India's 'Unregulated' Bitcoin Industry is Thriving
The popularity of Bitcoin in India has seen an exponential rise, according to the Hindustantimes. The report details that more users in the region are using the cryptocurrency to pay mobile bills and vouchers for online shopping. With Businesses like Unocoin, Zebpay, and Coinsecure at the helm, the country will continue to get an influx of Bitcoin support.
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India Increasingly Paying Bills & Shopping with Bitcoin
Indian Bitcoin use is growing in the country, and just like Japan, it very well could follow China’s lead in cryptocurrency transactions. At least that’s the goal for many Bitcoin industry executives located within India’s borders. At the present time, there isn’t much regulation throughout the land, and this seems to have brought more prosperous innovation and business building within India’s digital currency sector.
Over the past year, Indian Bitcoin companies are seeing a lot of growth, and they don’t see it slowing anytime soon. The mobile platform Zebpay is one of the businesses watching the cryptocurrency landscape grow in India. Co-founder of Zebpay Sandeep Goenka explains:
Users are increasingly using Zebpay to pay their mobile bills using Bitcoins and to buy vouchers for online shopping. Last month, users paid bills of more than Rs.15 lakh using bitcoins. This number is doubling every month.
Zebpay customers use the application to pay cell phones bills, and the company reimburses the mobile company with rupees. For the user, the process is instant and, at times, it’s easier to obtain a Bitcoin wallet than getting credit or a bank account within the region. This has brought less hassle to citizens rather than going through the process of paperwork and credit checks from banking institutions.
‘Unregulated’ Doesn’t Mean Illegal
Today, the currency is being studied by the Reserve Bank of India, but officials in the country have yet to set up any regulatory policies towards Bitcoin. Zebpay’s co-founder says that because it’s not regulated doesn’t mean it should be seen as contraband.
“Unregulated does not mean it is illegal, just that there are no specific laws for this new technology,” Goenka explained. “It is legal to buy and sell bitcoins under all existing laws.”
With the freedom to build and innovate Zebpay hopes to expand services by the end of the year to cover cable bills, landlines, and electricity for its customers.
Another Bitcoin company in the country watching the cryptocurrency ecosystem flourish is Coinsecure. Founded in 2014 by Benson Samuel and Mohit Kalra, the Indian Bitcoin exchange is a betting on more growth within the country. Over the past year, the cryptocurrency has rallied against the rupee over 100%, further boosting confidence among merchants.
Coinsecure is in the process of making transactions more friendly by recently teaming up with Netki. Alongside this partnership, Samuel says later this year the company will launch a platform that allows their customers to shop directly online with Bitcoin. Samuel gives details of the future project saying:
We will soon be launching our merchant payment gateway this year, which will allow mobile companies or anyone else to accept Bitcoins at zero percent volatility risk. We will be charging one percent transaction cost, instead of 3-4 percent by credit card companies.
The lack of regulation has allowed startups to prosper, and it may take some time for officials to catch up. The Indian government has only recently been monitoring and regulating e-commerce within the country.
The CEO of the exchange platform BTCXIndia, Kamesh Mupparaju, explains the current status of regulatory policy in the region.
“Bitcoin operates on blockchain technology, which is an open ledger and offers full transparency. Flipkart and Ola were also not regulated earlier. It is only recently that the government has regulated e-commerce and defined marketplace. We are also a marketplace,” said Mupparaju.
Another company residing in India is the Bitcoin wallet Unocoin, who also gave remarks on the current situation in India with cryptocurrency markets. Unocoin co-founder and CEO Sathvik Vishwanath told the Indian publication that “Bitcoin works on self-regulation.”
The company has secured about 2,000 mobile payments a month from its customer base and has also seen its numbers spike over the past year. Vishwanath says there are more features to come with Unocoin as well, adding that “In a month’s time we will launch insurance premium, electricity and water bill payments at zero percent transaction cost.”
It seems Bitcoin is prospering quite well in India and industry executives within the region look forward to the continued growth. Citizens are finding it easier to pay cell phone bills, and low transaction costs are quite appealing considering the fees set by traditional institutions. Innovators and leaders in the cryptocurrency space in India hope the trend continues. The goal of catching up to other countries transacting with Bitcoin quite heavily should be easy to attain with its steady rise in popularity.
What do you think about the popularity of Bitcoin in India? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Benson Samuel.com, Pixabay, Coin.dance and Wiki commons