‘Crypto’-Nite Moment For India’s First Bitcoin ATM: Co-Founder Held By Bengaluru Central Crime Branch

‘Crypto’-Nite Moment For India’s First Bitcoin ATM: Co-Founder Held By Bengaluru Central Crime BranchBitcoin, world’s foremost cryptocurrency. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Harish BV, a 37-year-old co-founder of Unocoin Technologies based out of Rajajinagar in Bangalore, was arrested by the officials of Central Crime Branch on Tuesday (24 October). He was arrested on charges of running a bitcoin ATM kiosk, without obtaining the necessary approvals from concerned authorities, as reported by the Times of India (TOI).

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Indian’s banking regulator, had barred all banks and other entities from having any links with cryptocurrencies in April 2018. RBI has cited reasons like lack of investor protection, no paper trail left behind and artificial intrinsic value as reasons for this regulation. Also, cryptocurrencies are supposedly being used by terrorists across the world to fund their activities.

The officials of the crime branch are reported to have seized a teller machine, two laptops, a mobile, three credit cards, a cryptocurrency and cash worth Rs 1.8 lakh. The police state that the ATM kiosk was a platform for bitcoin buyers and sellers. “The accused claims he’s running the kiosk for six months. We think he’s misleading us,” a CCB source said.

Cryptocurrencies are uniquely-encrypted digital currencies that function outside the sovereignty of a country's central bank. Since they are not backed by a government, they derive their value only because of implicit trust of the market participants.