Mumbai-based crypto exchange Wazirx has been acquired by global crypto exchange Binance, Wazirx CEO Nischal Shetty confirmed the news on Thursday. “Wazirx has now become India’s first-ever cryptocurrency exchange to be acquired by an international one,” the exchange announced.
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.
“Binance has been working towards growing the ecosystem by introducing new fiat gateways,” the CEO of Wazirx explained. “Wazirx’s innovative P2P in India attracted them. The idea is to further grow the crypto ecosystem in India and also use our technology to launch fiat gateways in more countries.”
Binance licenses its matching engine and wallet technologies to several partner platforms, including Binance Uganda, Binance Jersey, Binance Singapore, and newly launched Binance US, which offer fiat-crypto trading functions across a variety of currency pairs.
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.
“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 center to also spur cryptocurrency adoption throughout the larger public in the country,” said CZ (Changpeng Zhao), Binance CEO. “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 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).
In addition to providing an advanced cryptocurrency trading platform to Indian users, Binance has also focused on supporting and developing the Indian blockchain system as a whole. Earlier this year, the India-based startup Matic Network successfully fundraised via the blockchain on Binance Launchpad and another project, Marlin Protocol, secured a USD$3 million seed round from Binance Labs, the investment arm of Binance. Binance X, an initiative to foster innovation in the Binance ecosystem has begun its grassroots efforts to stimulate blockchain development and support in India with its recent event in Bengaluru to invite participation for its fellowship program to the Indian blockchain community.
Since April 2018 the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central bank, 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.