Just one week ago, Indian officials arrested the co-founder of an Indian cryptocurrency exchange, Unocoin, for operating a Bitcoin ATM kiosk which the police called “illegal”. One of Unocoin’s co-founders has now given a recount of his arrest in a recent interview.

The Unocoin co-founder’s arrests were largely publicized and was seen by many as the Indian government’s way of flexing their muscles against the cryptocurrency industry, which they have been at war with since they first barred crypto exchanges from engaging in banking relationships earlier this year.

On October 23, Harish BV, one of the co-founders, was arrested at the Kemp Fort Mall in the southern city of Bengaluru just a week after Unocoin had installed, what it has advertised as, India’s first-ever Bitcoin ATM. Harish was working on the ATM and making sure that all the systems were flawless and fully operational before it went live.

Indian Government Not Wanting Exchanges to Bypass Ban Via Bitcoin ATMs

The ATM was unique in that it was meant to be a fiat gateway for Indian cryptocurrency investors looking to trade cryptocurrencies, as they could deposit funds that could in turn be used to trade cryptocurrency on the Unocoin platform. Users would also be given the opportunity to withdraw funds from their account.

Harish said that the operational tests and upgrades were in their final stages when police entered the mall and took him in for questioning. After questioning, they took him into custody, claiming that the ATM had violated Indian law as it lacked the required approvals.

The next day, Sathvik Vishwanath, another Unocoin co-founder, was also arrested by the police.

The kiosk cleverly exploited a loophole in the government’s so-called “cryptocurrency ban”, as it allowed investors to deposit and withdraw funds by removing the banking middle-man. The arrests were likely the governments way of saying that they will not tolerate exchanges utilizing any loopholes to bypass the banking relations ban.

After posting bail, Vishwanath recounted the situation to Quartz India, saying:

“I knew this was coming after Harish was charged. I was at home that morning, trying to figure out what needs to be done to get Harish out of police custody, when the officials came to my house. They took me for questioning and later I was also charged and sent to judicial custody.”

He also noted that the police had unfoundedly accused his exchange of duping customers, saying that he had “promised 2x returns” and was “trying to cheat customers”. Vishwanath noted that his exchange has never made any such promises to their clients, and that they have never received a complaint regarding anything of the sort.

The police’s cybercrime department also spoke about the arrests, saying that the exchange had not received permission from the state government to operate the kiosk, and further noted that they were operating “outside the remit of the law”.

Swaroop Anand, the lawyer representing the Unocoin co-founders, spoke about why the government’s actions were not justified, saying that the mall in which the kiosk was located would have already received the necessary approval and licensing to hold a kiosk of this sort.

“It is a kiosk that is being set inside the mall and the mall would have had already taken trade permissions. Therefore, there was no need for Unocoin to take any other permission and there had not been any violation of licence requirements.”

It still remains to be seen whether or not the police will begin arresting other cryptocurrency exchange executives on baseless charges in an effort to censor the industry.

This post credited to News BTC  Image source: News BTC

While the number of people who want to use Bitcoin or Ethereum for their daily purchases is growing, one of the most confusing aspects for beginners is still how to actually buy and sell crypto. Online peer-to-peer exchanges may look questionable or too complicated for some users. Purchasing altcoins may be even more complicated – in order to buy many of them, users have to purchase major cryptocurrencies first.

Netcoins Inc. is one of the companies that aims to offer a solution for those who prefer to buy Bitcoin and altcoins from a trusted source, rather than online. The team is creating a new opportunity for altcoins to get into the physical retail marketplace, allowing users to buy crypto instantly for fiat with cash, debit, or credit card.

How it works

Netcoins, a company based in Vancouver, BC, Canada, has a global retail network of 170,000 locations in 53 countries across six continents, where people can easily walk into a store to buy Bitcoin and altcoins with fiat.

The company says, these 170,000 stores open up the purchase of coins to the average person right in their own neighborhood, without the potential headaches of signing on with an exchange.

Most of the stores sell vouchers which can then be redeemed online, on the Netcoins website, for crypto. In some locations, Netcoins operates its own virtual crypto ATM software that allows retailers to sell a wide variety of cryptocurrencies. “We turn any device like a tablet or laptop into a virtual crypto ATM, so that consumers can buy crypto easily in a familiar retail setting,” the company says.

Any retailer that has a checkout can host Netcoins’ virtual crypto ATM software. It can be a supermarket, an electronic or beauty store – virtually anywhere where customers make purchases. The only thing required by the customer is an email address and a small convenience fee, which the retailer shares with Netcoins.

“The customers don’t need to understand anything more about cryptocurrency,” said Mark Binns, Netcoins’ CEO and director. Customers don’t even necessarily need to have a digital wallet. The software can create a blockchain wallet for them automatically. Netcoins’ software engine also provides real-time quoting, exchange options, instant ordering, and automated invoicing. The app can run on a browser from any internet-connected device.

Altcoin potential

Netcoins has been working in the cryptocurrency market for four years. The company believes that its platform can make cryptocurrencies more popular for the 95 percent of the population that is still not familiar with the crypto market.

The team also hopes their solution will help altcoins overcome the issues they currently have. Though the usage of altcoins is growing, Bitcoin and Ethereum are still the dominant cryptocurrencies for transactions.

Besides the problems with mass adoption, it may also be very expensive for altcoins to get listed on many traditional exchanges. Netcoins recently ran a special coin listing contest where users could nominate and vote for their favorite altcoin. 83 coins were nominated and the cryptocurrency Steem took home the top prize. They will get a free listing worth $30,000 on Netcoins’ platform. In just the last few months, Netcoins has increased the number of coins available on its platform from 2 to 17.

The Netcoins team believes in the potential of altcoins. “We allow altcoins to gain exposure in a retail environment and make it available for the average consumer, saving the need for a traditional exchange account” —  the company says. In 2018, Netcoins listed 13 paid altcoins on its LAAS (Listing As A Service) business model for coin listings.

 

This post credited to cointelegraph  Image source: Cointelegraph 

A deal between a traditional ATM manufacturer and a cryptocurrency vending machine firm will make it possible to buy bitcoin at tens of thousands of locations in the United States using a debit card.

Bitcoin ATM firm LibertyX and regular ATM manufacturer Genmega have forged a partnership which will make it possible to purchase bitcoin using a debit card at up to 100,000 locations in the United States.

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LibertyX@libertyx

1/2 Excited to partner with & launch America’s first bitcoin debit ATM. We launched the first bitcoin cash ATM in 2014 & now are bringing you another first! ATM operators, learn how to earn $$$ by adding bitcoin to your ATM at the Genmega booth @NACAssociation

However, since Genmega caters largely to the independent ATM deployers, adding the bitcoin-buying feature at the ATMs will depend on the willingness of the operators to offer the service. After making an application all that will be required will be a software upgrade in order to allow users to purchase bitcoin from the vending machine and have it sent to their cryptocurrency wallet.

Ease of Use

The development will be a boon to new users especially since the purchasing process of bitcoin from the ATMs is not very different from withdrawing cash from a vending machine. According to LibertyX, making cryptocurrency vending machines user-friendly has been a top priority for the Bitcoin ATM firm since it was founded.

“We have been working tirelessly to make it easier to buy cryptocurrencies for the last five years and now are bringing simplicity, convenience and trust to the cryptocurrency purchasing experience,” said Chris Yim, the co-founder and CEO of LibertyX, in a statement.

Currently, the number of bitcoin ATMs in the United States is nearly 2330, which is the highest in the world, with major urban areas such as Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, and New York leading in coverage with more than 100 vending machines in each city. The United States is also home to Genesis Coin Inc, the world’s leading bitcoin ATM manufacturer with a market share of more than 32%, according to Coin ATM Radar.

U.S. Dominance to Continue

Various factors have contributed to the United States being the leader with regards to Bitcoin ATM coverage and this includes the high level of cryptocurrency awareness and adoption. A recent market research report has indicated that this will continue to be the case in the foreseeable future.

“The US is expected to continue to dominate the crypto ATM market during the forecast period owing to the presence of a large number of crypto ATM hardware and software providers and favorable investment environment (without any legal barriers),” a crypto ATM market research report released in August recently stated as CCN reported.

Though it remains to be seen what portion of the 100,000 Genmega ATMs will adopt the bitcoin-purchasing feature, even a small percentage would greatly increase the number of Bitcoin ATMs not just in the United States but globally. At the moment the number of Bitcoin ATMs in the world is a little over 3,800 with an average of 5.58 bitcoin ATMs being added daily.

This post credited to ccn Image from Shutterstock.

Indonesian point-of-sale (POS) terminal maker Pundi X Labs (Pundi X) has struck a distribution deal with Brazilian company BitCapital to have 1,000 of its XPOS device distributed in retail outlets across the South American country, the startup saidearlier this week.

Ricardo Guimaraes Filho, founder of BitCapital, and Zac Cheah, CEO and co-founder of Pundi X Labs
Ricardo Guimaraes Filho, founder of BitCapital, and Zac Cheah, CEO and co-founder of Pundi X Labs

The partnership, formed just a few weeks after the establishment of Pundi X’s South American headquarters in Sao Paulo, is the second distribution deal it signed in the continent. Another 1,000 XPOS are expected to be rolled out across Colombiaover a six-month period by distribution partner Manticora Capital, a Colombian investment fund.

In recent years, political instability and economic turmoil in countries across South America have undermined trust in local currencies and prompted citizens to turn to cryptocurrencies as a more stable store of value and means of transaction.

In Venezuela, where inflation is set to hit 1,000,000% this year, cryptocurrency has rising in popularity among locals with some 200 merchants signing up to accept Dash and thousands of wallet downloads per month, according to Ryan Taylor, CEO of the Dash Core Group.

Countries such as Argentina and Brazil too have become fast adopters of cryptocurrencies. Buenos Aires is listed as one of the top ten countries in the world leading bitcoin adoption. The city has 130 merchants accepting the cryptocurrency and one bitcoin ATM installed.

“In a region fast gaining a reputation as a center for cryptocurrency to enter, the Brazilian market is an ideal point of entry and the demand from merchants has validated our expansion strategy into South America,” said Zac Cheah, CEO and co-founder of Pundi X.

“BitCapital is the ideal partner for our debut in Brazil. Not content to be an OTC leader in a market of global significance they are looking to take on banks and deliver a new payments solution.”

In partnership with big players, BitCapital’s goal is to become a crypto-friendly bank and provide infrastructure-as-a-service. The company is currently developing a payments infrastructure network that aims to make crypto-to-fiat transactions as frictionless as possible.

Founder Ricardo Guimaraes Filho believes easy and convenient solutions like the Pundi X POS will help increase cryptocurrency adoption.

“Brazil and Sao Paulo lead on every metric when it comes to traditional finance and tech in South America. Yet, crypto lags unaccountably behind,” he said.

Pundi X’s POS terminal, called Pundi XPOS, allows retailers to accept cryptocurrency payments. XPOS supports blockchain-based transactions, mobile wallets including Alipay and WeChat Pay, as well as payment cards. All Pundi X devices are connected to the Ethereum and NEM blockchain.

The Indonesian startup’s entrance into the South American market is part of a massive global expansion plan and follows similar deals with partners in South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The startup is aiming to have up to 100,000 XPOS devices installed throughout Southeast Asia by 2021.

 

This post is credited to Coinjournal  Image source: coinjournal

Walk into a Prague subway station and chances are you’ll see an ATM. But you don’t need a debit card or even a bank account to use this machine. This is a cryptocurrency ATM. It’s the physical manifestation of a set of virtual currencies that have leapt out of the shadows of the underground to the mainstream of global finance. And it’s over these ATMs that the latest race in the cryptosphere is unfolding.

From Detroit to Delhi, and Santiago to Split, cryptocurrency ATMs are popping up around the world, catering to an interest that has been tempered by a crash in Bitcoin valuations this year. The first such ATM opened in 2013 at Waves coffee shop in Vancouver, British Columbia. Now, just five years later, more than 3,000 cryptocurrency ATMs populate train stations, factories, delis, hookah bars, tattoo shops, pubs and even pet clinics. These ATMs allow users to withdraw cash or cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum. And crypto kingpins are now duking it out for control of that exploding market.

Crypto ATMs are now the only way I can have a functioning economy.

Yoshi Livo, entrepreneur and crypto promoter

Czech firm General Bytes, which has set up the machines in Prague, claims it has sold more than 1,700 cryptocurrency ATMs, in 53 countries, since 2014. EasyBit, a pioneer in the field, started in 2013, and has developed four machine models, selling more than 60 ATMs on four continents. An early-mover advantage has helped both firms spread out geographically. But while scale is their biggest ally, others are trying to make their mark with more sophisticated technology. Vault Logic, which is currently in its beta launch phase, is deploying so-called smart ATMs that allow users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies for global cash, and uses an operating system to accept third-party apps. This allows it to both sell cryptocurrencies for cash and offer additional services such as paying bills or topping up prepaid mobiles. Vault Logic has placed 10 prototype ATMs in high-profile Bitcoin “embassies” — spaces built to introduce more people to crypto technology — and more traditional venues such as downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, and the headquarters of internet retailer Overstock.com in Salt Lake City.

A Bitcoin ATM in Hong Kong.

Source Jean-Michel Clajot/Redux

For those keen to steer clear of formal banking, this fast-expanding network of cryptocurrency ATMs is a godsend — allowing them to straddle the economics of virtual currencies with the reality of a world still dependent on fiat money.

“Crypto ATMs are now the only way I can have a functioning economy,” says Yoshi Livo, an entrepreneur and crypto promoter.

The growing spread of these ATMs is rooted in the increasing recognition of both the possibilities — and challenges — that these cryptocurrencies represent. Invented in 2008, Bitcoin started out as an internet-based currency to subvert traditional monetary structures. Early adopters saw cryptocurrencies as a way to operate outside of the global banking system given that transfers of funds could be made anonymously end to end.

Then came the steep rise and equally sharp fall. According to the cryptocurrency site CoinDesk, the price for Bitcoin jumped from $997.69 on Jan. 1, 2017, to $13,860.14 by Dec. 31 of that year. Then the price crashed, and is currently $6,363. Its rise and its still-high value made many investors warm up to the idea of cryptocurrencies. But few investors like the idea of purchasing cryptocurrency and being unable to exchange it for cash. This need paved the way for the Bitcoin ATM, say experts.

Mike Dupree, CEO of EasyBit, says he is targeting a customer base that’s already a part of the crypto ecosystem. He concedes that building customers outside of the crypto community is a challenge. There’s inadequate understanding of how it all works, and some struggle with the idea of interfacing with a decentralized, nonreversible currency like Bitcoin, he says. But the biggest barrier to expanding quickly in the U.S. is a banking environment that is at best uncertain for internet-based currencies.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has released a warning against cryptocurrencies. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has allowed public trading of crypto derivatives, but these rules could always change. Furthermore, the Financial Stability Oversight Council has articulated concerns that cryptocurrencies could be used for money laundering.

SatoshiPoint installed one of the first Bitcoin ATMs at Nincomsoup café in London.

The tumble crypto markets have taken over the past year hasn’t helped. Investors in cryptocurrency ATMs will have to successfully allay those fears to expand the crypto ecosystem, suggests Dupree.

But these risks aren’t stopping challengers from attempting innovative ways to take on the larger ATM manufacturers. Vault Logic CEO Doug Scribner says the current use of prototype ATMs at carefully selected locations is aimed at building excitement and recognition for his emerging brand.

Dupree also says he doesn’t worry too much about crypto skeptics. “The beauty of cryptocurrencies is that you don’t have to trust a financial institution to back your wealth,” he says. “Decentralization is the future, and regulation will eventually fall in line.”

Ultimately, Livo and others like him — who prefer staying off the grid of formal financial institutions — want just that: a world where they don’t need to interact with traditional currencies at all. But until the rest of the world believes that too, they will need to exchange cryptocurrencies for cold, hard, fiat cash. And for that, they’ll need the ATMs.

News Credit : Ozy