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Exclusive interview with CEO of WazirX on Regulations and RBI Ban

July 02, 2018 16:21
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WazirX is one of the most popular Cryptocurrency exchanges in India and we got to talk to the company’s CEO, Nischal Shetty. The exchange has nearly 35 cryptocurrencies listed against INR.

On April 5th, the RBI announced a ban where banks would no longer be able to offer their services to cryptocurrency exchanges. To combat this ban, WazirX announced a new peer-to-peer exchange where people would be able to exchange cryptocurrencies between each other. Nischal Shetty answered a few questions for us on regulations and the peer-to-peer exchange they’re set to launch.

1. What are your views on regulatory uncertainties for Cryptocurrencies in India?

It’s expected considering the paradigm shift that blockchain and crypto has brought about in this world. Every country is trying to understand and figure out the right way forward. However, suppressing or banning new technology has never played out well for anyone and I believe India shouldn’t try to do that either. The best way forward is to first understand what blockchain and crypto is all about and then find the right solutions to integrate it into the financial fabric of our nation so that we can progress faster in the crypto space.

I’ve told this time and again, I’m more than happy to help the right authorities to understand the big picture as well as the nitty gritties of blockchain and cryptos in general considering my technical background and expertise in this field.

2. In the RBI’s announcement, they had instructed the Banks to not deal with entities dealing with cryptocurrencies. Users transferring money for cryptocurrencies can also be seen as entities. Would that expose your customers to any risks? Especially because we’ve seen previous instances when banks have shut down accounts when users used them on cryptocurrency exchange.

Can’t comment further at this point in time but an individual is free to transfer money to another individual. Legal terms come into the picture only when the Indian government passes a law and we’ll need to wait and watch when that happens.

3. How is it different from LocalBitcoins, a peer-to-peer exchange which has been around for more than 5 years now.

We’re the first open order book exchange in India that announced P2P as the solution. Unlike the other existing marketplaces where you then have to move your crypto to an exchange, in the case of WazirX you can start trading in our crypto-to-crypto market immediately. You save on transfer fees as well as time by using WazirX P2P.

4. You’ve mentioned a robust dispute resolution engine. But since WazirX does not directly work with banks, there is no way to verify INR transactions. How do you intend to resolve disputes?

We’ve got a solution to that but I cannot disclose at this point. We’ll reveal these at the right time.

5. Will the P2P service have a fee? If so, what will the fee structure be like?

We’ll reveal details when we launch. Be rest assured, our first priority is to enable a smooth transition between INR and Cryptocurrencies for every Indian.

6. What is your suggestion for regulators while forming crypto regulations?

Unlearn what you know and start with an empty and open mind. Do not try to find parallels to crypto with the existing financial instruments. You may be tempted to look at them as a currency or as a security but cryptos are a new breed of assets and need to be treated as such. We need to build regulations from the ground up.

India has the opportunity to be at the forefront of this crypto revolution by being ahead of other countries in forming the right set of regulations. Our government should ideally invite us to have a dialogue and help them formulate the right regulatory framework for cryptos that will help propel India to the top in the crypto world.

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