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Binance says it doesn’t own Indian exchange WazirX, years after acquisition announcement – TechCrunch

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, said on Friday it does not own India-based platform WazirX despite disclosing the acquisition two and a half years ago.

Changpeng Zhao, founder and CEO of Binance, said in a series of tweets that the company “has been trying to get the deal done for the last few years” but has not completed the transaction yet citing “a few issues” which it declined to elaborate on.

Binance announced the acquisition of WazirX in late 2019 a blog post. The official blog post, which featured a photo of founders Zhao and WazirX, also featured the Binance executive’s excitement about the deal.

“The acquisition of WazirX shows our commitment and dedication to the Indian people and strengthening the blockchain ecosystem in India and another step forward in achieving money freedom,” the 2019 post said.

WazirX also reported that it was “successfully acquired by Binance” in a separate blog post.

A tweet from Zhao last year sharing a news story about WazirX, where it was described as being owned by Binance.

Zhao said on Friday that Binance does not “own any equity in Zanmai Labs,” the entity that operates WazirX and was founded by the original founders.

“On November 21, 2019, Binance published a blog post that it had ‘acquired’ WazirX. This transaction was never completed. Binance has never – at any point – owned any shares in Zanmai Labs, the entity that operates WazirX,” he wrote.

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

The clarification follows India’s Enforcement Directorate freezing WazirX’s assets worth more than $8 million, citing suspected violation of foreign exchange rule.

“The recent allegations regarding the operation of WazirX and the way the platform is managed by Zanmai Labs are of deep concern to Binance. Binance cooperates with law enforcement agencies around the world. We will be happy to cooperate with ED in any way possible,” Zhao added.

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

WazirX did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday evening (local time).

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