This story was first published on the Benzinga India portal.
Apple Inc AAPL has reportedly removed global cryptocurrency exchanges like Binance, Kucoin, and OKX from its Indian App Store, following a warning from India’s finance ministry to nine digital asset service providers for not adhering to the country’s anti-money laundering regulations. These exchanges are used to trade in digital assets like Bitcoin BTC/USD, Ethereum ETH/USD and others.
The warning, dispatched on December 28, 2023, to Binance, Kucoin, Houbi, Kraken, Gate.io, Bittrex, Bitstamp, MEXC Global, and Bitfinex, charged them with unlawful operations in India due to non-compliance with local tax regulations. The finance ministry instructed the IT ministry to obstruct the URLs linked to these exchanges.
Nevertheless, these apps remain available on Google’s Play Store, and it remains unclear if Google will imitate Apple’s move. The websites of these exchanges are still accessible in India.
The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of India had petitioned the country’s IT Ministry to block the websites of all nine services within its borders. However, Bitstamp, one of the services flagged by the FIU, continues to be operational on the App Store in India.
It’s important to note that a significant number of Indian traders have migrated to global cryptocurrency platforms in recent times, to avoid taxes. India initiated taxation on virtual currencies last year, levying a 30% tax on profits and a 1% deduction on each crypto transaction.
While India-centric crypto exchanges, such as CoinSwitch Kuber, which is backed by a16z, CoinDCX, supported by B Capital, and WazirX, formerly affiliated with Binance, maintain stringent know-your-customer checks before enrolling new users, many global platforms have not displayed the same level of rigor.
Moreover, trading volume on WazirX has reportedly plunged by 97% in two years, partially due to many traders opting for global apps.
Photo by James Yarema on Unsplash
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