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Google Play Store removes Binance, others in response to Indian FIU notice

Google has removed various offshore exchanges from India’s Play Store, such as Binance, KuCoin, Bitget, Huobi, OKX, Gate.io, and MEXC. The removal follows the delisting of the same apps from India’s Apple App Store. The government’s noncompliance notice led to the removal, making these apps unavailable for new users in India.

Binance app delisting notice. Source: Google Play Store

The Indian Ministry of Finance’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) on Dec. 28, 2023, issued a notice to Binance, Huobi, Kraken, Gate.io, KuCoin, Bitstamp, MEXC Global, Bittrex, and Bitfinex for operating illegally in India.

The FIU notice stated that any exchange providing services to Indian users must register as a “reporting entity” and submit statements to the income tax department. The FIU proposed that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology block the websites of the mentioned exchanges due to non-compliance.

Although Google’s Play Store blocked the FIU-notified crypto exchanges, they are still available and working for old users with the app installed and on the web.

Related: Apple India blocks Binance, 9 other crypto exchanges weeks after FIU notice

Binance’s Asia-focused X handle posted on the X platform indicating that they are aware of the app blockage in India and assured the safety of Indian users’ accounts and funds after Apple’s delisting.

Following India’s introduction of a 30% crypto tax and a 1% tax deduction on each crypto trade, crypto exchange volumes declined, prompting Indian users to turn to foreign exchanges to evade the high tax rates. The recent move aims to restrict the use of foreign exchanges.

India’s Finance Bill was presented in the budget session of Parliament in January 2022–2023, modifying tax regulations and instituting the 30% tax on cryptocurrency holdings and transfers. Additionally, traders can’t offset losses against profits, and each trading pair is treated separately for tax calculations.

Cointelegraph reached out to Binance and KuCoin for comments but has yet to get feedback at publication.

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