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  • Writer's pictureSarah Brightmann

Coinbase Affirms Continued Presence in India Despite Temporarily Suspending New Sign-Ups

Coinbase has clarified its position regarding its services in India. Although the cryptocurrency exchange temporarily disabled new user sign-ups on its platform in India back in June, it emphasized its commitment to the country. This move follows recent media reports, including one from TechCrunch, that suggested otherwise based on customer emails.

According to Coinbase, the emails sent to some users who didn't meet the company's updated standards were not representative of its overall India operations. These emails warned users to transfer their funds by September 25 before the company ceased exchange services in India.

In a statement, a Coinbase spokesperson stated, "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."

Despite the temporary suspension of new sign-ups, Coinbase's exchange app in India reportedly has fewer than 50,000 monthly active users, according to data from Sensor Tower, as shared by an industry executive.

Coinbase has faced challenges in establishing a foothold in India for over a year. When it initially launched its exchange services in India, it encountered difficulties in gaining the approval of local authorities. The progress with Indian officials frustrated company executives, including Durgesh Kaushik, who left his position as Senior Director for Market Expansion shortly after joining the firm.

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong visited India in an attempt to launch the exchange service by adding support for the popular local payment instrument, UPI. However, the body overseeing UPI immediately rejected Coinbase's India launch, and shortly thereafter, Coinbase suspended support for the payment system.

At the time, Coinbase expressed its commitment to collaborating with NPCI and other relevant authorities and mentioned exploring alternative payment methods, though this initiative never materialized.

In May of the previous year, Armstrong cited "informal pressure" from the Reserve Bank of India as the reason for halting trading services in India. He noted that cryptocurrency trading is not illegal in India, and the country had recently started taxing it. However, there appeared to be elements within the government, including the Reserve Bank of India, that were less favorable toward cryptocurrencies. This had led to what was described as a 'shadow ban' and soft pressure on UPI transactions involving cryptocurrencies.

For the past five years, Indian authorities have maintained a cautious approach to cryptocurrencies, emphasizing the need for international cooperation in managing digital assets.

Recently, the G20 countries issued a Leaders' Declaration endorsing the Financial Stability Board's high-level recommendations for the regulation, supervision, and oversight of crypto-assets activities and markets, as well as global stablecoin arrangements. The declaration called for consistent global implementation to avoid regulatory arbitrage and emphasized the importance of addressing money laundering and terrorism financing risks through compliance with FATF standards.

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