India: Bitcoin Exchange Unocoin Laying Off Employees
Unocoin which was once the 2nd biggest Bitcoin exchange in the country with millions in month transaction turnover is reportedly laying off about half of it's workforce.
The uncertainty in the cryptocurrency in the industry has hit the company very hard. In order to conserve cash to keep it's business running, the Bangalore based company has had to take a difficult step in this direction.
In the past the co-founders were arrested over cash kiosk installed by them which was wrongfully reported by the media as a Bitcoin ATM including ET which broke the story on it's layoffs. You can read my report on that incident here.
The startup, founded in 2013 by Sathvik Viswanath, Harish BV, Abhinand Kaseti and Sunny Ray, scaled down its team to just 14 employees last week from a peak of a little more than 100 people in February last year.
As we know, the Indian Supreme Court has been constantly delaying the RBI vs cryptocurrency matter and the recent delay has been due to the request of the Indian government asking them to set a new date after the elections to deal with the regulatory aspect of it.
“We did ask people to leave last week, but our operations will continue for the foreseeable future. We have some amount of reserves to push through for the next couple of months and will wait for the Supreme Court’s verdict,” Sathvik Vishwanath, CEO of Unocoin, told ET.
Unocoin had raised about 10 Cr or $1.5 million from investors such as Blume Ventures and Bitcoin Capital to expand it's reach and continue developments. But due to the controversy surrounding its ATM and arrest of it's cofounders it was clearly unable to scale up.
The Bangalore based exchange did not enter the P2P market which was an opportunity wasted and choose to wait for the regulations to change in favour of cryptocurrencies which in our market and political environment is sadly hard to predict.
Investments in the blockchain sector through venture capital and ICOs have been on the lower side. Overall this is not a positive indication for the crypto industry in India. However, in light of lack of any regulations there's not much else that can be done here.
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