway platform itself, bringing easy cryptocurrency access to over a billion people" and that Binance.com users "will be able to directly place orders on Binance.com and the Binance iOS or Android app to purchase Tether (USDT) against INR." According to Binance, this integration "will allow users to trade any digital asset available on Binance.com with the purchase of USDT from the WazirX digital asset marketplace."

Featured Image Courtesy of Binance