Is crypto banned in India? Well, Apple has removed apps of at least nine crypto exchanges, including prominent names like Binance and Kraken, from its App Store.
Explained: Is crypto banned in India
This move comes shortly after these global firms were accused of operating “illegally” in India. The Financial Intelligence Unit, a governmental agency in India responsible for analyzing financial transactions, issued show cause notices to nine crypto firms last month. The agency alleges that these firms were not adhering to India’s anti-money laundering regulations.
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The FIU had also requested India’s IT Ministry to block the websites of these nine services within the country. Among the other exchanges affected by this removal are Huobi, Gate.io, Bittrex, and Bitfinex. While Bitstamp, another exchange flagged by the FIU, remains active on the App Store in India, the app of OKX has also been removed.
Despite this action by Apple, the apps of these exchanges are still available on the Google Play Store in India, and their websites remain accessible. Users who have already downloaded these apps can continue to use them.
This development comes as many Indian traders have shifted to international cryptocurrency platforms, possibly to circumvent taxes. Last year, India imposed a 30% tax on gains from virtual currencies and a 1% deduction on each crypto transaction.
While India-based crypto exchanges like a16z-backed CoinSwitch Kuber, B Capital-backed CoinDCX, and former Binance-partner WazirX rigorously enforce know-your-customer verifications for new users, the same level of compliance has not been observed with many global platforms. This situation raises the question, is crypto banned in India and highlights the ongoing regulatory challenges in the country’s cryptocurrency market.
The apps of several offshore VDA #exchanges have started getting blocked on app stores.
It seems that the Financial Intelligence Unit-India (FIU-IND) show cause notice dated 28 Dec 2023 and their proposed action on offshore VASPs is taking effect.
By asking offshore exchanges… pic.twitter.com/GMImfZA1T7
— Ashish Singhal (@ashish343) January 10, 2024
The stance of the Indian government towards cryptocurrencies has been a subject of much debate and concern, especially with the introduction of new taxation policies on crypto transactions. CoinDCX and CoinSwitch Kuber, two major Indian cryptocurrency exchanges, had previously warned the New Delhi government about the potential impact of these policies, suggesting they might drive users towards decentralized exchanges or non-compliant services.
Recently, in response to these challenges, CoinDCX announced a new initiative to encourage customers to transfer their crypto assets from global exchanges to its India-based platform, offering rewards for such transfers.
India’s approach to cryptocurrencies and related trading platforms has historically been stringent. About half a decade ago, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) implemented a ban on cryptocurrencies in the country, although this was later overturned by India’s Supreme Court.
Despite the reversal, the RBI has continued to advocate for a ban on cryptocurrencies, with top officials comparing virtual digital assets to Ponzi schemes. This regulatory environment raises the question, is crypto banned in India reflecting the ongoing complexities and uncertainties in the Indian cryptocurrency market.
Coinbase, another well-known global crypto exchange, ceased onboarding new customers in India last year. Brian Armstrong, the CEO of Coinbase, claimed in 2022 that the company was experiencing “informal pressure” from the central bank of India. This situation further illustrates the challenging regulatory landscape for cryptocurrencies in India, contributing to the wider discourse and concerns about the future of crypto in the country.
Banned Indian crypto exchange list
The following crypto exchanges have been affected by actions from Apple and the Indian government:
- Binance: One of the largest global crypto exchanges, known for a wide range of cryptocurrencies and services.
- Kraken: A significant player in the crypto market, offering a variety of trading options and recognized for its large user base.
- Huobi: Established in 2013, Huobi has expanded globally, offering nearly 400 cryptocurrency trading pairs.
- io: Known for trading a large number of cryptocurrencies and being one of the first to guarantee 100% Proof of Reserves.
- Bittrex: A U.S.-based exchange, noted for its rapid trade execution and strong security measures.
- Bitfinex: A Hong Kong-based exchange offering a variety of digital coins for trading.
- Bitstamp: The world’s longest-running cryptocurrency exchange, headquartered in Europe.
- MEXC Global: Founded in 2018, MEXC provides diverse trading options and supports over 1,000 cryptocurrencies.
- OKX: Although not explicitly mentioned in the sources, the OKX app has also disappeared from the Apple App Store in India.
These exchanges have faced challenges in India, primarily related to compliance with the country’s anti-money laundering regulations. The Indian government’s Financial Intelligence Unit has scrutinized these exchanges, leading to actions such as the removal of their apps from the Apple App Store in India and requests to block their websites.
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