The brand announces freedom from legal hassles
Unocoin, India’s leading bitcoin company, is on a celebration spree as the High Court has dismissed the long-pending FIR against the brand. ‘The ATM-kiosk branding mistake’ case which had been going around since 2018 against the co-founders of the firm, Mr. Sathvik Vishwanath, CEO, Unocoin, and Mr. Harish B V, the COO, Unocoin was recently resolved on 8th February 2021 post the High Court’s verdict in favor of the organization.
It all started in mid-October 2018 when a snap of Unocoin’s kiosk went viral on social media for all the wrong reasons. Post this, various key media firms also ran stories on this incident and the brand. By the end of the month, the organization and this event were all over the news and buzz had been generated everywhere especially in the crypto community industry.
Mr. Harish was soon detained unexpectedly after a few days and was under inquiry by the Cyber Crime Department, Bangalore. The matter all narrowed down to the claim that the brand did not have the necessary approvals for setting up of the ATM kiosk.
However, initially branding the kiosk as ATM, was an honest and genuine mistake by the brand and led to the rising of confusion. While, it was soon rebranded to a kiosk, it was too late and the damage had already been done. The increased media coverage on the legality of cryptocurrencies in India further added fuel to the arising of various unfortunate events with reference to this kiosk situation.
Mr. Sathvik was also arrested on the same accusations as of Mr. Harish thereby deteriorating the condition for the brand. While the Cyber Crime Department were adamant on their statement that ‘the installation of the ATM kiosk by Unocoin at Kemp Fort Mall did not happen post the required permission from the state government and was dealing in cryptocurrency outside the remit of the law’; Unocoin remained firm on their stance that ‘the ATM kiosk installed by Unocoin was inside the mall and no assent is required in such a scenario to run a kiosk’. The brand was strongly imposing the fact that there was no violation of the law.
The organization had approached the High Court of Karnataka and had appealed that the charges pressed against them are baseless and invalid. Being involved in the legal hassles, the brand continued extending the best foot forward to clarify their position and validate their statement. The hard work finally paid off in February 2021 with the High Court’s verdict of dismissal of the case and declaration of the FIR to be invalid.
Expressing his contentment over the dismissal of charges, Mr. Sathvik Vishwanath, CEO, Unocoin, said, “we are elated that we have finally emerged victorious. This legal mishap was no less than a war and having cleared our stance feels like attaining victory. What all started as a mere confusion led to major disruptions and gave way to legal proceedings. However, we are glad that we had the support of our well-wishers and have been able to finally sail through the tough times after almost one and a half years. Things have settled now and it’s crystal clear that we did not violate any laws. Having said this, we will continue to serve the best to our customers and work towards the upliftment of the crypto community. We are very much a part of this industry and do not possess any ill intention of posing any threat to the sector. We sincerely extend our gratitude to all those who supported us during our low times. We will now work whole-heartedly towards the goals for the new year with a clear mind and focus.’’
The kiosk was set up with an aim to allow the customers to deposit or withdraw money to their Unocoin account which could further be used to sell or buy cryptocurrencies from their website or app. The ATM dealt with only cash transactions and wasn’t connected with any banking firm. Being a private entity, Unocoin claimed that there was no need for an approval system in place. With the High Court’s decision, the truth is finally out and the brand is on seventh heaven on being proved not guilty.