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Updated January 10th, 2024 at 16:02 IST

Apple delists Binance and 8 other crypto exchanges after FIU notification

Concurrently, these offshore exchanges remain accessible via the Google PlayStore.

Anirudh Trivedi
Binance
Binance | Image:Unsplash
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Off-shore crypto exchanges: Apple App Store has delisted several offshore cryptocurrency exchanges, including Binance, KuCoin, Huobi, Kraken, Gate.io, Bittrex, Bitstamp, MEXC Global, and Bitfinex, for its Indian users. This action comes in the wake of compliance show cause notices issued by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Notably, OKX has also been removed from the platform, despite not receiving a show cause notice.

The FIU, a division of the Government’s Finance Ministry, initiated the regulatory measures on December 28, targeting entities allegedly operating without requisite compliance. While the government has commenced efforts to block these exchanges' URLs within the country, the process remains incomplete due to bureaucratic procedures. 

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According to media reports, the delisted URLs continue to function, indicating that the government might await responses from the concerned entities before escalating actions.

Indian exchanges on FIU notification

Advising the other international crypto exchanges should be compliant with India’s PMLA regulations, Ashish Singhal, Co-founder and Group CEO, PeepalCo, said, “By asking offshore exchanges to register with the FIU-IND, the idea is to increase compliance with Indian laws on taxation, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and KYC norms. This will help create a level playing field between Indian and offshore exchanges, fortify compliance guardrails and also enhance consumer protection.” 

“CoinSwitch and PRO, as well as several other Indian VDA exchanges, are already compliant with India’s PMLA requirements for VASPs, and there is no reason why offshore exchanges shouldn’t do the same, should they wish to do business in India,” added Singhal. 

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Edul Patel, CEO of Mudrex shared his insights on the same with Republic Business. Patel said, "Some exchanges among the nine that received notices from FIU for non-compliance with standards in India, have been delisted from the Apple App Store, although still present on Google's Play Store and websites. All things considered, investors need not panic and are advised to securely transfer their funds to Indian FIU-registered entities, ensuring better regulatory compliance. Opting for FIU-compliant platforms not only provides a localized experience for Indian investors but also establishes a legal recourse against fraudulent activities on their accounts, promoting a secure investment environment.” 

Concurrently, these offshore exchanges remain accessible via the Google PlayStore, suggesting a divergence in app store policies between Apple and Google. 

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As India grapples with formulating a comprehensive regulatory framework for digital assets, the actions against these offshore exchanges signal heightened scrutiny and a proactive approach by authorities to uphold financial integrity and consumer protection within the burgeoning crypto market.

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Published January 10th, 2024 at 15:52 IST

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