In a move that will boost the person to person (P2P) crypto trading globally, leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance has acquired WazirX, an Indian startup in the ecosystem, for an undisclosed amount.
The Mumbai-based WazirX will become a part of Binance post the acquisition but would continue to run as an independent P2P brand. Meanwhile, Binance plans to start offering users to buy and sell crypto with Indian rupees (INR) on the Binance Fiat Gateway from November 25 onwards.
“This is a historic moment for crypto in India. It’s the first ever acquisition in this space and shows the potential that crypto has for Indian startup ecosystem. We will continue to expand the crypto ecosystem in India so that India can be one of the most innovative technology countries in the world,” WazirX’s Founder and CEO, Nischal Shetty told IBS Intelligence today adding that he would continue to operate from India post the acquisition.
Shetty, who founded WazirX in 2018 as P2P exchange, said that post integration with Binance, WazirX would be able to expand its operations into more countries.
Binance, a Chinese company that shifted to Malta last year, said in a statement that its users will be able to directly place orders on the web platform or the Binance apps to purchase Tether (USDT) against INR. 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.
Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance, said, “The young demographic in India give an edge to adopt and build 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.”
The development was first reported by the UK-based daily The Telegraph.
Binance’s acquisition of WazirX comes in at a time when crypto entities in India are fighting it out with the Indian Government and its banking regulator seeking clarity on their existence in the Asia’s third largest economy.
Ever since the country’s apex bank Reserve Bank of India imposed a banking ban on all the regulated financial institutions from dealing with crypto players and entities in the country last year several players, including Zebpay, Koinex, Bitcoin India amongst others have either shut shops or have relocated to other countries or started offering P2P services. Meanwhile, the government seems to be optimistic about the usage of blockchain and has launched an online Blockchain Crypto course that is likely to go live in February next year.
WazirX was among the few in the Indian ecosystem to have started off with P2P offerings. The platform at present witnesses around $25 million to $30 million in trading volume every month, Shetty told IBS Intelligence adding that the company has hundreds of thousands of users and adding more every month.
Shetty, a firm believer in cryptocurrencies, has also been running a campaign on Twitter against India’s stance on crypto and making people aware about the benefits of having a decentralized global financial ecosystem.