Regulatory Pressure Forces Coinbase To Suspend Crypto Payments In India


On Sunday, three days after adding support for the popular Unified Payments Interface payment instrument in India, Coinbase – the largest US-based cryptocurrency exchange – removed the feature to purchase bitcoin using the system in India.

UPI is an instant real-time payment system designed by India’s National Payment Corporation to enable interbank transactions via mobile phone on Coinbase’s India services.

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The NPCI is a special unit of the Reserve Bank of India, under the country’s Ministry of Finance.

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“Purchases with this payment method are temporarily unavailable. Please try another payment method. Sorry for the inconvenience,” Coinbase’s mobile application said on Sunday.

The exchange has already revised its payment methods information on its website for Indian consumers, advising them to make sell orders via Immediate Payment Service (IMP).

Will NPCI Collaborate With Coinbase?

Coinbase indicated in a statement that it was dedicated to collaborating with the NPCI and other appropriate authorities and was exploring alternative payment options.

TechCrunch reported on Friday that it had asked Coinbase if it intended to continue supporting UPI payments as it worked with various authorities. The company did not respond to the inquiry.

The statement from the payments agency, which is a special section of India’s central bank, emphasized why other cryptocurrency exchanges in India have struggled to offer UPI, the most common method of online payment in the country.

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According to Chief Executive Officer Brian Armstrong, Coinbase expects to more than triple its personnel base in India this year to roughly 1,000.

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India will serve as Coinbase’s tech center for global product development, with half of new recruits being engineers, according to Pankaj Gupta, the company’s India site director.

Mass Hiring In India

The South Asia nation will provide around 25% of the 2,000 workers Coinbase expects to hire this year across engineering, product and design.

The NPCI said on April 7 that it did not recognize the legal standing of any cryptocurrency exchanges that used the Reserve Bank of India’s UPI, despite Coinbase’s announcement of its services.

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Suspension may have been precipitated by this remark:

“With relation to various media claims about the purchase of cryptocurrencies via UPI, the National Payments Corporation of India wishes to clarify that we are not aware of any crypto exchange that accepts UPI payments.”

The RBI has repeatedly expressed worry about cryptocurrency and suggested that it should be prohibited.

In light of this, various sources said that aggregators and lenders had been urged to refrain from working with cryptocurrency exchanges.

However, crypto exchanges have been able to operate in India thus far because of the industry’s regulatory vagueness.

Featured image from History.com, chart from TradingView.com


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