Indian Police Seize ATM Run By Crypto Exchange Unocoin

Police in the Indian city of Bangalore have seized an ATM just weeks after it was set up by crypto exchange Unocoin.

Oct 24, 2018 at 6:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:31 a.m. UTC

Police in the Indian city of Bangalore have seized an ATM just weeks after it was set up by local cryptocurrency exchange Unocoin.

The Times of India said in a news report on Wednesday that Harish BV, co-founder and chief technology officer of the Unocoin exchange, was arrested on Tuesday while attending to the crypto ATM, which was installed in a shopping mall and revealed on Oct. 14.

According to the report, the Central Crime Branch of the local police force seized the ATM, two laptops, a mobile, three credit cards, five debit cards, a passport and Indian rupees worth about $2,500.

Unocoin is one of several cryptocurrency exchanges in India that have so-far survived a bank ban issued early this year by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country's central banking authority.

As domestic banks stopped offering financial services to cryptocurrency exchanges, Unocoin launched the ATM to allow investors to directly deposit Indian rupees to their accounts with the exchange. The company said last week it was planning to open several more ATMs in Mumbai and Delhi.

Yet, the police claimed Unocoin is not authorized to operate this type of ATM.

In another news report from Bangalore Mirror on Wednesday, Alok Kumar, a commissioner from the Bangalore city police was quoted as saying that Unocoin did not have a license from the RBI, the Securities and Exchange Board of India "or any other agency" allowing it to carry out bitcoin transactions.

"They were running it without obtaining any trade license from the BBMP [Bangalore government]," he said.

However, Unocoin's co-founder and CEO Sathvik Viswanath, denied this accusation, saying in the Times of India report.

"The [Finance] 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."

Unocoin has not responded to CoinDesk's request for further comment on the issue.

Police car image via Shutterstock

The Festival for the Decentralized World
Thursday - Sunday, June 9-12, 2022
Austin, Texas
Save a Seat Now

DISCLOSURE

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Trending

1
First Mover Asia: USDC Hasn’t ‘Flippened’ USDT, but Trader Preferences Are Changing; Cryptos Rise Despite Bearishness

A Glassnode analyst suggests the collapse of the UST token has triggered a change in investors' stablecoin preferences; bitcoin holds above $30,000.

A Glassnode analyst suggests the collapse of the UST token has triggered a change in investors' stablecoin preferences; bitcoin holds above $30,000.

2
Musk Sets New Condition for Twitter, Citi Says Terra’s Fallout Unlikely to Hit Wider Financial System

The most valuable crypto stories for Tuesday, May 17, 2022.

The most valuable crypto stories for Tuesday, May 17, 2022.

3
Market Wrap: Cryptos and Stocks Mixed Amid Bearish Sentiment

BTC is stabilizing around $30K while stock market volatility begins to fade.

BTC is stabilizing around $30K while stock market volatility begins to fade.

4
New Data Shows Underground Bitcoin Mining Thriving in China

The U.S. has also expanded its lead in the global hashrate competition.

The U.S. has also expanded its lead in the global hashrate competition.