About Unocoin: Among the Early Cryptocurrency Exchanges in India

Unocoin is among the inaugural players in India’s bitcoin and crypto space. Established in July 2013, Unocoin was founded by Sathvik Vishwanath, Abhinand Kaseti, Sunny Ray and Harish BV with a mission “to bring Bitcoin to the billions”, and it does so by offering a diverse range of services which facilitates Indians to buy, sell, store and use Bitcoin. The current CEO of the company is Sathvik Vishwanath. He is also the co-founder of Coinmonk, another prominent company in the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain.

The Unocoin story began when Sunny Ray, a Canadian native and co-founder of Unocoin, driven by sheer intrigue for Bitcoin, launched a blog site called “Unocoin” (Uno, derived from the Spanish word meaning “one”). A pivotal moment unfolded when Sunny, at a community gathering in Bangalore, encountered Sathvik Vishwanath, a tech enthusiast deeply immersed in cryptocurrencies. Their mutual enthusiasm and congruent visions paved the way for the inception of India’s inaugural cryptocurrency exchange. 

Over 30 prominent investors from various countries globally contributed to raising $1.5 million for Unocoin, positioning it as the most substantial cryptocurrency endeavor in Indian history. Mainly Unocoin operates in India only, but it also aims to reach the top global markets too. 

The path that was paved by Unocoin was full of challenges as well as milestones. Despite the various regulatory uncertainties in India related to cryptocurrency, Unocoin has always aimed to cater to the growing interests in cryptocurrency in India. During the bull run of Bitcoin in 2017, Unocoin saw a huge surge and very rapid growth in its user base. This was due to the surge in interest in cryptocurrencies globally. But then there was the RBI too which issued different directives which restricted the banks from providing services to cryptocurrency exchanges. This impacted Unocoin’s operations and led to various legal battles. 

The company had also set up a Bitcoin ATM in 2018, which was the first of its kind in the country. But the machine had to be removed due to legal hurdles. By that time Unocoin had already closed deals with almost 45 different banks and had started to enable users to recharge their BookMyShow wallets, mobile phones, or DTH subscriptions using cryptocurrencies.

Initially, the team advocated Bitcoin as a viable payment method for both individuals and merchants. However, challenges such as time disparities and market volatility emerged as significant barriers. Consequently, they introduced an auto-sell feature, which generates a distinct Bitcoin deposit address. This address automatically sells the Bitcoin and transfers the proceeds in rupees to the user’s bank account, regardless of the time of day.

India’s crypto exchanges faced a difficult time when Indian traders lost access to mainstream banks for depositing or withdrawing funds to and from crypto exchanges. Things have since taken a turn, especially after a host of foreign crypto exchange apps were banned from fresh downloads in India and regulatory issues pressed.

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