In a surprising move, Indian cryptocurrency exchange WazirX has wound up its NFT marketplace operations. The announcement has led to a flurry of reactions on social media, with some accusing the company of a rug-pull. However, the CEO, Nischal Shetty, has clarified that NFTs are always under self-custody, which means that users have complete control over their assets.
The WazirX NFT marketplace, which was launched in June 2021, has created a buzz in the Indian NFT market. Other India-focused NFT platforms also followed suit, with some being able to get top film stars to mint their NFTs. The market appeared to be taking off for greater heights, with film stars and cricket personalities, in particular, jumping on the NFT bandwagon.
However, a prolonged bear market and unfriendly regulatory environment seem to have hit the crypto subsector hard. Despite creating a “safe and secure” marketplace, WazirX’s NFT business “did not gain much traction,” according to a statement on its site. The company has sunsetted its NFT marketplace with immediate effect, and users are directed to trade their NFTs on OpenSea.
The WazirX NFT marketplace’s sudden closure has sparked concerns among its users and the wider Indian NFT market. A report by Inc42 revealed that there were 52,253 WazirX NFT items on sale on OpenSea. Some Twitter users complained about the zero-notice closure and termed it a “rug-pull,” causing confusion and uncertainty in the market.
In response to the accusations, WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty clarified that NFTs have always been under the self-custody of those participating. This means that the owners have complete control over their assets and can continue to hold their NFTs in their wallets, which can be sold in other marketplaces such as OpenSea.
The sudden closure of WazirX’s NFT marketplace has not only affected its users but also raised questions about the Indian NFT market’s future. A technology consultancy firm, Deloitte, predicted that the Indian sports and entertainment NFT market would grow to $1 billion in the near future. The global sports NFT trade is also expected to cross $2 billion in 2022.
With more than 500 million cricket fans in India and Bollywood’s massive popularity, an NFT marketplace for just cinema and sports in India has the potential to cross $1 billion in value in the near future, according to the Deloitte report. This means that there is still potential for growth in the Indian NFT market, despite the challenges it faces.
In conclusion, the sudden closure of WazirX’s NFT marketplace has caused shockwaves in the Indian NFT market. However, it’s important to note that NFTs are always under self-custody, and owners have complete control over their assets. The Indian NFT market still has the potential for growth, and it will be interesting to see how other India-focused NFT platforms navigate the challenges of the market.