Indian Police Raid Unocoin Bitcoin ATM In The City Of Bangalore for Illegal Setup
Indian police force has raided an ATM operated by local cryptocurrency exchange Unocoin just weeks after it was set up in the city of Bangalore.
Harish BV, co-founder and chief technology officer of the Unocoin exchange, was arrested on Tuesday as he was operating the ATM which was installed in a shopping mall and exposed on Oct. 14.
Our Machine didn't go well with few mainstream media reports who projected it under a negative light. The machine is still under final testing mode and it will be up and running in the upcoming week. The machine has been temporarily moved from its original place of installation.
— Unocoin (@Unocoin) October 20, 2018
Central Crime Branch sleuths seized a teller machine, two laptops, a mobile, three credit cards, five debit cards, a passport, five seals of Unocoin company, a cryptocurrency device, and Rs. 180,000. After Harish’s arrest, he was presented at the court of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate and was further remanded in police custody for seven days.
The authorities reported that more arrests were likely to happen in the future.
The Bitcoin ATM kiosk which was located on Old Airport Road in Bengaluru was described to be non-operational. It was mainstream media channels which were responsible for projecting the news in a negative manner. According to sources from Unocoin, the machine was still under maintenance and was said to be “up and running soon”.
The machine was temporarily moved from its original place, post the arrest of the Unocoin co-founder. Unocoin was planning to install similar ATMs in Mumbai and Delhi.
According to police, the Bitcoin ATM was a peer-to-peer platform for individuals who wanted to buy or sell Bitcoin. They also requested the public to not invest their money into cryptocurrencies by being enticed into the expectation of making huge profits.
Unocoin co-founder Sathvik Viswanath defended his company’s business model, saying it’s perfectly legal for Indians o buy, own or sell bitcoins.
“We got a lot of bad press after the finance minister announced a ban in Feb 2018. The minister’s statement was clear: Cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in India. He did not say ‘illegal tender’. There’s a huge difference. It means you bear the risk of your investment and there’s no regulation for the industry,” he said.
Notably, in the recent budget speech of 2018-19, Arun Jaitley stated that the government did not consider cryptocurrency assets as a legal tender or coin.
Furthermore, they would take the necessary steps to eradicate the use of cryptocurrency assets for financing illegitimate activities.