Binance announced Thursday that it is acquiring WazirX, an Indian cryptocurrency exchange with an estimated user-base of around 200,000.

This qualifies as a landmark development for India’s still-nascent homegrown cryptocurrency market — especially considering that traders will now have the option to buy and sell cryptocurrencies using the Indian Rupee (INR) through the Binance Fiat Gateway.

This new arrangement will come into effect starting Nov 25, Binance said in a blog post earlier today.

Binance + WazirX: ‘Historic Day for Indian Crypto Ecosystem’

Nischal Shetty, founder and CEO at WazirX, confirmed the new development on Twitter by saying it is a historic day for the Indian cryptocurrency community.

WazirX operates an auto-matching engine that facilitates peer-to-peer trading of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Post-acquisition, this p2p platform is now being integrated into Binance’s Fiat Gateway platform.

On that count, the impact of the Binance-WazirX deal will not be confined only to the Indian cryptocurrency space, which Shetty made sure to reiterate in his tweet saying “expect us to solve Fiat <> Crypto not just in India, but around the world.”

The process is likely to take place over the next few months with the integration being completed sometime during Q1 2020. Once completed, Binance users will be purchase Tether (USDT) using INR on the WazirX digital asset marketplace.

Further Delay in RBI vs Crypto Exchanges Hearing

For those out of the loop, the cryptocurrency community in India has long suffered at the hands of the government’s hostile posture against the decentralized digital economy. In early 2018, the then-Finance Minister of India Arun Jaitley vowed to ensure that the use of Bitcoin and other digital currencies are completely blocked in India.

Around the same time, the Reserve Bank of India announced a blanket ban on the sale and purchase of cryptocurrencies by any institution under its purview.

Going a step further, there were also suggestions that the government should implement stringent anti-crypto laws with provisions for even imprisonment of anybody found holding, selling or dealing in cryptocurrencies. Fortunately for the community, that hasn’t happened yet.

However, the hostile environment forced the vast majority of Indian cryptocurrency exchanges to go on exile fearing severe legal repercussions. Eventually, several exchanges joined forces against the RBI’s ban on the asset class.

The legal tussle between the two sides over 24 crypto-reared cases are ongoing in India’s highest court. Although, an imminent resolution is far out of sight — especially now that the court has pushed the next round of hearing to Jan 14 (as opposed to the original date of Nov 19, 2019).

On the brighter side, however, the Indian government doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to move forward with the draft bill to outlaw the use of cryptocurrencies, as BeInCrypto has previously reported. That, along with Binance’s acquisition of WazirX, is indeed bringing some rare glimpse of positivity to the Indian cryptocurrency ecosystem.


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Shilpa Lama

Shilpa is a network engineer and management graduate who is deeply passionate about artificial intelligence and blockchain technology. She has been associated with several leading science & tech publications throughout her career as a journalist and columnist. Full-time foodie, semi-skilled musician, wannabe novelist.

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