India has pulled the curtain on cryptocurrencies as soon as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced that it had placed a ban on the sale or purchase of cryptocurrency for entities regulated by RBI terming cryptocurrency as non-sovereign. Back in July 2019, the Indian cryptocurrency watch panel proposed fines and jail time for cryptocurrency use with up to ten years in prison for general crypto use in the country.
The slowly thriving crypto industry that was just laying its foundation into the Indian community was stopped in its tracks. Most of the first generation Indian cryptocurrency exchanges like Zebpay and Koinex closed their doors.
The following year saw yet another casualty in the Indian government’s war on cryptocurrencies, as Mumbai – based exchange Koinex stopped their operations. The authorities were dead silent about crypto regulations for a considerable amount of time.
The scene is changing now as peer-to-peer exchanges have merged amidst the crisis and the market is slowly recovering with crypto exchange WazirX leading the movement. Besides this, Zebpay is also planning a comeback 16 months after it had shut down operations, according to a report from IBS intelligence.
Founded by Sandeep Goenka and Saurabh Agrawal in 2015, it is the first crypto-trading exchange in India. However, after the banking ban, Zebpay decided to shut shop and shift base to another country. By the time of exit from India, it accounted for more than 50% market share in the estimated 5 million to 6 million virtual currency investors in India that time
As per the report, Zebpay is making a comeback in the Indian market with a new leadership team, new services, and a crypto-to-crypto exchange. According to sources, the company also has plans to launch a platform for mutual fund investments in the country.
The report cited a statement from Zebpay that said:
“A new leadership team, crypto-crypto trading, no-fee trading on select pairs, an upgraded focus on security and innovation, and a passive income and borrowing program on the horizon. The exchange’s CEO is Rahul Pagidipati. With a new CFO, CMO, and Chief Strategy Officer, we’ve got a new vision to become one of the most trusted, innovative blockchain service companies in the world.”
Zebpay is planning a re-launch amidst the on-going Crypto vs RBI case and the supreme court is yet to pass a final judgment. Earlier this month the Supreme Court decided to continue assessing what it’s calling the ‘Crypto Matter.’ The case was the result of multiple petitions by the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), a not-for-profit industry body that appeals to the government on behalf of internet industry consumers, shareholders and investors.
WazirX held the fort
Prior to this, the Peer – to – Peer system was popularised in India by another Mumbai based exchange dubbed WazirX. Their launch of the world’s first automated P2P matching engine was an instant hit as RBI had imposed a banking ban on cryptocurrency exchanges. WazirX was also acquired by the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, Binance last year.
Even though cryptocurrencies are still considered a rouge investment/asset class in India, the nation has the exact opposite stance towards Blockchain technology. However, now there are high hopes that a positive decision from the Supreme Court would compel the RBI to regulate cryptocurrencies, while the market has started to bloom again.