Coinbase suspends UPI payments in India less than four days after launch

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Crypto giant Coinbase has suspended support for UPI payments instrument on its app in India, making its eponymous exchange non-functional again for any purchase orders less than four days after launching the trading service in the world’s second largest internet market.

Users in India attempting to purchase any token listed on Coinbase app are being informed that the UPI payment method is “currently unavailable.” The app urges users to try another payments method, but currently it doesn’t support any other method for purchase in the country, according to several users.

The move follows a strange statement from the National Payments Corporation of India, the governing body that oversees UPI in the country, which said hours after Coinbase’s India launch that it was not aware of any crypto exchange using UPI payments instrument. Coinbase began testing UPI payments in India several weeks ago.

A Coinbase executive talking about UPI payments in India at the company’s maiden Thursday event. (Image credits: Coinbase)

In a statement later that day, Coinbase said it was committed to working with NPCI and other relevant authorities. TechCrunch had asked Coinbase on Thursday if it planned to continue to support UPI payments while it engaged with various authorities. The company did not respond to the question.

The statement from the payments body, a special division of India’s central bank, underscored why other crypto exchanges in India have had troubles with supporting UPI, the most popular way Indians transact online.

Crypto is not illegal in the South Asian market, but the Reserve Bank of India continues to maintain that virtual digital assets need more scrutiny. India’s Supreme Court overturned the Reserve Bank of India’s ban on crypto over two years ago, but banks, by and large, continue to side with the central bank. The NPCI’s statement appeared to suggest that UPI is still a no-go for crypto in India.

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