Many Bitcoiners were under the impression that Bitcoin’s prospects in India had been shattered after the premises of Mahim Gupta, buysellbitco.in’s operator, was raided by Ahmedabad Enforcement Directorate (ED) back in December. Buysellbitco.in was an Indian Bitcoin exchange that had roughly $3 million USD in volume before being taken down, they are currently investigating whether or not money laundering was involved. The raid came just a few days after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a warning about Bitcoin to the public. Shortly after the raid and the statement from the RBI, many Indian Exchanges including Unocoin decided to halt operations.
The Bitcoin Alliance of India (BAI) has arisen to champion the cause of the estimated 30,000 Bitcoiners within India’s borders. The BAI is headed by Nishith Desai, a leading lawyer with international presence specializing in International Legal and Tax Counselling, who has advised Unocoin on their actions. India Times recently published this article detailing more about the BAI and its members and their purpose within India. Nishith Desai had this to say over the weekend in response to the RBI.
“Our Bitcoins Practice Group examined the issue from techno-legal perspective and have found that Bitcoins per se are not illegal in India. This is in consonance with international approach. US considers Bitcoins as a legitimate payment alternative. US Senate Home Land Security and Government Affairs Committee and the Senate Banking Committee consider that virtual currency has legitimate uses.”
Indian Bitcoin exchanges have been voluntarily following KYC procedures and have repeatedly stated that they will hand over information to government agencies to aid in AML cases. Unocoin is confident that their adherence to established regulatory practices and KYC/AML laws will keep them from the same fate as buysellbitco.in.
After press conference organized by BAI headed by Mr. Nishith Desai, and after the take-aways of the conference are out to public through media, Mr. Nishith Desai has given us a green signal to start Unocoin operations which will be starting on 6th Jan 2014 when the logins will be enabled and Unocoin wallets will be accessible. Buying and selling of bitcoins will go live from 8th of Jan 2014. CoinMonk Ventures and Unocoin is very thankful to Nishith Desai and their team for being a part of press conference and guiding us through till here
See the original press release here.
Thank you @HighSociety for the tip.