“Facebook is openly colonising our payment system and is customising UPI to their benefit. UPI was built as an India Stack, now some American monopoly arm-twists UPI for customer implementation,” Sharma told the Economic Times newspaper.

IndiaStack is a set of codes developed around Aadhaar, which can be used to develop digital solutions.

While India’s entrepreneurial community had almost unanimously supported the opposition to Free Basics in 2015, this time, Sharma received a ton of bricks.

Bipin Preet Singh, CEO of Paytm’s rival, Mobikwik, hit back without naming Sharma.

Singh was not alone. Amrish Rau, CEO of another rival, PayU, took a dig at Sharma.

Kunal Shah, founder and former CEO of e-payments company Freecharge, also disagreed with Sharma, even using yoga guru Ramdev-owned consumer goods company, Patanjali, as an example.

And, as expected, the Indian-vs-outsider line of the debate soon veered towards China’s Alibaba, Paytm’s biggest investor.

Update: In a statement, Deepak Abbot, Paytm’s senior vice president said: “We believe India is an open market that welcomes tech and business innovations from across the world. However, WhatsApp’s UPI payments system is a classic case of a large company with dominating distribution abusing an open platform via custom-implementation to gain undue advantage. We believe this model of making an interoperable identifier invisible affects the core principle of UPI payments.”

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