BENGALURU: Binance, a global cryptocurrency exchange, has acquired Mumbai-based bitcoin exchange WazirX, in a significant move in the cryptocurrency ecosystem in India.
The transaction was estimated at $5-10 million, according to sources.
Over the last couple of years, exchanges have been shutting down due to lack of a clear regulation, and this acquisition is the first major one in the space. Through this acquisition Binance is expected to foray into the fledgling Indian market, which is counted among the top exchanges globally.
ET had reported earlier that WazirX launched its global operations earlier this year and its peer-to-peer and cryptoto-crypto transactions.
WazirX’s peer-to-peer (P2P) engine will be integrated into the Binance Fiat Gateway platform in the first quarter of 2020, allowing users to trade any digital asset available on Binance with the purchase of USDT or Tether, a blockchain-based cryptocurrency, from the WazirX P2P market.
“The young demographic in India gives an edge to adopt and build on new financial technologies, and I believe this will play a vital role in making India a global blockchain innovation centre to also spur cryptocurrency adoption throughout the larger public in the country,” said Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao.
“India will be one of our first forays into stimulating financial growth and access in developing nations beyond the country,” Zhao told ET. “We will be continuing to work towards furthering crypto adoption, lowering the barrier to entry. One of the main goals is to add more fiat currencies to Binance and work with local partners to add as many fiat-to-crypto pairs as possible.”
WazirX users will now be able to buy and sell crypto using the Indian currency on the Binance Fiat Gateway. Nischal Shetty, founder of WazirX, will continue to run its operations independently from India. “The acquisition will now help us to expand our P2P business geographically. The next phase of mass adoption for crypto will arise from developing nations. India, with more than a billion people, is primed for massive crypto adoption,” said Shetty.
The native WazirX token (WRX) is currently available through trade mining, signups and an upcoming token sale is also under consideration.