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Indian exchange Unocoin co-founder arrested for installing unregistered Crypto ATM

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Indian crypto exchange Unocoin co-founder has been arrested on account of setting up an allegedly unregistered Bitcoin (BTC) ATM machine in Bangalore, as per the Times of India on October 24.

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Harish BV, the 37-year-old co-founder was arrested after having allegedly installed the ATM kiosk at Kemp Fort Mall on Old Airport Road, along with fellow co-founder Sathvik Viswanath.

According to Indian business magazine Business Today (BT), a statement to the press from Central Crime Branch (CCB), claims that the installation of the machine didn’t receive “any permission from the state government and is dealing in cryptocurrency outside the remit of the law.”

Officials from CCB also reported having taken over “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 1.8 Lakh ($2.460).

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As confirmed by various Indian media sources, the ATM in question had not yet been functional ahead of the legal action. Unocoin tweeted on October 20th, “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.”

Reportedly, Harish was presented before an Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) court, which announced a seven days police custody for him and Police stated that “more arrests are likely,” in order to inform the public “not to be lured by the prospect of making huge profits” using crypto.

Unocoin’s Viswanath is quoted by the Times of India with reference to India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s speech 2018-19 budget speech, “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.”

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