Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, said Friday that it does not own the India-based platform WazirX despite revealing the acquisition two and a half years ago in a move that baffled industry players, including the Indian firm.
Changpeng Zhao, founder and CEO of Binance, said in a Tweet thread That the company had been “trying to close the deal for the past few years,” but had not yet completed the deal, citing “some issues” he declined to disclose.
Binance announced its acquisition of WazirX in late 2019 Blog post. The official blog post, which bore a photo of the founders Zhao and WazirX, also showed the Binance CEO’s enthusiasm for the deal.
A 2019 publication quoted him as saying, “The acquisition of WazirX demonstrates our commitment and dedication to the Indian people and strengthening the blockchain ecosystem in India as well as another step forward in achieving freedom of money.”
WazirX also stated that it was “Successfully acquired by BinanceIn a separate blog post.
Zhao said on Friday that Binance does not “own any shares in Zanmai Labs,” the entity that operates WazirX and was set up by the original founders.
On November 21, 2019, Binance published a blog post that “acquired” WazirX. This transaction was not completed. Binance has never – at any time – owned any shares in Zanmai Labs, the entity that operates WazirX.”
“Binance offers wallet services to WazirX only as a technical solution. There is also an integration using off-chain transmission, to save on network fees. WazirX is responsible for all other aspects of the WazirX exchange, including user registration, KYC, trading and initiating withdrawals.”
The clarification comes on the heels of the Indian Enforcement Administration freezing assets of more than $8 million in WazirX, citing a suspected violation of foreign exchange rules.
“Recent allegations about the operation of WazirX and how the platform was operated by Zanmai Labs are of deep concern to Binance. Binance cooperates with law enforcement agencies around the world. We will be happy to work with ED in any way we can,” Zhao added.
India’s Anti-Money Laundering Agency said in its order Friday that Binance rarely responds to inquiries sent to an official email address for legal compliance.
WazirX is India’s largest crypto exchange in terms of trading volume. Its annual turnover exceeded $43 billion in 2021, “a growth of 1.735% from 2020,” the company said late last year. The platform also provides its technology to many other Indian exchanges.
Updated at 10.58 PM ISTWazirX co-founder Nischal Shetty disputes Zhao’s claims, confirming that WazirX has already been acquired by Binance. He said in a series of tweets: