• Emails obtained by CoinDesk have shed new light into the dispute over the ownership of WazirX, India’s largest crypto exchange.
• In November 2019, Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume, published a blog post saying it had purchased the Indian exchange.
• However, last summer, when WazirX landed in hot water with the Indian government, Binance took steps to publicly distance itself from WazirX, amending the original blog post to say the transaction was limited to an agreement.
The rivalry between two of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, Binance and WazirX, has been escalating, with emails obtained by CoinDesk providing more insight into the debate over who owns the Indian exchange.
The story began in November 2019, when Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume, published a blog post claiming to have acquired WazirX, India’s largest crypto exchange. WazirX’s executives openly discussed the acquisition, and there seemed to be no dispute over its ownership.
But last summer, WazirX ran into trouble with Indian authorities when its Mumbai office was raided by government officials who suspected the exchange of helping 16 fintech companies launder money. In response, Binance quickly took steps to publicly distance itself from WazirX, amending the original blog post to clarify that the transaction was limited to an agreement.
The emails obtained by CoinDesk suggest that Binance and WazirX may have had different interpretations of the agreement. WazirX’s founder and CEO, Nischal Shetty, said in an email that Binance had “no legal rights or obligations” to the Indian exchange, while Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao argued that the exchange was still a part of the Binance family.
The emails also raised questions about the timing of the WazirX acquisition. According to the emails, Shetty claimed that the deal was completed in October 2019, while Binance said the agreement was finalized in December.
The back-and-forth between Binance and WazirX about ownership could have devastating effects for the Indian exchange and its users. If Binance is found to have a stake in the exchange, it could be subject to increased scrutiny from Indian regulators. On the other hand, if Binance is found to have no ownership in WazirX, it could be seen as a breach of trust and have a negative impact on the exchange’s reputation.
The debate over the ownership of WazirX has become increasingly heated in recent months, and it remains to be seen how the situation will play out. What is certain is that the outcome could have far-reaching consequences for the Indian crypto market.