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Digital currency of bitcoins on the rise in India

By RANGOLI AGARWAL, 15 SEPTEMBER 2015

Picture courtesy: CoinSecure

The use of bitcoins in India is steadily on the rise with 10 percent of users being from Bangalore according to one of India’s biggest bitcoin wallets.

Crypto currency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security. Bitcoin is one such digital currency operated by a decentralized authority that was created in 2009.

Bitcoins are 21 million secure mathematical tokens that can be purchased using paper money or cards for buying and selling, trading and availing services online. A bitcoin can be divided into eight decimal places.

“The rate of bitcoin use is increasing day by day not only as payment currency, also as technology. So a lot of people are exploring bitcoins and trying to understand the fundamentals to use it as a tool in IT industries like Infosys,” said Vikram Nikkam, a founding member of Unocoin, currently working in BTCx India.

There is a slow adoption of bitcoins by merchants as there are not many users in India who are willing to pay virtually, said Sathvik, CEO of Unocoin. There are about 50 businesses in India who are accepting bitcoins for their products and services, he added.

Unocoin is a bitcoin exchange based in Bangalore. It allows buying and selling of bitcoin. It stores bitcoin securely in a Unocoin wallet or vault. It also allows its clients to accept bitcoin from other customers around the world.

“Banks and all big IT companies like Microsoft are looking into this technology,” said Benson Samuel, founder of CoinSecure. “This technology, though difficult to regulate, can bring a paradigm shift to our economy. A lot of things are yet to be explored but it has a capacity to bring a revolution all over the world.” CoinSecure is another bitcoin exchange in Bangalore.

“We have users from remote areas of India,” said Sandeep Goenka, co-founder of Zebpay, a bitcoin company that has 50% of its customers from India. “Bitcoin is a great store of value, and the value is increasing rapidly. I believe Bitcoin adoption in the world and in India will be as big as the adoption of the Internet, the smartphone, e-commerce and so on.”

India is witnessing a shift to bitcoins because it is cheaper to use, free from credit card charges, have no delays in clearing payments and charge backs. Bitcoin transaction is instant value transfer which means that your money cannot be reversed by a credit card company after two months of the sale and shipping. It is also an easy and safe asset which can be liquidated instantly, said Vikram Nikkam.

Bitcoins is a transparent system of money not governed by authorities and this attracted Saifur Rahman Mohsin, a bitcoin user in Bangalore. He believes that the security here is done by trustable encryption i.e. the SHA256 algorithm which is proven to be highly secure.

“Bitcoin is a peer to peer technology. No data is stored in a centralized place, so it is hard to access the entire data in one go,” said Aman Kaushal, another bit coin user.

“As crypto currency is not bound by any markets or market forces, the price is irrelevant of any country having a slow down or any war happening. The only factor which affects its price is the demand and supply equilibrium,” Aman added.
Bitcoins are very difficult to regulate and there are currently no laws related to it.

“The RBI seems to be adopting a wait and watch approach to bitcoins,” said Vipul Kharbanda, a cyber-lawyer.

“Regulation of bitcoins is obviously difficult due to the inherent distributed nature of the technology. It’s a fact that a lot of people are looking at the blockchain technology itself and trying to come up with ways to use that in the existing financial system to make our current payment systems better.”

 

 
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