Binance has become another major crypto exchange that is investing in India despite the local government said it's considering a total cryptocurrency ban in the country.
After South Korea’s major crypto exchange Bithumb said in October that is hoping to launch an exchange in India, Binance moved faster and for undisclosed sum acquired a local exchange, WazirX, ranked 159th by trading volume (USD 344,564 in the past 24 hours, according to Coinpaprika).
According to Binance, the acquisition will allow to launch "multiple fiat-to-crypto gateways" and their users will be able to use Indian rupee (INR) to buy/sell crypto starting November 25th.
The company plans that the first quarter of 2020 will see WazirX’s auto-matching engine integrated into the Binance Fiat Gateway platform. This will enable Binance.com users to directly place orders on that exchange, as well as the Binance iOS or Android app, in order to purchase tether (USDT) against INR. With the purchase of USDT from the WazirX digital asset marketplace, users will be able to trade any digital asset available on Binance.com.
According to Nischal Shetty, WazirX CEO, “fiat on-ramps play a critical role in deciding the size and adoption of cryptomarket.” With more than a billion people, India “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.”
On the other hand, the community can get the native WazirX token (WRX) – currently held by some 64,000 users – through trade mining and signups, but the exchange also announced that a token sale is “under consideration.”
As India is home to over a billion people, and it’s expected to have 34.33% share of youth in total population by 2020, according to a government report, with more than 141 million of 18-to-23-year-olds in 2016 according to Statista, blockchain and crypto industry might see a lot of new users in this country.
However, as reported, the Indian government has considered stern measures as part of any potential crackdown, with ministers even considering a proposal to punish cryptocurrency holders with jail sentences of up to 10 years. There are no official statements that would indicate any changes in this policy since the news was confirmed in July 2019.
In either case, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao says that "the young demographic in India give an edge to adopt and build on new financial technologies": "I believe this will play a vital role in making India a global blockchain innovation center to also spur cryptocurrency adoption throughout the larger public in the country.”
Meanwhile, another local player, Kunal Barchha, the CEO of India-based crypto-exchange CoinRecoil, recently told Cryptonews.com that he expects "an overall positive wave in terms of regulations all around the globe," despite he previously estimated that the Indian government will ban cryptocurrencies. “The first phase was of rejection, second was of criticism, and finally, governments all around the world have understood that they will lose a lot more if they keep the same attitude,” Barchha said.
Binance also said they’re supporting the development of blockchain in India in general, with, for example, inviting Indian blockchain community to apply for Binance X fellowship.
At the moment of writing (10:21 UTC), Binance coin (BNB), the native token of Binance, trades at c. USD 17.50. It dropped 7% in 24 hours and 17% in a week.
And while many have congratulated both exchanges on this move, some thought that WazirX and Indian exchanges in general could do better.
Congratulations @NischalShetty— ROHIT SHARMA BHARDWAJ🇮🇳 (@MotivatedRohit) November 21, 2019
Its superb news in this morning
I strongly believe @WazirXIndia could have become world no.1 exchange by own brand but you rather chose the other path of getting acquired and exit strategy.— Suresh Ramlal (@Suresh81189) November 21, 2019