Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume, said on Friday it doesn’t own India-based platform WazirX, despite announcing the acquisition two and a half years ago in a move that stunned industry players including the Indian firm Has.
Changpeng Zhao, Founder and CEO of Binance, said in a series of tweets that the company “has been trying to close the deal for a number of years” but has not yet completed the transaction, citing “some issues” that he doesn’t want to elaborate on.
Binance announced the acquisition of WazirX in late 2019 in a blog post. The official blog post, which included a picture of the founders of Zhao and WazirX, also showed the Binance executive’s excitement about the deal.
“The acquisition of WazirX demonstrates our commitment and devotion to the Indian people and strengthening the blockchain ecosystem in India, as well as another step forward in achieving freedom of money,” the 2019 Post quoted him as saying.
WazirX also reported that it was “successfully acquired by Binance” in a separate blog post.
Zhao said on Friday that Binance “owns no stake in Zanmai Labs,” the company that powers WazirX and was founded by the original founders.
“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 in Zanmai Labs, the company that powers WazirX,” he wrote.
“Binance only offers wallet services for WazirX as a technical solution. There is also integration with off-chain TX to save on network fees. WazirX is responsible for all other aspects of the WazirX exchange including user sign-up, KYC, trading and initiating withdrawals,” he added.
The clarification follows India’s Enforcement Directorate freezing over $8 million in assets of WazirX, citing an alleged breach of foreign exchange regulations.
“The recent allegations about the operation of WazirX and the management of the platform by Zanmai Labs are of great concern to Binance. Binance works with law enforcement agencies around the world. We would be happy to collaborate with ED in any way we can,” added Zhao.
India’s Money Laundering Authority said in its Friday order that Binance rarely responds to requests sent to its official email address for regulatory compliance.
WazirX is the largest crypto exchange in India by trading volume. Its annual trading volume surpassed $43 billion in 2021, a “1,735% growth from 2020,” the company said late last year. The platform is also making its technology available to several other Indian exchanges.
Updated at 10:58 PM IST: WazirX co-founder Nischal Shetty has denied Zhao’s claims, claiming that Binance actually acquired WazirX. In a series of tweets, he said:
https://techcrunch.com/2022/08/06/binance-says-it-doesnt-own-indian-exchange-wazirx-years-after-acquisition-announcement/ Binance and WazirX disagree over ownership two years after acquisition announcement – TechCrunch