Cryptocurrency exchanges in India have one by one announced the shut down of their fiat deposits and withdrawals as banks start closing their accounts per RBI’s crypto banking ban. Meanwhile, they are trying to educate the central bank in hopes of easing the ban.
RBI Ban Going Ahead
The Supreme Court of India heard a petition against the crypto banking ban by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday, July 3. However, it did not grant a stay on the ban. Instead, this petition, which was filed by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), will be heard along with four other petitions on July 20.
RBI issued a circular on April 6 banning all financial institutions under its control from providing services to cryptocurrency exchanges, starting on July 5. Without the stay by the Supreme Court, banks are likely to stop providing their services on July 5 per RBI’s order.
Shutting Down Fiat Support
One of India’s largest crypto exchanges, Zebpay, announced Wednesday:
Today we are disabling the rupee deposit and withdrawal options on the Zebpay app. This is being done in light of the bank account closures as per the RBI guideline…INR deposits and withdrawals have been paused in the Zebpay app until banks allow us again.
The exchange recently warned its customers that rupee deposits and withdrawals may become impossible if its bank accounts are disrupted. In the meantime, Zebpay noted that crypto deposits and withdrawals as well as “crypto-rupee and crypto-crypto pair trading” continue to be supported.
Another major Indian crypto exchange, Unocoin, issued a statement after the Supreme Court hearing on Tuesday. Reiterating that the court “has refused to hear the plea for interim relief” and that “The [next] hearing is set for the 20th of July,” the exchange wrote:
Banking services are expected to be revoked this week…if you are withdrawing or depositing any rupees in Unocoin, there could be a time when we may not honour such requests.
A smaller exchange, Coinome, stopped INR deposits at 11:59 PM on July 3. INR withdrawals will be discontinued on July 4 at 11:59 PM, the exchange advised its customers and requested them “not to Panic Sell. Your crypto assets will continue to retain value as per global markets.”
Pexo exchange also announced Wednesday that “We are closing the INR deposit and withdrawal request after 6 p.m. today as per the RBI guidelines. Requesting you all to withdraw your funds before the deadline.”
Wazirx announced at the time of this writing that its “INR deposits & withdrawals are [still] working normally,” adding that “You don’t need to worry about cashing in/out of crypto as Wazirx P2P will help you cash in/out of crypto even after RBI ban.” The exchange recently announced the launch of its P2P trading service which will be live once banks stop providing services to the exchange.
Meanwhile, Pocketbits announced that its “INR deposits might not be available after 5th of July, but INR withdrawals will be available even after that. Users can Withdraw their INR anytime. Crypto Withdrawals and Deposits are always available without any restrictions.” The exchange clarified:
Our current banks have given us an extension to disburse all the funds, this does not mean we will have functioning bank accounts indefinitely. We will notify our users days in advance before the withdrawals are completely stopped.
Koinok, on the other hand, claimed at the time of this writing that “even after July 5, INR withdrawals will be available on Koinok and you will be able to withdraw your INR funds anytime.”
Exchanges Trying to Educate RBI
At the IAMAI petition hearing on Tuesday, the association submitted “a representation to the RBI which was a detailed document explaining blockchain, cryptos and how they function,” Wazirx’s founder and CEO, Nischal Shetty, told news.Bitcoin.com.
According to CNBC-Awaaz, the Supreme Court sent a notice to RBI during the hearing, asking the central bank to respond within 7 days. Shetty elaborated, “if the RBI gets a deep understanding of blockchain and crypto then they may go easy on the ban and think about regulations.”
Unocoin emphasized on Wednesday:
We would like to let you know that this [RBI’s banking ban] is not a ban on cryptoassets and a policy in this regard is expected in the near future.
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Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Unocoin, and Zebpay.