Lucky timing? Don’t bet on it. Today, India’s central bank appeared to soften its hostile regulatory stance towards cryptocurrencies. Just hours later, the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange by market volume launched a token sale for its newest acquisition, Indian crypto exchange WazirX (WZX)
The bank’s clarification that bitcoin and crypto assets are legal in India will be a balm to investors, after recent fears that India was about to clamp down hard on cryptocurrencies.
The Reserve Bank of India made its clarification during a lengthy court hearing, and said that, contrary to popular opinion, it had not banned cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin in India, but had only ring fenced banks from the risks associated with them.
The regulatory uncertainty has forced several exchanges to shut shop, including Koinex, Coindelta, Coinome and Zebpay.
Coast is clear for WazirX?
Binance bought Mumbai-based WazirX in November for between $5 million and $10 million.
“One of the main goals is to add more fiat currencies to Binance and work with local partners to add as many fiat-to-crypto pairs as possible,” Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said at the time.
Founded in March 2018, WazirX has a monthly trading volume of $30 million, and more than of 200,000 app downloads. Acquiring the peer-to-peer exchange enables Binance to gain a foothold in India, and access a market of over 1 billion people, via a fiat onramp for the Indian rupee.
But other would-be investors questioned whether the lottery format was such an attractive proposition:
Binance may be bullish on India. But with the government mulling regulation of cryptocurrencies, the situation is not so cut and dried.
Speaking to The Coin Republic in November, WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty said: “If the government could come out in support of innovation and technology, we could see 10x the amount of work happening in India today, in terms of crypto."