Coinbase found itself in a tight spot after the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) refused to recognise its UPI-linked crypto-buying offering announced on April 8. In a clarification, the US-headquartered crypto exchange has said that it is experimenting with different payment methods and partners in India, in order to bring in more ways for Indians to purchase cryptocurrencies. While the NPCI has said that it’s not aware of any crypto exchange using the UPI, Coinbase said it’s committed to adhere by India’s rules and regulations.
“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 told Gadgets 360.
Overseen by the NPCI, Unified Payments Interface or UPI is a heavily used online payments mode used in India. Over 300 million Indians reportedly use UPI to instantly transfer money from one account to another via apps such as BharatPe and Google Pay.
Statement by NPCI as on 7th April 2022. 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. Please see attached document pic.twitter.com/lGTcaSLKeC
— NPCI (@NPCI_NPCI) April 7, 2022
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong took the stage in Bengaluru on April 7 to announce that Indians will be able to buy crypto assets on its platform via the UPI method.
The move essentially opens investment avenues in this high-risk asset class for millions of people.
The crypto exchange has said that its experimenting with the feature as it could provide a rapid and simple way of making payments for crypto buyers.
“We are working with trusted payment partners to enable the above payment method. The banks have been receptive but we are unable to disclose the names at this stage,” people familiar with the matter told Gadgets 360 on the condition of anonymity.
While the UPI-backed crypto buying feature is still under a ‘Waitlist’ tab on the Coinbase app, its announcement stirred quite the buzz among crypto enthusiasts in India.
Coinbase just announced UPI on-ramp for India users. No other crypto app in India had UPI support until now, true alpha move.
Let’s get the next billion to web3 https://t.co/Ss2G0DIPOj
— b—m (@0x_beam) April 7, 2022
NPCI’s reaction to the news however, did seemingly dampen the public excitement a bit.
Today Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong in an event in Bengaluru said that Indian customers can buy crypto using UPI.
Given RBI’s stance on crypto, the position taken by NPCI doesn’t come as a surprise at all. Informal crackdown continues. https://t.co/KGGd0zzpbo
— Ashwin Manikandan (@AshwinM_) April 7, 2022
While further development on the situation remain awaited, Coinbase is set to host an in-person pitch fest in Bengaluru for ‘cryptopreneurs’ today, April 8.
The investment arm of Coinbase crypto exchange is offering funding of up to $1 million (roughly Rs. 7.5 crore) to Indian crypto and Web 3 firms.