India’s police of the Central Crime Branch have seized the first Indian cryptocurrency ATM belonging to cryptocurrency exchange platform Unocoin. The ATM alongside other valuables including two laptops, Cell phones, a couple of credit cards, passport and Indian Rupees equivalent to $2,500 were confiscated during the raid in the Indian City of Bangalore.
The police unit has stated that the ATM was setup without approval by the relevant authorities. A statement by the police unit read, “The ATM kiosk installed by Unocoin in Bengaluru’s Kempfort Mall has not taken any permission from the state government and is dealing in cryptocurrency outside the remit of the law.”
India’ Central bank ban
Early this year the Indian Central bank banned all registered financial institutions in the country from facilitating cryptocurrency trades. Appeals by cryptocurrencies exchanges in the country to have the high court lift the ban have not been successfully. The highest court in the land has maintained that the ban will still hold despite outcries by stakeholders in the crypto business.
Local financial institutions have complied with the central bank’s regulations prompting Unocoin to install the ATM to serve cryptocurrencies users within the region.
Cryptos are not legal tender but not illegal
Unocoin’s co-founder asserted that the accusations leveled against his firm are unsubstantiated adding that cryptocurrencies are not illegal in the country according to the finance minister. “The [Finance] 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.”
The arrests and assets seizure by the police could derail the exchange’s plans to install more ATM machines in other cities like the nation’s capital Mumbai and Delhi as per its announcement.
According to some reports, Unocoin’s ATM was not actually operational at the time of the seizure, claims that the company has responded to stating that its ATMs were still under trial and that they shall be operational in a week’s time. It is not clear as to whether the Indian authorities will relent on their crackdown against cryptos in the country or it will maintain to give operators a hard time. The latter is likely to affect cryptos adoption in the country.