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WazirX says Binance lied about ownership as controversy over India’s biggest exchange escalates

The emails obtained by CoinDesk shed more light on the ongoing debate over the undisputed rights of WazirX, India’s largest crypto exchange. In November 2019, WazirX’s ownership was undisputed: Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, published a blog post saying it had bought the Indian exchange.

WazirX executives have already spoken publicly about the acquisition. But last summer, when WazirX found himself in hot water with the Indian government, the story began to change. In early August, Indian officials raided the WazirX office in Mumbai on suspicion that the exchange helped 16 fintech companies launder money. Binance took immediate action to publicly disassociate itself from WazirX. Binance’s blog post that previously announced the acquisition event has been updated to state that the transaction is “limited to an agreement to purchase certain assets and intellectual property.”

In August On January 5, Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao tweeted that “Binance has no stake in Zanmai Labs, the company that operates WazirX.” A Binance spokesperson told CoinDesk that the news about Binance’s ownership of WazirX is “false.”

What followed was a month of public back and forth between WazirX and Binance over the true ownership of the Indian exchange, during which Binance said the transaction had not gone through, and WazirX officials said yes – and said they had evidence, although never. his share.

But, this week, CoinDesk received evidence from WazirX as the controversy came to a head. In the early morning of January 26 – a national holiday in India – Binance sent WazirX a letter asking the Indian exchange to respond to two requests by the end of this month, or risk Binance terminating its contract. of work on WazirX from February 1st. 3.

First, Binance asked WazirX to issue a pre-written “clarification statement” retracting previous statements by WazirX co-founder Nischal Shetty that Binance owned WazirX. He also asked WazirX to remove everything related to Binance from its operating system.

On Friday, Zanmai, the official name of WazirX, responded to Binance’s request in a letter obtained by CoinDesk. He pushed back, saying the announcement letter was “bad” and tried to use “pressure and threats from the media to force Zanmai to publish false and misleading statements as ‘explanations.'”

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