Zebpay, one of India’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, is closing down amidst the country’s tight reins on exchanges and banks that work with them.
The exchange writes in a blog post that, “The curb on bank accounts has crippled our, and our customers’, ability to transact business meaningfully. At this point, we are unable to find a reasonable way to conduct the cryptocurrency exchange business.”
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has fought a war against cryptocurrencies for years, culminating with forbidding regulated financial institutions from dealing with cryptocurrencies. At the time, all institutions were given three months to cease such operations. After those three months, in July, India’s top court refused to overturn that ban, stating that the central bank is trying to “cut off an avenue for crimes using cryptocurrencies.”
This has led cryptocurrency exchanges to various struggles. Some exchanges have attempted to circumvent the banking ban by introducing peer-to-peer trading, where the exchange merely functions as an escrow service for direct transactions between users.
Zebpay had stopped all fiat deposits and withdrawals at the exchange a day before the banking freeze, which happened on July 5th, 2018. However, they could not keep up. “Despite regulatory and banking problems along our journey, we continued to look for solutions as we did not want India to miss the bus of digital assets that power the public blockchain. However, the recent past has been extremely difficult,” the blog post explains.
Zebpay struck half a million downloads on the Android smartphone platform in mid-2017 and quickly doubled to hit a million app downloads during 2017’s bull run in October. It now has 3 million users using its iOS and Android apps, with support for 20 cryptocurrencies and 22 trading pairs, according to its website.
However, another major Indian cryptocurrency exchange was quick to reply to Zebpay’s announcement: Koinex took to Twitter to reply to Zebpay’s tweet with an image that says, “In case of emergency, break glass,” sporting the Koinex logo.
Some marketing opportunities are too good to let them pass you by I guess!
Author: Sead Fadilpašić
Image Credit: iStock/1970s