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Apple Removes Binance From Indian App Store Amid Crypto Crackdown

Apple building

Apple reportedly removed Binance and seven other cryptocurrency platforms from its Indian App Store.

The move, requested by the Indian government, marks an escalation in that country’s crackdown on digital asset companies, Bloomberg reported Wednesday (Jan. 10).

The exchanges — which also include Bitfinex, HTX and Kucoin — were removed on the instructions of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, per the report, which cited unnamed sources. Authorities have also asked Google to remove the apps.

The move follows an announcement from late last month by the Financial Intelligence Unit India of its plan to block the URLs of nine offshore virtual digital asset service providers, saying these companies were not complying with India’s Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The nine companies targeted by these measures include Binance, Kucoin, Huobi, Kraken, Gate.io, Bittrex, Bitstamp, MEXC Global and Bitfinex.

A Tuesday (Jan. 9) report by TechCrunch included a quote from a message Binance sent to customers to assure them that their funds are safe.

“We are working hard to engage in constructive policy-making that seeks to benefit every user and all market participants,” the world’s largest crypto exchange wrote. “We continue to bet big on India as a leading Web3 market and we are exploring all avenues to establish a long-term sustainable business in India.”

The news follows reports earlier this week that crypto companies and FinTechs were fined $5.8 billion in 2023 for lackluster financial controls, marking the first time penalties against these groups exceed those against traditional finance firms.

“The fines were for things like failure to conduct proper money laundering measures or customer checks, as well as other financial crime-related issues,” PYMNTS wrote Tuesday (Jan. 9). Meanwhile, traditional financial services companies paid $835 million in fines last year, the lowest figure in a decade.

However, Dennis Kelleher, CEO of regulation advocacy group Better Markets, said the numbers are a sign of bad practices among crypto firms and do not mean that traditional banks improved their behavior.

“The pervasive fraud and criminality in the high-profile crypto arena forced regulators and prosecutors to divert resources,” he said, calling it an attempt to “stop the egregious conduct and try to deter it from getting even worse.”

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