cryptocurrency exchange in India WazirX is in trouble once more after Binance, the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, stated that it “does not own any equity in Zanmai Labs’, the company operating WazirX.
Binance released the statement shortly after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday announced that it had searched the offices of a director of the company, Zanmai Labs, on Wednesday and that it had frozen bank balances totaling Rs 64.67 crore that belonged to WazirX. While looking into non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and their fintech partners engaging in predatory lending practises, the ED claimed to have discovered evidence against the company.
The ED claims that these Chinese loan lending businesses that were shut down in India diverted their money through cryptocurrency exchanges, with the WazirX exchange receiving the largest portion of the money.
“Earlier, their managing director, Mr. Nischal Shetty, had asserted that WazirX is an Indian exchange that controls all cryptocurrency-to-crypto and INR-to-crypto transactions and only has an IP and preferential agreement with Binance. Zanmai now asserts that they only participate in INR-to-crypto transactions and that Binance handles all other transactions on WazirX. For the purpose of avoiding regulation by Indian regulatory agencies, they are providing contradictory and ambiguous answers, according to the ED statement.
Shetty, a co-founder of WazirX, wrote in a tweet today, “WazirX was acquired by Binance, Zanmai Labs is an India entity owned by me and my co-founders, Zanmai Labs has licence fr[o]m Binance to operate INR-crypto pairs in WazirX, Binance operates crypto to crypto pairs, processes crypto withdrawal.”
In response, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao stated that “Binance has never – at any point – owned any shares of Zanmai Labs, the entity operating WazirX.” This didn’t sit well with Binance. It should be noted that Binance announced in a blog post on November 21, 2019, that it had “acquired” WazirX. However, according to a tweet from Zhao, “this transaction was never finished.”
Zhao claims that Binance only offers WazirX wallet services as a technical fix. Off-chain transactions are also integrated in order to reduce network fees. All other facets of the WazirX exchange, such as user registration, KYC, trading, and starting withdrawals, are under WazirX’s control.
Investors and cryptocurrency enthusiasts are puzzled by the Shetty and Zhao Twitter spat.
Shetty continued by claiming that Binance is the legitimate owner of the exchange and that the company even owns the domain name WazirX, has root access to AWS servers, all of the cryptocurrency assets, and all of the cryptocurrency profits.
Zhao tweeted in response to Shetty’s message, “WazirX domain is now under our control. Shared access to an AWS account was provided to us. WazirX could be terminated. However, we are unable to due to user harm. Deal never got completed. No transfers of shares.
Shetty quickly clarified that accepting the statement “We could shut down WazirX” demonstrated Binance’s authority. He claimed that Binance has AWS’s root access. The statement “Anyone with root access controls AWS” is followed by the question “Why are you not taking Zanmai, the only control left?”