Coinbase's Trading Launch in India Hits Snag With Payments System

The entity that governs UPI, India's payment system, say it's "not aware" of any crypto exchange using the system.

AccessTimeIconApr 7, 2022 at 5:02 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:01 p.m. UTC

Coinbase's (COIN) trading launch in India on Thursday appears to have stumbled as the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the organization that oversees retail payments and settlement systems in India, said it is "not aware of any crypto exchange" using UPI, a popular payments system in the country.

  • "With reference to some recent media reports around the purchase of Cryptocurrencies using UPI, National Payments Corporation of India would like to clarify that we are not aware of any crypto exchange using UPI," NPCI tweeted.
  • UPI is a popular instant real-time payment system that allows peer-to-peer and retail transactions. The platform is regulated by the Reserve Bank of India, the country's central bank, and falls under the purview of NPCI.
  • NPCI is an initiative of the RBI and the Indian Banks’ Association. The RBI has demanded that crypto be banned completely in India, and so the use of UPI announced by Coinbase drew attention.
  • At a launch event in Bengaluru, India's tech hub, Surojit Chatterjee, Coinbase's chief product officer, explained how using UPI would be the first step for India's citizens wishing to buy crypto on its platform
  • "India has shown a great willingness with UPI," Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said, a comment that drew NPCI's tweet.
  • "As we enter the Indian market, we are actively experimenting with a number of payment methods and partners to enable our customers to seamlessly make their crypto purchases. One of these methods is UPI, a simple to use and rapid payment system. We are aware of the recent statement published by NPCI regarding the use of UPI by cryptocurrency exchanges. We are committed to working with NPCI and other relevant authorities to ensure we are aligned with local expectations and industry norms," a Coinbase spokesperson said.

UPDATE (April 8, 05:14 UTC): Adds Coinbase comment in sixth bullet.


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Amitoj Singh is CoinDesk's regulatory reporter covering India. He holds BTC and ETH below CoinDesk's disclosure threshold of $1,000.

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