India’s First IEO Gives Local Community a Much-Needed Breath of Fresh Air

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Despite regulatory uncertainty and banking restrictions imposed by the Reserve Bank of India, WazirX — the Indian cryptocurrency exchange recently acquired by Binance — launched its WRX coin through an initial exchange offering on Binance Launchpad. On Feb. 5, 2020, WRX coin became available for live trading on Binance. The move was dubbed as a big achievement for the Indian crypto industry, as it will likely lead to global recognition. 

Earlier, Cointelegraph reported that the 9,033 winners of WazirX’s token sale on Binance Launchpad were announced. Over 20,000 users participated and more than 136,000 tickets were claimed.

In a conversation with Cointelegraph, Nischal Shetty, founder of WazirX, said that this has brought a much-needed positive energy into the entire Indian ecosystem:

“This is the much needed good news for the Indian community because from the last two years, with the bear market and the banking restrictions, Indian crypto ecosystem needed a huge morale booster.”

CoinDCX, one of the biggest competitors of WazirX in the country, also announced the listing of WazirX’s WRX token on its trading platforms. Sumit Gupta, co-founder and CEO of CoinDCX, expressed his feelings with Cointelegraph:

“We are happy about the achievement of WazirX team. Their efforts have paid off and this is definitely a positive sign for the Indian crypto ecosystem.”

Talking about the IEO and WRX token, Shetty said that this is very similar to Binance’s BNB token, adding that, “Binance grew as a result of the crypto-to-crypto trading and we want to grow WazirX as a result of unwavering focus on peer-to-peer fiat-crypto options.”

Shetty started WazirX in 2017 and launched an auto-matching peer-to-peer engine-based platform in June 2018, a few days before the banking ban from the Reserve Bank of India came into effect. Following the bank’s actions, many Indian exchanges such as Koinex, Coindelta, CryptoKart, Unocoin, BuyUCoin and Coinsecure shut down their operations. 

However, the peer-to-peer model became popular among Indian traders. With the successful implementation within the Indian community, Shetty is planning to launch this model in other countries as well. He said:

“In many countries, banking is an issue or banking APIs are slow and expensive. We have the plan to launch WazirX Peer-to-Peer platform in such countries to solve crypto trading-related problems.” 

Multiple steps to build a positive environment

The Indian crypto and blockchain community is working hard to build positive sentiments in India. After the banking ban imposed by the Reserve Bank of India, the community founded several initiatives at different levels, including multiple seminars, meetups and conferences for industry, government bodies and youth. 

Contributing to the space are programs like GenesisBlock and Unwind, which discuss possible implementation of cryptocurrencies and blockchain in the Indian ecosystem. Technical institutes have also launched multiple literacy programs for blockchain technology. 

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Additionally, in 2018, the local crypto community challenged the decision of the central bank in the Supreme Court of India, citing the right to do business under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution.

On a positive track, Singaporean crypto exchange Zebpay announced the resumption of their services in India. Gupta told Cointelegraph that this indicates a change in the environment for blockchain in India:

“We’ll see more projects getting listed. More companies will come to India and we welcome every player who supports the growth of the Indian ecosystem.”