Zebpay Opens Malta Offshoot Following India’s Crypto Banking Ban

Zebpay Opens Malta Offshoot Following India’s Crypto Banking Ban

Zebpay, India’s leading app-enabled bitcoin wallet, has commenced offering its services globally via the launch of its offshoot in Malta. The move comes after it recently shuttered its trading services due to the crypto banking freeze inflicted by the country’s central banking authority, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Also see: Blockchain No Panacea, But Social Security’s Dilemma Seems a Ripe Fit

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Zebpay Eyeing European Market

The Zebpay website indicates that it has opened up its crypto wallet service for global customers. Although there has been no official announcement, the website reveals that it has launched the Zebpay VFA Exchange, to be administered by Malta-based company offshoot, dubbed Awlencan Innovations Malta Limited.

Zebpay announced it was closing its Indian exchange at the end of September after months of legal challenges to the Indian Central Bank’s decision to ban the country’s banks from working with crypto businesses. In addition to providing a safe harbor to operate from, Malta will serve as Zebpay’s gateway to the European market.

There will remain, however, a number of countries where Zebpay will not extend its services. Most of the restricted jurisdictions are those that are under United States sanctions, such as Venezuela.

However, the prohibition is not limited to those countries. The United States and the world’s most crypto-friendly venue, Japan, are also among those whose citizens won’t be allowed to trade on the Zebpay VFA Exchange.

Noting cryptocurrency anonymity features and its possible use for tax evasion and terrorism financing, the Singapore-headquartered bitcoin wallet provider stated that it will adhere to strict Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) procedures.

As quoted on the website:

“Zebpay is committed to improving the global fight against Money Laundering and terrorist financing across the European Union. In this connection, the Company has endeavoured to carefully ensure all of its internal AML Procedures are in accordance with the amendments to the Fifth Money Laundering Directive.”

Zebpay India flag

Suffering Negative Consequences of the Crypto Banking Blockade

Zebpay’s global expansion plan comes two weeks after it announced it would shut down its crypto exchange, owing to the RBI’s prohibition of banks from doing business with crypto enterprises.

At the time, Zebpay stated:

“The curb on bank accounts has crippled our, and our customer’s, ability to transact business meaningfully. At this point, we are unable to find a reasonable way to conduct the cryptocurrency exchange business. As a result, we are stopping our exchange activities.”

The company’s wallet service, however, will continue uninterrupted despite the closure.

This year on April 6th, the RBI released a directive to all banks under its umbrella to cut business relationships with crypto enterprises. To survive the draconian crypto banking ban, local exchanges, including Zebpay, sought to go to strictly crypto-to-crypto trading. Simultaneously, several crypto entities challenged the RBI ban at the highest judicial forum of the country–the Supreme Court of India. The Supreme Court has been delaying its final judgment.  

Several industry experts publicly called India’s banking ban a big mistake, as it pushed local players to crypto friendly venues. Similarly, China’s crypto ban resulted in an exodus of crypto startups to Japan, Malta, South Korea, and Singapore.

On a positive note, while the Indian crypto environment is in a coma, another leading crypto exchange Unocoin acknowledged installing India’s first crypto ATM.

Will the Supreme Court of India rule to lift the crypto banking ban? Share your views in the comments section below.

Images via Pixabay

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