Apple Inc. has delisted several major offshore cryptocurrency exchange applications, including Binance and KuCoin, from its App Store in India, following a government crackdown on exchanges that have not complied with the country’s anti-money laundering regulations.
Last December, India’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) issued show cause notices to nine cryptocurrency exchanges under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), prompting Apple’s latest action.
The FIU, operating under the Ministry of Finance, has mandated that cryptocurrency exchanges register as “Reporting Entities” to ensure adherence to the PMLA’s record-keeping and reporting requirements. Many offshore exchanges serving the Indian market have failed to comply, effectively operating outside the established anti-money laundering framework.
Local users have been advised to transfer their assets to compliant, FIU-registered Indian exchanges to maintain control and mitigate risks associated with non-compliant platforms.
The Indian government has historically taken a firm stance on cryptocurrencies. Last year, it imposed a 30% flat tax on all crypto income and later added a 1% tax deducted at source, or TDS, on crypto trades above 10,000 Indian rupees (US$120). Local exchanges, such as CoinDCX, have reportedly blamed the 1% levy for crushing the local industry’s trading volumes, driving many traders to seek out global platforms with less stringent know-your-customer (KYC) requirements.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the nation’s central bank, previously attempted to ban cryptocurrencies — a decision that was later overturned by the Supreme Court. The RBI continues to express concerns, likening cryptocurrencies to Ponzi schemes.
The decision by Apple, the largest company in the world by market capitalization, to support the government’s efforts by removing these apps from its store, may further damage the accessibility of cryptocurrency trading services in India.
Despite Apple’s move, the affected applications remain available on the Google Play Store, and their websites are still accessible within India, BeInCrypto reported. Binance South Asia has publicly stated its intention to engage with regulators to address the situation, reassuring existing app users that they will not be impacted and emphasizing the company’s dedication to regulatory compliance.