Indian crypto exchange WazirX blocks over 2,400 accounts in 6 months
WazirX, India’s largest crypto exchange by trade volume, has blacklisted over 2,431 accounts between October 2022 and March 2023, based on its internal monitoring process as well as under the direction of law enforcement agencies (LEA).
See related article: India imposes money laundering regulations on crypto industry
- WazirX also received 431 requests from LEAs, for a total transaction volume of US$390 million on the platform, between October 2022 and March 2023, mostly related to account blocking, suspected criminal proceedings, and investigation, the exchange said in its 4th transparency report released on Tuesday. Of these, 46 requests were from foreign LEAs and 385 requests from Indian agencies.
- The exchange saw over 396,000 user interactions during this period, it said in the report.
- WazirX said in its report that it has collaborated with third-party forensic tool service providers such as TRM Labs and Chainalysis for transaction monitoring and investigation.
- WazirX said it reported suspicious transactions when the trading volumes of users did not match individual financial status or income, as well as high-risk user transactions received from third-party forensic tools. The exchange also reported users who did not provide the information or clarifications sought regarding the source of funds or income proof.
- Earlier this month, India took a significant step towards regulating the cryptocurrency industry by expanding the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to include digital assets. Cryptocurrency exchanges, like WazirX, are now required to conduct due diligence on transactions and report suspicious transactions to the authorities.
- India’s Ministry of Finance said earlier this month that the Enforcement Directorate, the country’s financial crime fighting agency, is investigating “several cases” related to cryptocurrencies, under the provisions of PMLA and Foreign Exchange Management Act. So far, proceeds of crime worth about US$115.7 million have been seized while five persons have been arrested under money laundering charges.
- Some of the foreign LEAs that WazirX worked with in the six months include the Toronto Police Department, Police Department Dortmund, New York County District Attorney, among others. Indian LEAs that WazirX worked with include the National Investigation Agency and Enforcement Directorate, among others.
- See related article: Janet Yellen urges strong regulatory framework for crypto as India leads G20 push for regulation