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India’s first bitcoin ATM operator Unocoin’s co-founder arrested


Harish BV, a co-founder of virtual currency exchange company Unocoin, that recently got fame for starting India’s first bitcoin ATM in Bengaluru, has been arrested by Central Crime Branch police.

According to police, the ATM kiosk installed a week ago at Kemp Fort Mall on Old Airport Road was illegally operated without getting any approval from the state government.

The ATM in Kempfort Mall reportedly allowed customers to deposit and withdraw a minimum amount of Rs 1,000.

Central Crime Branch has seized the teller machine meant for bitcoin buyers and sellers. Besides, two laptops, a mobile, three credit cards, five debit cards, a passport, five seals of Unocoin company, a cryptocurrency device and Rs 1.8 lakh also recovered by the officials.

Harish, one of the four co-founders of the company was produced before the additional chief metropolitan magistrate court, Bengaluru and sent to judicial custody for seven days. Officials also hinted of more arrest in the case.

According to an ET report, the company is defending itself and saying that the kiosk machine was running for six months. Unocoin in its official statement claimed that the machine is still under final testing mode and it’ll be up and running soon. It has been temporarily moved from its original place of installation.

The crypto company also said that it was operating under the regulatory norms as the Indian government hasn’t declared its illegal. It also blamed Kannada and some English news channel for circulating fake videos against ATM kiosk that led to the seizure.

Unocoin was planning to install similar ATMs in Mumbai and Delhi.

Following the RBI ban for not allowing banks and crypto exchanges to undertake any virtual currency-related transactions, many crypto companies shut their operations.

Some of them had even challenged the banking regulator’s decision and the matter is now dealing by the Supreme Court. However, three months have been passed and the apex court is yet to deliver its final decision on cryptocurrencies future in India.

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