Binance and WazirX disagree on ownership two years after acquisition announcement

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Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, said on Friday that it does not own India-based platform WazirX despite announcing an acquisition two and a half years ago, baffling industry players, including India. firm.

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This was stated by the founder and CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao. series of tweets that the company “has been trying to close a deal for the past few years” but has yet to complete the deal, citing “several issues” that he declined to elaborate on.

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Binance announced the acquisition of WazirX at the end of 2019 in blog post. The official blog post, which included a photo of the founders Zhao and WazirX, is also indicative of the Binance CEO’s enthusiasm for the deal.

“The acquisition of WazirX demonstrates our commitment and dedication to the Indian people and strengthens the blockchain ecosystem in India, and is another step forward in achieving freedom of money,” he was quoted as saying in a 2019 post.

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WazirX also reported that it was “successfully acquired by Binancein a separate blog post.

A tweet from Zhao last year in which he shared the news about WazirX, where it is described as being owned by Binance.

On Friday, Zhao said that Binance “does not own shares in Zanmai Labs,” the organization that runs WazirX and was created by the original founders.

“On November 21, 2019, Binance published a blog post stating that it has “acquired” WazirX. This transaction was never completed. Binance has never – at any time – owned shares in Zanmai Labs, the organization that runs WazirX,” he wrote.

“Binance provides wallet services for WazirX only as a technical solution. There is also integration using off-chain tx to save on network fees. WazirX is responsible for all other aspects of the WazirX exchange, including user registration, KYC, trading, and initiating withdrawals,” he added.

The clarification followed when the Law Enforcement Authority of India froze over $8 million worth of WazirX’s assets, citing an alleged violation of a foreign exchange rule.

“Recent accusations about the operation of WazirX and how Zanmai Labs operates the platform are of deep concern to Binance. Binance cooperates with law enforcement agencies around the world. We look forward to working with ED in any way we can,” Zhao added.

The Indian Anti-Money Laundering Agency said in an order on Friday that Binance rarely responds to inquiries sent to its official email address to comply with legal requirements.

WazirX is the largest crypto exchange in India by trading volume. Its annual trading volume exceeded $43 billion in 2021, which is “up 1,735% from 2020,” the company said late last year. The platform also lends its technology to several other Indian exchanges.

Updated at 10:58 pm EST.: Nishal Shetty, co-founder of WazirX, disputed Zhao’s claims, arguing that Binance had indeed acquired WazirX. In a series of tweets, he said:

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