While the ongoing ban on cryptocurrency in India has been choking the cryptocurrency companies in the country, Unocoin faced some add on troubles when its co-founders, Harish BV and Sathvik Viswanath, were arrested in the case of Bitcoin kiosk (ATM), last October.
Based out of Bengaluru, Unocoin has been tumbling downhill the arrest of its co-founders as the company reportedly installed a Bitcoin ATM without gaining any permission from the authorities. At the time of the arrest, the duo was also facing multiple charges including computer-related charges, conning, and forgery.
While the customers at the kiosk were being asked for PAN ID and bank details by the company, the regulatory stepped in as Indian banks had been strictly banned by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) from allowing any transaction related to virtual currencies. Which landed the Bitcoin ATM in even more troubles.
Before they landed into trouble, the company employed a workforce of over 100 people. As per a recent report from a local financial publishing ET, the current set of events have pushed the firm to lay off more than half of its people, the current number of employees remaining down to a low of 14 employees.
For one the layoff could be attributed to the uncertainty in India around the use of cryptocurrency. When RBI banned local banks from dealing with any person/company involved with crypto transactions, several local cryptocurrency business owners protested against the ruling. However, the hearing for the same is still pending at the Supreme Court of the country, after being deferred to July.
For companies such as Unocoin, this implies that no follow on investment as ROI for investors becomes a sketchy possibility in the segment. Initially, Unocoin minced $1.5 million from Blume Ventures and Bitcoin Capital, but the lack of follow on investment, have made sustaining quite difficult.
Subsequently, the layoff was a suitable option. In India, most business dealing with cryptocurrency had given up on the idea after the RBI ban and the uncertainty around hearing assessing the non-feasibility of the venture. Indian based Crypto Exchange Coindelta has closed its shop citing Inimical Regulatory Conditions.
As for Unocoin, the firm plans to sustain its business until July to live the possibility of a favourable outcome.
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