Business 25 July 2018

Dennis Wafula

India’s Unocoin disables fiat withdrawals ‘per orders of RBI’

Unocoin, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in India, has suspended its Indian rupee (INR) withdrawal and deposit services in the wake of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) ban.

On Monday, the crypto exchange announced on its website that, “As per orders from RBI, bank INR withdrawals and INR deposits have temporarily been disabled.”

According to the announcement, Unocoin disabled these services after instructions came from the Reserve Bank of India, which ordered financial institutions to stop offering crypto services. The company’s decision also affects Unodax, a newly established multi-assets trading platform.

Unocoin said the deposit and withdrawal services will resume “once an alternative method of funding is identified and deployed.” Currently, all banks and financial institutions are banned from offering financial services to cryptocurrency-related businesses.

The changes will not affect crypto deposits and withdrawals on Unocoin and Unodax. Unocoin customers will continue to use their rupee balances for buying and selling BTC and ETH, while those wishing to make a crypto-INR transaction will have to use the Unodax platform.

Currently, Unocoin offers to trade in BTC and ETH for INR while its subsidiary, Unodax is supports Bitcoin Cash (BCH), BTC, LTC, BTG, BAC and XRP.

In India, exchanges and financial institutions had to close shop after the RBI ban took effect last week. Some like Zebpay stopped offering rupee deposit and withdrawal services even before the ban took effect.

Many entities think the RBI unjustly imposed the ban without conducting the necessary research on the matter. So far there are many petitions challenging the RBI ban in the Supreme Court, which backed the central bank’s decision but said it will be issuing a definite ruling this fall.

Exchanges in India like Unocoin have set up mechanisms to prevent further restrictions from the officials. They now allow crypto-to-crypto transactions, which proved to be effective for business during the recent crackdown.

Meanwhile, reports recently surfaced that the Ministry of Finance has drafted regulations and will soon be done with the final paper to present to crypto exchanges. The ministry has formed an interdisciplinary committee to examine the regulatory framework regarding cryptocurrency exchanges.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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