Binance denies owning WazirX amid ED probe, Indian crypto exchange counters

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao claimed that Binance only provides wallet services to WazirX as a tech solution, and said WazirX was solely responsible for all other aspects. However, WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty tweeted against the statement.

Changpeng Zhao, CEO of crypto exchange Binance, claimed on a Twitter thread on Friday that the company does not own any equity in the Indian crypto exchange WazirX.

He further stated, "Binance published a blog post that it had “acquired” WazirX. This transaction was never completed. Binance has never - at any point - owned any shares of Zanmai Labs, the entity operating WazirX."

Furthermore, Changpeng Zhao explained that Binance only provides wallet services to WazirX as a tech solution. He claimed that WazirX was solely responsible for all other aspects of its exchange, including KYC trading, and withdrawals.

However, in response to the tweet, Nischal Shetty, Founder and CEO of WazirX countered by saying that Binance did acquire WazirX, and Zanmai Labs had the licence from Binance to operate INR-crypto pairs on WazirX.

Looking back, in 2019, Binance announced the acquisition of WazirX in a blog post, stating that users from November 25, 2019 could buy and sell crypto with Indian rupees (INR) on Binance Fiat Gateway. The blogpost also featured pictures of Zhao and WazirX founders.

In the same blog post, former Binance CFO Wei Zhou said, "Building fiat-to-crypto bridges remain a key mission for Binance, and WazirX will help this by providing a simple and cohesive way to purchase cryptocurrencies in a country which is home to more than a billion people."

Later, on November 21, 2019, the Indian crypto exchange stated in a separate blog post, "WazirX has now become India’s first-ever cryptocurrency exchange to be acquired by an international crypto exchange."

However, there were no clarifications given by the exchange thereafter.

Crypto entrepreneur and Coin Crunch India CEO Naimish Sanghvi turned to Twitter to express that even though no transaction took place between Binance and WazirX to acquire the latter, no clarification was provided on the same.

In the Twitter thread, Zhao also said that Binance has collaborated with law enforcement agencies around the world. "We would be happy to work with ED in any way possible," he added.

This statement by Zhao comes at a time when, earlier today, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) announced that it froze bank deposits worth Rs 64.67 crore as part of a money laundering probe against WazirX.

On its official Twitter account, ED disclosed that it had conducted searches at the premises of one of the directors of Zanmai Labs Private Limited, which operates WazirX.

It is alleged that the company was laundering fraudulent money via the purchase and transfer of virtual crypto assets.

Edited by Kanishk Singh


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