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India’s First Crypto Vending Machine Seized, Unocoin Founder Booked

India's First Crypto Vending Machine Seized, Unocoin Founder Booked 

A leading crypto exchange firm Unocoin, recently announced the launch of crypto ATMs in India. The company had set up a crypto ATM in Bengaluru, the capital of the southern state of Karnataka. It further intended to launch more crypto ATMs across India.

Following the recent hype, the Indian police, on Tuesday, seized the cryptocurrency Vending Machine on the grounds that the ATM was illegal and had been set up without any legal approval from the proper officials.

According to a report by the Times of India (TOI), the Co-founder of Unocoin, Harish BV was arrested for running the Crypto ATM kiosk. He was produced before the court of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate and was ordered to remain in police custody for seven days.

Pinning the “Illegal”

The Central Crime Branch of Karnataka seized a Crypto ATM, smartphone, five debit cards, two laptops, five seals of Unocoin, three debit cards and a passport from the accused. The crime branch also seized a cryptocurrency device worth 180,000 INR, equivalent to $2,456. The CCB said that they are expecting to make more arrests in the future.

The police reported that the Crypto ATM was a P2P platform for Bitcoin traders who wanted to sell or purchase cryptocurrency. They further warned the public against investing into any fraudulent proposals in expectation of making huge profits or returns in digital assets.

Defending the Unocoin business model, the Company’s Co-founder Sathvik Vishwanath stated that it was completely legal for sellers and buyers in India to own Bitcoin. He also added that the firm had been put under a bad light ever since the Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, declared that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in the country.

Sathvik further said that the minister’s statement was clear and he did not mention ‘illegal tender’. “There is a major difference. It actually means that the company has to bear the risk of their investment and there are no regulations for the industry,” he justified.

Digital Currency: A big NO-NO in  India

Arun Jaitley, India’s Finance Minister, in his 2018-19 budget speech, said that the administration does not consider digital currency assets as a legal tender. Further, the authorities will take the necessary measures to end the use of cryptocurrency assets for financing illegitimate tasks.  

Unocoin further stated that the Cryptocurrency ATM set up on Old Airport Road in Bengaluru was not operational. It was media reports that were responsible for presenting the news in a cold manner. The ATM machine was still under final testing mode and was supposed to be up and running soon.

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Supriya Saxena (Senior Correspondent)