Indian central bank’s ‘informal pressure’ disrupted payments: Coinbase CEO

Indian central bank’s ‘informal pressure’ disrupted payments: Coinbase CEO

Three days after its debut in India, Coinbase, a US-based cryptocurrency exchange, abruptly stopped using United Payments Interfaces (UPI), the largest payment service provider in the region. Brian Armstrong, Coinbase CEO, later stated that the disruption in service was caused by an “informal threat” from India’s central banking.

Armstrong discussed Coinbase’s 2022 Quarterly earnings call and acknowledged Coinbase’s role as a catalyst for the discussion with regulators regarding crypto adoption. Armstrong answered a question about the recent disruption in India’s payment services.

“So, a few days after launching, UPI was disabled because of some informal pressure by the Reserve Bank of India(RBI), which is sort of the Treasury equivalent there.”

Armstrong emphasized the Supreme Court’s March 2020 ruling that forbids RBI to ban banks from dealing with crypto-business, but he also warned about certain government entities, including the RBI, “who don’t seem as positive on the matter.”

The CEO of Coinbase revealed the company’s aggressive strategy to expand internationally. This includes launching services in new countries and working with regulators based upon their reactions to Coinbase being present in that region. Armstrong highlighted India’s attempt at imposing a shadow ban for crypto businesses.

“Basically, they are applying soft pressure behind-the scenes to try and disable some of the payments that might be going through UPI. We are concerned that they might be violating the Supreme Court ruling.

Coinbase is preparing for a regional relaunch despite the obvious regulatory hurdles. It will introduce other payment methods to meet the high demand from crypto investors. Armstrong concluded:

Cryptocurrency will eventually become legal and regulated in most countries in the world, both in democracies and free nations. The only way to move the conversation forward is to take action.

India’s first crypto law, which requires crypto investors to pay 30% tax for unrealized crypto gains, was introduced on April 1. However, the move had a negative impact on the crypto ecosystem. Trading volumes dropped and in-house businesses moved to friendlier countries.

Related: Binance will drive cryptocurrency and blockchain awareness among Indian Investors

To tap the same untapped market, Binance crypto exchange launched three educational initiatives to accelerate the education of Indian students and investors about cryptocurrency and the blockchain ecosystem.

Binance also announced that crypto adoption is currently being hindered by insufficient education from Indian policymakers and regulators.

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