India’s Social Welfare Minister Priyank Kharge has reportedly revealed that the Karnataka state government “is working on setting up an Innovation Authority” with the aim “to protect consumer-friendly technology businesses that are operating in regulatory grey areas,” the Economic Times reported.
“Technologies are fast changing and our policies are only trying to catch up,” he told the news outlet on Monday. “Instead of banning a people-friendly business on the grounds that the regulations do not allow it, the Innovation Authority would intervene to come up with a quick policy framework.” The minister elaborated:
For example, bitcoins are traded in restaurants in Bengaluru, and we will need to interact with the government and get a regulatory clarity instead of banning those technologies for which regulations are not yet in place.
Confusion Over Unocoin’s Kiosk
Cementing his point about the need for innovation-friendly policies, Kharge referred to the recent arrests of Unocoin founders, the publication conveyed.
Unocoin, one of India’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, is based in Bengaluru, the capital of Karnataka. Following the crypto banking ban by the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the company placed a machine in a local mall in October to handle fiat deposits and withdrawals for its customers. This machine was originally marketed as a Unocoin ATM but the company soon rebranded it to a kiosk.
The Bengaluru cyber crime department soon seized the machine and arrested the company’s founders, CFO Harish BV and CEO Sathvik Vishwanath. “The detaining was on the accusation that we as a company were not having necessary approvals to set up an ATM,” Unocoin explained in a statement on Tuesday.