Major Indian Crypto Exchange Zebpay Shuts Down Trading Service

 In Exchanges, Governments and Regulations

The Indian central bank’s crypto ban has forced Zebpay to halt its trading service, although its wallet service will continue to be available.

After having spent months attempting to persist in the face of the Indian central bank’s cryptocurrency ban, Indian crypto exchange Zebpay has announced that they can no longer continue and will be closing up shop.

Zebpay announced the development via Twitter:

The exchange provided customers little more than a few hours’ notice before shutting down its trading service on Friday. All unexecuted ordered were canceled, and coins/tokens were credited back to customers’ wallets. The exchange affirmed that no new orders will now be accepted until further notice.

Zebpay expounded on the matter further via a blog post on Medium, claiming that they had attempted to persevere and look for solutions despite “regulatory and banking problems”, as they did not want India to “miss the bus of digital assets that power the public blockchain”. However:

“…the recent past has been extremely difficult. The curb on bank accounts has crippled our, and our customer’s, ability to transact business meaningfully. At this point, we are unable to find a reasonable way to conduct the cryptocurrency exchange business. As a result, we are stopping our exchange activities.”

Zebpay did, however, assure users that their wallet service will remain available even after the exchange service stops. “You are free to deposit and withdraw coins / tokens into your wallet”, the statement read.

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The official status of cryptocurrencies in India remains unclear, but the government’s position is far from welcoming. In April this year, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced that all regulated financial institutions in the country were banned from doing business with cryptocurrency-related companies. While the matter was taken to court, no definitive verdicts have been reached (the case has been postponed), and the ban is still in place, making it next to impossible for exchanges in the country to conduct business. In addition, the lack of clarity about taxation, and sudden crackdowns by tax authorities made the situation far worse for crypto businesses in India.

Zebpay, which was launched in 2015, saw immense popularity in India, with around 200,000 app downloads and 300,000 to 400,000 new users every month during the crypto market boom in late 2017.

Following the tightening of regulations and the crackdown of the RBI and tax authorities, Zebpay attempted to continue by shifting to crypto-to-crypto and peer-to-peer trading, and halting Indian rupee withdrawals and deposits in July. However, it appears the government’s unrelenting stance has made it impossible for Zebpay to continue, dealing a significant blow to the cryptocurrency network in India.

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