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Coinbase says India services will continue, but sign-ups are disabled

After media reports, including one in TechCrunch, cited customer emails, Coinbase clarified Monday that it disabled new user sign-up on its exchange product in India in June but remains committed to the country, where its operations have been in limbo for over a year.

The U.S. crypto exchange operator said some customers who didn’t meet its updated standards received the emails and the message wasn’t representative of Coinbase India. The email stated that users had until September 25 to move their funds before the company stopped exchanging.

“Our exchange product in India stopped accepting new users in June. The country has a strong tech hub and live products like Coinbase Wallet. A Coinbase spokesperson said, “We are committed to India over the long term and continue to explore ways to strengthen our presence in this important market.”

The Coinbase exchange app, which invests in CoinDCX and CoinSwitch Kuber, has fewer than 50,000 monthly active users in India, according to Sensor Tower data shared by an industry executive.

Coinbase hasn’t made any progress with local authorities since launching the exchange in India a year ago. The progress with local officials has frustrated executives like Durgesh Kaushik, who joined the firm last year as Senior Director for Market Expansion but left months later.

Last year, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong flew to India to launch the exchange service with UPI support.

However, the UPI payments body immediately rejected Coinbase’s India launch, and days later Coinbase suspended support.

Coinbase said it would work with NPCI and other authorities and experiment with other payment methods, but that never happened.

Last May, Armstrong said Coinbase had to stop trading in India due to “informal pressure” from the Reserve Bank of India.

Armstrong said cryptocurrency trading is legal in India, which just started taxing it, but “elements in the government there, including at Reserve Bank of India, who don’t seem to be as positive on it.” In the press, it’s been called a’shadow ban,’ but they’re applying soft pressure behind the scenes to disable some of these UPI payments, he said.

Indian authorities have been cautious about cryptocurrencies for five years, emphasizing the need for international collaboration to manage them.

The G20 countries’ Leaders’ Declaration from the weekend endorsed the Financial Stability Board’s (FSB) high-level recommendations for regulating, supervising, and overseeing crypto-assets activities and markets and global stablecoin arrangements.

We ask the FSB and SSBs to promote consistent, effective, and timely implementation of these recommendations globally to avoid regulatory arbitrage. The shared crypto asset FSB and SSB workplan is welcome. The IMF-FSB Synthesis Paper, including a Roadmap, will support a coordinated and comprehensive policy and regulatory framework that addresses the full range of risks and risks specific to emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) and ongoing global FATF standards to address money laundering and terrorism financing risks.

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