Apple has withdrawn several prominent offshore cryptocurrency exchanges from its App Store in India. This decision follows the Indian government’s recent compliance notices to nine cryptocurrency entities. Among the removed apps are well-known platforms such as Binance, KuCoin, and OKX.
India’s regulatory crackdown on cryptocurrency
The move follows show-cause notices on December 28, when the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of India, operating under the Finance Ministry, issued compliance under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The show-cause notice alleged illegal operations of these exchanges in India due to non-registration and non-compliance with local tax rules.
This action targeted nine exchanges, including Binance, KuCoin, Huobi, Kraken, Gate.io, Bittrex, Bitstamp, MEXC Global, and Bitfinex.
Notably, OKX faced removal despite not receiving a direct show-cause notice from the authorities.
The Indian government has also initiated steps to block the URLs of these exchanges, which are purportedly operating without full legal compliance. This process, however, is complex and ongoing, leaving the URLs currently accessible within India. Sources familiar with the matter indicate that the government might await responses from these entities before proceeding with further actions.
Despite Apple removing these apps from its India store, they remain available on the Google PlayStore, suggesting a varied response from these tech giants to the regulatory measures.
Nonetheless, it remains to be seen if Google PlayStore will follow Apple’s steps in shutting down these exchanges.
Tax invasion concerns in India and impact on trading platforms
This incident highlights the regulatory landscape for cryptocurrencies in India, which has seen a surge in popularity but also faces significant scrutiny from authorities. The country took a firm stance in addressing concerns related to tax evasion because many Indian traders moved to popular cryptocurrency trading platforms.
It is essential to note that the country imposed taxes on virtual currencies last year.
Moreover, India-based crypto exchanges with strict KYC verifications, such as CoinDCX, Kuber, WazirX, and CoinSwitch, continue to operate in the country, These exchanges saw a surge in deposits after FIU actions, Cryptopolitan reported earlier.
Apple’s removal of these cryptocurrency exchange apps from its India App Store marks a pivotal moment in the ongoing discourse between digital currency platforms and regulatory bodies.