One of India’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Zebpay, is moving its operations to the Mediterranean island nation of Malta in an effort to maintain its operations after shutting shop last month. The move comes amidst an unprecedented cryptocurrency ban instituted by the Indian government.The new Malta-based exchange, which will still be called Zebpay, will offer cryptocurrency trading services to customers in 20 countries, all of which are located in Europe, but will not offer trading to Indian citizens, reports Quartz.India Losing Out on Business Due to Restrictive Cryptocurrency BanZebpay held a significant amount of the Indian cryptocurrency trading market, once having an estimated five to six million investors on the platform.Their business began to falter after the Indian government put in place the shocking ban on cryptocurrency trading, which isolated exchanges by forbidding them from engaging in banking relationships.There has been a significant amount of confusion in the cryptocurrency industry as to whether or not the country is planning on lifting their exchange ban, with multiple sources giving conflicting statements on the situation. Nevertheless, there have not been any major policy or leadership changes that would warrant a lift of the ban since it was originally instituted.This restriction halted the tremendous growth that the Indian cryptocurrency markets were seeing in early 2018, where exchanges were registering as much as 300,000 new customers per month at their height. Since the ban, estimates claim that the largest Indian exchanges are now registering less than 25,000 customers per month.As a result of the faltering trading activity and low account registration numbers, Zebpay announced on September 28th that they were halting all exchange activities:“The curb on bank accounts has crippled our, and our customers’, ability to transact business meaningfully. At this point, we are unable to find a reasonable way to conduct the cryptocurrency exchange business. As a result, we are stopping our exchange activities.”Zebpay isn’t alone in their move to foreign soil, with other major cryptocurrency exchanges leaving India for more crypto-friendly countries, like Switzerland, Singapore, Dubai, and the Cayman Islands.Malta Securing Position as Cryptocurrency HubZebpay’s move to Malta further secures the tiny nation’s position as a leading cryptocurrency hub, now housing the headquarters of some of the world’s largest exchanges, including Binance, Bittrex, BitBay, and more.The trend has been fueled by the Maltese government’s friendly attitude towards cryptocurrency, only requiring exchanges to adhere to a light regulatory framework that ensures the exchanges are operating in a legal and trustworthy way.Another reason the location is popular for cryptocurrency companies is due to its solidified position in the European Union, which means that companies located in Malta have no barriers for offering their services to citizens residing in any EU nations, which is part of the reason why Zebpay’s services will be offered exclusively to European countries.As the Indian government continues to drag their feet on implementing regulatory frameworks on the cryptocurrency industry, it is likely that more exchanges will leave the country in order to preserve their business operations.Featured image from Shutterstock.
Malta has done it again. It’s favorable and clear regulations have enticed previously MIA Indian exchange, Zebpay, to enjoy island life and crypto-friendly legislation.
Did you ever lose a favorite item like a necklace or a pair of sunglasses, and then one day you find it and all is right with the world again? This could be what previous customers of Zebpay were feeling when it was recently reported that the crypto exchange has opened its doors again.
Crackdowns and Bans
Last month, Live Bitcoin News reported that one of India’s most popular exchanges had closed up shop due to the country’s reserve bank’s controversial ban. In addition, India, like many countries, has no clear guideline or framework when it comes to regulations.
That didn’t stop the country’s tax authorities from cracking down on exchanges, one of which was Zebpay. This, coupled with the ban and murky regulations, led to the exchange closing down. At the time of closure, a statement on the platform’s blog read:
The curb on bank accounts has crippled our, and our customers’, ability to transact business meaningfully. At this point, we are unable to find a reasonable way to conduct the cryptocurrency exchange business. As a result, we are stopping our exchange activities.
After news broke, Indian-based exchange, Bitbns, gallantly offered a helping hand in the form of assisting Zebpay’s three million customers to move to their exchange.
Zebpay Moves to Malta
However, according to Quartz India, Zebpay has now been welcomed with open arms to the “blockchain island” of Malta.
The picturesque island nation continues to attract big industry names including Binance and Bittrex. Its government has drafted legislation and its Prime Minister has even spoken about how crypto and blockchain could be the driving forces of the future at a recent UN address.
Zebpay will be providing services to 20 countries which include France, Germany, Sweden and, of course, Malta. One country that will not be serviced though is India. While the exchange has issued no official statement as yet, their website does list a Maltese location as an address for the company.
This is another example of what happens when governments fail to capitalize on the potential that crypto presents. Gone are the days when a business’s location was dependent on where they started. In the world of disruptive technology, it is dependent on where they will receive the most favorable regulations. This is what Malta understands and why they continue to explore and implement this technology in their country.
Straddling the fence when it comes to developing clear guidelines could result in bright talent and innovative platforms leaving countries and taking their money with them.
Do you think that Zebpay will thrive now that they’re in the crypto-friendly country of Malta? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) is forming a dedicated focus group for blockchain exploration made up of both big business and cryptocurrency players, Indian daily newspaper Economic Times reported Monday, Oct. 15.
Confirmed in a tweet Tuesday, the IAMAI, whose remit is to “expand and enhance” the online and mobile sector, will use its “Blockchain Committee” to “identify opportunities and challenges and work with government, industry and startups” to develop a blockchain “ecosystem.”
The move comes amid testing times for cryptocurrency in India, with the country’s supreme court still deliberating on the legality of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) cryptocurrency banking ban it instigated in July.
Commenting on the plans, Tina Singh, chair of the newly-founded Blockchain Committee, said the technology was nonetheless “undoubtedly the technology of the future,” noting:
“The IAMAI Blockchain Committee will focus on creating dialogue between all stakeholders; curate and create content to aid skill development and move towards creating a participative economy with the usage of blockchain.”
Participants in the committee include major Indian cryptocurrency exchange ZebPay, itself a conspicuous victim of the central bank’s ban, having halted its exchange offering altogether late last month.
The RBI itself is also “researching” blockchain, sources reported in August, as part of an assessment process in which it would “check what can be adopted and what cannot.”
Photo via Shutterstock.