Binance says it no longer owns Indian exchange WazirX, years after acquisition announcement – TechCrunch

Binance says it no longer owns Indian exchange WazirX, years after acquisition announcement – TechCrunch

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume, said on Friday it no longer owns India-based platform WazirX despite disclosing the acquisition two-and-a-half years ago in a move that upset industry players, with its including the Indian firm.

Changpeng Zhao, founder and chief executive of Binance, said in a series of tweets that the company “has been trying to close the deal for the past several years,” but the transaction is not yet complete citing “a few issues” that he declined to elaborate on.

Binance announced the acquisition of WazirX in late 2019 in a blog post. In the official blog post, which included a picture of founders Zhao and WazirX, Binance executives’ enthusiasm about the deal was also evident.

“The acquisition of WazirX demonstrates our commitment and dedication to the people of India and strengthens the blockchain ecosystem in India as well as another step forward in achieving monetary freedom,” the 2019 post quoted him as saying.

WazirX also reported that it had been “successfully acquired by Binance” in a separate blog post.

A tweet from Zhao last year sharing a news item about WazirX, where it is described as owned by Binance.

Zhao said on Friday that Binance, the entity that operates WazirX and was founded by the original founders, “does not own any equity in Zanmai Labs”.

“On November 21, 2019, Binance published a blog post that it had ‘acquired’ WazirX. This transaction was never completed. Binance has never owned any shares – at any point – of Zanmai Labs, the entity that operates WazirX,” he wrote.

“Binance only provides wallet services to WazirX as a technology solution. There is also integration using off-chain tx, to save on network charges. WazirX is responsible for all other aspects of the WazirX exchange, including user sign-up, KYC, trade and initiation of withdrawals,” he said.

The clarification comes after India’s Enforcement Directorate froze WazirX’s assets worth over $8 million, citing suspected violation of foreign exchange rule.

“Binance is deeply concerned by recent allegations about the operation of WazirX and how Zanmai Labs manages the platform. Binance cooperates with law enforcement agencies around the world. We would be happy to work with ED in any way possible,” Zhao added.

India’s anti-money laundering agency said in its order on Friday that Binance rarely responds to inquiries sent to its official legal compliance email address.

WazirX is India’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume. Its annual trade volume exceeded $43 billion in 2021, “a 1,735% growth from 2020,” the company said late last year. The platform also provides its technology to several other Indian exchanges.

Updated at 10.58 PM IST: Nischal Shetty, co-founder of WazirX, has disputed Zhao’s claims, confirming that Binance has indeed acquired WazirX. In a series of tweets, he said:

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