Crypto, startup players worry about action on Unocoin

BENGALURU: Police arrests of Unocoin founders Sathvik Viswanath and Harish BV have seen cyrptocurrency avid gamers condemn the arrests and say it's totally unwarranted for the police to take suo-moto motion.

Arguing that cryptocurrencies don't seem to be unlawful, crypto-exchanges worry that the government's move opens the door for extra such unwarranted harassment and closure of operations.

"No customer lost money. No customer was defrauded. Why were arrests made when there were no consumer complaints?" asks Harsh Vakharia, co-founder of startup Etherbit and registered reseller of bitcoin pockets Ledger in India.

Players additionally felt that it could be a case of overreach. "While I am not familiar with the exact laws, I do believe cryptocurrencies have an alegal status in India. Since that is the case, this is not a criminal offence. No fraud took place, so registering it as a criminal offense seems to be an overreaction. If the authorities were concerned, maybe they could have looked at a civil suit, filed a case for not having a proper business licence," says Dana L Coe, CEO of Hong Kong-incorporated bitcoin hardware pockets BitLox.

The startup ecosystem is concerned that this may serve to intimidate founders from exploring new spaces. "Innovation only happens when young startups push the boundaries," says Ravi Gururaj, president of entrepreneur affiliation TiE Bangalore and founder of Qikpod. "Hope authorities will release the entrepreneur once he agrees to ensure his ATM complies with existing ATM regulations. After all, innovators are biased to pushing the boundaries and challenging the status quo."

However, Nasscom member KS Viswanathan says the process is very best. "Due process has to be observed for everything. But we are yet to ascertain all the facts in this case," he mentioned.

The CEO of a cryptocurrency change, who did not need to be named, says shoppers have started asking him for his license and regulatory allow. "I have no such license like a wallet, fintech firm or NBFC. How will I have one? The finance ministry has clearly stated that we are not a regulated sector, meaning customers have to bear the risk of transacting with us," he says.

One of India's largest exchanges Zebpay closed operations this September, after RBI banned banks from supporting crypto bills. There have been experiences that they have got moved to Malta.

Crypto, startup players worry about action on Unocoin Crypto, startup players worry about action on Unocoin Reviewed by Kailash on October 25, 2018 Rating: 5
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