Bengaluru: Another co-founder of cryptocurrency firm Unocoin Technologies was arrested on Wednesday for setting up India’s first bitcoin ATM kiosk in the city without taking the necessary approvals.
The arrest of Sathvik Vishwanath, 32, followed the arrest of Harish BV, the other co-founder of the firm, on Tuesday. During the arrest, Gupta’s laptop and mobile phone were seized by the police.
“The accused in order to earn money had joined hands with the other accused and set up these kiosks illegally, thereby duping the public,” a police officer said.
The ATM kiosk at Kemp Fort Mall on Old Airport Road was also seized.
After the police action on Tuesday, Viswanath had defended his company’s business model, saying it’s perfectly legal for Indians to buy, own or sell bitcoins.
In February, the Union government gave directions to prevent banks from trading in cryptocurrency. However, Unocoin Technologies Private Ltd went ahead and set up India’s first ATM kiosk to trade in cryptocurrencies in Bengaluru.
In defence to the move, Vishwanath had said in a statement mentioned on the official website that the notice issued by the finance ministry on cryptocurrencies does not talk about “the legality of cryptocurrencies as such and hence the legality status of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies in India remain unchanged. This decision of RBI was more in line with its earlier statements on the risk associated with the cryptos.”
Unocoin’s automated teller machine was the first-of-its-kind in the country. It has both a trading and exchange platform and allowed verified customers to use the device. The kiosk was accessible only to the registered customers of Unocoin.
Customers were able to buy or sell up to 10 Bitcoins a day. However, all transactions were made in Indian rupees only, after which they could be exchanged into a currency of the consumer's choice.