Binance to launch fiat-to-crypto services in India after acquisition of Mumbai-based crypto exchange
Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges by daily volume, has announced the acquisition of major Indian crypto exchange WazirX and plans to launch fiat-to-crypto services in India within days.
According to a blog post Thursday by Binance, India-based users will be able to purchase and sell crypto using Indian Rupees (INR) on Binance Fiat Gateway, the fiat-to-crypto portal of the firm’s flagship exchange, Binance.com, starting the 25th of November.
WazirX will continue operating as an independent entity after the acquisition, but its peer-to-peer (P2P) fiat-to-crypto matching engine will be added to Binance Fiat Gateway in Q1 2020, allowing users to convert INR to USDT through WazirX, and then trade on Binance’s desktop platform and mobile application, the announcement stated.
Growing the pie, one nation at a time
The move is consistent with Binance’s aggressive expansion strategy to “grow the [fiat-to-crypto] pie” and make itself the world’s entry point for new crypto users. Over the last year, Binance has appeared to allocate vast amounts of time and resources in the pursuit of this goal, launching fiat-to-crypto platforms in Uganda, Singapore, Jersey, and the U.S.
Binance has employed a creative approach to managing fiat-to-crypto regulations in some of the markets it operates in, and it would appear to be favoring the peer-to-peer method to skirt restrictions in stricter jurisdictions.
The exchange seemed to reach a new level of bravado in October with the announcement it had launched P2P trading in China, allowing the buying and selling of BTC, ETH, and USDT against the Chinese Yuan—a move that seemed to result in the suspension of Binance’s Weibo account, along with statements by AliPay and WeChat Pay that P2P payments for cryptocurrency would not be honored by the platforms (the exchange of cryptocurrency was banned in China in 2017).
Since April 2018 the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has prohibited financial institutions from servicing businesses dealing in cryptocurrency, effectively bringing to a halt all exchange-based fiat-to-crypto operations in the country.
Given the RBI’s apparent unwillingness to soften its stance, the introduction of WazirX’s P2P fiat-to-crypto facility to Binance is likely intended as an interim solution giving the exchange access to the second-most populous market in the world. Wei Zhou, the CFO of Binance, commented:
“Building fiat-to-crypto bridges remains a key mission for Binance, and WazirX will help this by providing a simple and cohesive way to purchase cryptocurrencies in a country which is home to more than a billion people.”