Coinbase CEO Says ‘Informal Pressure’ From RBI Led To Disabling UPI-Based Crypto Transactions
Coinbase Inc., a U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange, said it disabled the unified payments interface option for its India operations on account of “informal pressure” from the RBI.
“So, a few days after launching we ended up disabling UPI because of some informal pressure from the Reserve Bank of India, which is kind of the treasury equivalent there,” Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong told investors during the first-quarter earnings call on Tuesday.
There are some elements within the government and at the RBI, who are not positive on cryptocurrencies, leading to the India operations getting hampered, Armstrong said. “India is a unique market in the sense that the Supreme Court ruled that they can’t ban crypto but there are elements in the government there, including at the RBI, who don’t seem to be as positive on it.”
On Monday, BQ Prime had reported that a number of overt and covert measures by the Indian financial services system had pulled down transaction volumes at cryptocurrency exchanges active in the country. Recently imposed taxes are also discouraging users.
The Indian banking regulator, according to the Coinbase CEO, might be in violation of a Supreme Court order from March 2020, which had set aside an RBI circular which barred transactions between regulated entities and cryptocurrency exchanges and users. The circular was set aside on grounds of proportionality.
Coinbase, however, is focused on working with the relevant regulatory authorities in India to relaunch its operations, the chief executive said. “I think our preference is really just to work with them and focus on relaunching. I think there are a number of paths we have, to launch again with other payment methods there,” Armstrong said.