Indian founders working on bitcoin exchanges and traders face a whole gamut of questions every day, ranging from “Will I be arrested?” to “Will my company be shut down?” to “Will my bank accounts be frozen?” Understanding the country’s regulations and navigating the legal roller coaster can be tricky. To illustrate, the following timeline of events pertaining to the country’s stance on regulating bitcoin from the past couple of years is revealing.

In 2018, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced to all its regulated entities, including banks, to cease services to individuals and businesses dealing with bitcoin and other virtual currencies. Following this, in October 2018, the founders of Unocoin were arrested by the Central Crime Branch (CCB) for setting up a kiosk in a mall. The kiosk allowed cash deposits in exchange for bitcoin. Calling it a Bitcoin “ATM” sparked confusion as ATMs need a banking regulator’s approval.

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