India: Two Crypto Exchanges Halt Trading, Blame ‘Discouraging’ Government Stance

Crypto exchanges BTCXIndia and ETHEXIndia have informed their customers via email that they are stopping trading activities, citing the “stress” on their business caused by governmental actions discouraging crypto, local Indian news outlet the Economic Times reported yesterday, Feb. 28.

BTCXIndia and ETHEXIndia’s websites both currently display a message to customers informing them that any deposits received after Jan.1 will automatically be sent back to the investor’s bank account.

According to the email, BTCXIndia was opened in 2014, and the exchange then opened ETHEXIndia opened two years later.

BTCXIndia customers are told they have until March 4, 2018 to withdraw their funds in either Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), or the rupee (INR) before an annual wallet maintenance fee is applied. The exchange’s Ripple/INR trading will be halted on March 5.

There is no trading data for BTCXIndia listed on CoinMarketCap.

ETHEXIndia customers are told they had until Feb. 28 to withdraw their funds in rupees or  Ethereum (ETH), and that trading will halt today, March 1, 2018. ETHEXIndia is currently ranked 163 in exchanges by 24 hour volume on CoinMarketCap, with a 24 hour volume of around $15,724 by press time.

BTCXIndia’s email cites the Indian Finance Minister’s Feb. 1 budget speech that spoke negatively of crypto’s use in “illegitimate activities” as the reason behind their decision to halt their crypto trading.

“As we heard in the budget speech, the Indian government is discouraging cryptocurrency trading. This has been clear also by government actions in the last year, and has put our business under a lot of stress and putting us in a position where we don't feel that we can continue our business in a professional manner any longer.

Until new rules are in place for tokens on public Blockchains, we are halting our trading (XRP/INR pair) platform and will focus 100% on our consultancy working with permissioned Blockchains.”

India’s Minister of Finance had also referred to Bitcoin as a “ponzi scheme” back in December of last year, and in January 2018, several large banks in India limited or suspended accounts of crypto exchanges, citing a risk for illegitimate transactions.

After media reports misconstruing the Feb. 1 speech as a crypto ban in the country — which it was not — a Cointelegraph reporter spoke to executives at three of India’s largest exchanges, all of whom shook off any rumors than a true crypto ban was imminent. India’s Finance Ministry has also underlined that there is no active crypto ban within the country.

BTCXIndia ends their email by adding that they will be launching their own Blockchain labs, Schain Labs, on March 9, which they hope will show the government the huge benefits that India can derive from Blockchain technologies, and eventually promote progressive and clear regulation also for the public Blockchain space.”