India’s First Bitcoin ATM Impounded by Police, Co-Founder Apprehended

India’s First Bitcoin ATM Impounded by Police, Co-Founder Apprehended

October 24, 2018

The Cybercrime Police Department in Bengaluru has vowed never to allow the country’s first Bitcoin ATM kiosk to see the light of the day.

Last week the crypto exchange Unocoin had launched India’s first Bitcoin ATM in Bengaluru. But yesterday, the authorities confiscated the ATM and detained the exchange’s co-founder Harish BV. Harish has already been produced before the chief metropolitan magistrate court for further questioning, according to sources privy to the matter.

The Bitcoin ATM had not even started functioning as operational upgrades were still in progress.

Apart from the ATM, the Cyber Crime department of the Central Crime Branch (CCB) also seized two laptops, a smartphone, Indian Rupees worth about $2,500, a passport, five debit cards, and three credit cards.

The crypto exchange had installed the ATM solely for their users to deposit and withdraw cash from their crypto wallets. The machine doesn’t allow users to use credit or debit cards as banks aren’t allowed to participate in crypto-related transactions. The country’s central bank said virtual currencies aren’t a legal tender in the country.

Unocoin was to set up more ATMs

Recently, the co-founder and CEO of Unocoin Sathvik Vishwanath revealed that the exchange was planning to set up at least 30 Bitcoin ATMs throughout India.  He maintains that it is completely legal for Indians to purchase and sell cryptocurrencies.

India is one of the countries with an unfriendly attitude towards cryptocurrencies. Early this year, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cracked down on cryptocurrency exchanges and banned banks from dealing with virtual currency traders. It sent a letter to all financial institutions in the country asking them to sever ties with crypto exchanges by the 5th of July.

After RBI imposed its ban on cryptocurrency trading, India-based crypto exchanges like Unocoin, ZebPay, and Koinex shifted their business model to crypto-to-crypto trading to bypass the ban. The exchanges had also taken RBI to the Supreme Court, where the final hearing is still in progress.






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