Coinbase says not discontinuing services in India but disables sign-ups – Coinbase said on Monday that it disabled new user sign-ups on its exchange product in India in June but still remains committed to the country, where its operations have been suspended for more than a year, issuing a clarification to media reports, including one in TechCrunch, that said otherwise citing customer emails.
The crypto exchange operator based in the United States stated that some customers who did not satisfy the company’s upgraded requirements received the emails, and the message was not reflective of Coinbase’s India operations. The email stated that those individuals had until September 25 to transfer their monies before the company’s exchange services were discontinued.
“We stopped allowing new user sign-ups on our exchange product in India back in June of this year. We maintain a robust tech hub in the country and offer live products, including our Coinbase Wallet. We are committed to India over the long term and continue to explore ways to strengthen our presence in this important market,” a Coinbase spokesperson said in a statement.
According to Sensor Tower data supplied by an industry executive, the eponymous trading app from Coinbase, which is also an investor in major Indian crypto exchanges CoinDCX and CoinSwitch Kuber, has fewer than 50,000 monthly active users in India.
Since launching the exchange in India over a year ago, Coinbase has struggled to gain traction with local regulators. The lack of progress with local officials has irritated executives, notably Durgesh Kaushik, who joined the firm as Senior Director for Market Expansion last year only to quit a few months later.
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong traveled to India last year to debut the exchange business thereby adding support for the widely used UPI payment method.
The payments authority that regulates UPI, however, instantly refused to accept Coinbase’s India launch, and Coinbase eventually suspended support for the payments system.
Coinbase stated at the time that it was dedicated to working with the NPCI and other appropriate authorities, as well as that it was experimenting with alternate payment options, which never materialized.
In May of last year, Armstrong stated that Coinbase had to cease its trading business in India due to “informal pressure” from India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India.
While cryptocurrency trading is not illegal in India — in fact, the South Asian country has only recently begun to tax it – there are “elements in the government there, including at Reserve Bank of India, who don’t seem to be as positive on it. And so they — in the press, it’s been called a ‘shadow ban,’ basically, they’re applying soft pressure behind the scenes to try to disable some of these payments, which might be going through UPI,” he explained.
For the past five years, Indian authorities have taken a cautious approach to cryptocurrencies, emphasizing the importance of international cooperation in managing these digital assets.
Over the weekend, the G20 countries issued a Leaders’ Declaration in which they stated that they support the Financial Stability Board’s (FSB) high-level recommendations for the regulation, supervision, and oversight of crypto-assets activities and markets, as well as global stablecoin arrangements.
“We ask the FSB and SSBs to promote the effective and timely implementation of these recommendations in a consistent manner globally to avoid regulatory arbitrage. We welcome the shared FSB and SSBs workplan for crypto assets. We welcome the IMF-FSB Synthesis Paper, including a Roadmap, that will support a coordinated and comprehensive policy and regulatory framework taking into account the full range of risks and risks specific to the emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) and ongoing global implementation of FATF standards to address money laundering and terrorism financing risks.”