Stage set for return of Binance, Kucoin to India

In December, India’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) called for blocking web addresses of a number of global crypto firms which were not registered in the country, over concerns that some of them may be misused for money-laundering.

On Friday, FIU said that it has lifted Kucoin’s suspension after the exchange paid a fine of around $42,000, and is processing Binance’s application.

“We are yet to decide on the quantum of fine to be levied on Binance, and the process is likely to take some time,” said Vivek Aggarwal, director of FIU, which comes under the finance ministry. “They have gotten registered with us, as part of a two-step process. The second step is to complete compliance proceedings after an order from FIU. Kucoin’s proceeding has been concluded, and they are now as compliant as an Indian virtual assets service provider (VASP),” Aggarwal said after meeting 46 VASPs on Friday.

Also read: India to block Binance, 8 other crypto platforms, slaps notices

Compliance rules

Crypto exchanges must register with regulators and comply with the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 legislation, and FIU directives to be allowed to operate in India.

While many exchanges deregistered Indian users and stopped local operations after the FIU action in December, Binance, Kucoin and a handful of others chose to apply for compliance, Aggarwal said. Among others, the exchanges are required to appoint a principal compliance officer with a local address and contact details. Aggarwal, however, clarified that the officer has “no requirement to be in India.”

Indian crypto exchanges, however, do not expect any immediate impact from the global ones resuming India operations. “Kucoin has just begun collecting tax on crypto trades in India, but the taxation compliance is yet to be certified. This is a significant operation, and will need quite some time to be normalized into operations. There would not be an overnight impact on the way we have been operating,” said Rajagopal Menon, vice-president of marketing at homegrown crypto exchange, WazirX.

Traffic concerns

A second industry executive associated with homegrown crypto exchanges said on condition of anonymity that once Binance returns, local exchanges may see a dip in traffic.

“We have to remain cognizant of the fact that Binance is the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, with the highest liquidity reserves and the number of listed tokens on the exchange. Once they complete full compliance and resume operations, there will undeniably be a dip in traffic on the local exchanges in India,” the executive added.

The ban on Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, in particular, was seen as setback for India’s crypto exchanges. On 9 January, Mint reported that global exchanges were the biggest sources of cryptocurrency token liquidity for these exchanges, and the former’s suspension was expected to dry up liquidity.

Exchanges, however, were optimistic of an uptick in business, with WazirX and CoinDCX, India’s two largest cryptocurrency exchanges, stating at the time that the suspension would likely redirect more users to Indian exchanges. Interestingly, this also coincided with a surge in Bitcoin prices—which has since cooled off. Indian exchanges including the ones above claimed multi-fold increases in user registrations.

Limited impact

However, despite the ban on Binance and a surge in Bitcoin prices, local exchanges saw limited impact on their daily trading volumes. As of 1 March, daily trading volumes on WazirX and CoinDCX were still down by 93% and 85% respectively, from their peaks exactly two years ago.

To be sure, the introduction of 30% tax on profits, and a 1% tax deducted on source on every crypto trade, triggered a drastic decline in crypto investments in India.

On this note, however, Aggarwal said that FIU registration does not necessarily imply “legitimacy.”

“The legitimacy debate has been ongoing ever since the tax announcements in India. Many perceived that the implementation of tax was giving legitimacy to crypto businesses. The same debate came in when Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating Financing of Terrorism (CFT) frameworks were put in place. These are nothing but safeguards built on our mandates—the legitimacy will come from licensing. This piece, which will come from a crypto regulation, is still missing. Policymakers and the Indian government will decide that. FIU’s mandate is not to give the crypto industry legitimacy,” he added.

Source link


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Next Post

Aadhar Housing Finance IPO: Issue subscribed 25.49 times on day 3; Check GMP

Fri May 10 , 2024
Aadhar Housing Finance IPO subscription status: Aadhar Housing Finance IPO, backed by private equity major Blackstone, received a subscription of 24.49 times on the third and final day of bidding. The portion for Qualified Institutional Buyers (QIBs) was booked 72 times.   Aadhar Housing Finance IPO details Aadhar Housing Finance’s […]
Aadhar Housing Finance IPO: Issue subscribed 25.49 times on day 3; Check GMP

You May Like