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India Anticorruption Drive Provides Bitcoin Startups with an Environment to Thrive

Bitcoin is probably the best selling commodity in the Indian market right now. The demand for Bitcoin has soared to record highs in the last couple of days and Bitcoin currently trades at a 35% premium in India in relation to its price in the rest of the world. 1BTC trades for about $985 in India whereas 1BTC trades around $741 in the rest of the world.

Interestingly, the increase in Bitcoin adoption in India is causing cryptocurrency startups to take bolder steps to push their Bitcoin products and services in the country. This piece seeks to explore some of the latest developments in the Indian Bitcoin startup scene.

Unocoin releases Bitcoin mobile wallet for iOS and Android in India

Fresh news out of India’s crytocurrency scene shows that Unocoin has developed and launched a mobile application for its users. Unocoin is one of the leading Bitcoin exchanges in India – the startup provides a platform for buying and selling Bitcoin and it facilitate Bitcoin transactions with mainstream vendors such as Amazon in India.

The mobile wallet that Unocoin launched on iOS and Android provides Indians with an opportunity to sell, buy, send, receive, or store Bitcoin using their smartphones. Unocoin submits that it decided to launch its wallet as a nod to the widespread use of smatrphones in India as well as the impressive adoption of Bitcoin in the country.

Unocoin co-founder, Abhinad Kaseti observes that creating the mobile Bitcoin wallet is strategic because “as of now, there are more than 1 billion Indians who use mobile phones. More than 300 million people use their phones regularly for accessing the Internet. This trend is expected to go up by 56% per year.”

Unocoin is doing a great job of pushing the adoption of Bitcoin in India. Its mission is simply to “Bring Bitcoin to Billions” and the wallet app is a step in the right direction. Some of the features of the wallet includes  messaging, notifications on transaction processes and confirmations, and a 24-hour price gap among other things.

Earlier this year, Unocoin unveiled a point of sale (POS) application that makes its easy for brick and mortal stores to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. Unocoin has also raised some $1.5M during its last founding round in which it was backed by a number of domestic and international investors.

Here’s why Bitcoin is hot in India

Bitcoin is out to displace gold as an alternative asset among Indians. The first reason for the growing love affair between Indians and Bitcoin is the demonetization campaign of the Indian government as part of to curb corruption. The second reason for newfound love between Indians and Bitcoin is the government’s proposed plan to place a ban on gold imports. India is the world’s second biggest market for gold and a ban on gold import automatically forces investors to seek safe haven refuge in Bitcoin.

Unocoin – What is bitcoin? – Telugu

Featured Image Source: Beard Design

Fiat currencies and Banking technology slowly leading to centralization: Is Bitcoin the savior?

Paper currency is a recent man-made or rather bank made concept to facilitate exchange of goods and services. Historically mankind has opted for outright bartering, gold, coins, beads, feathers and finally paper currency for goods and services. Currently, new means of exchange based on technological solutions are slowly replacing fiat currencies. While this might seem positive on the outset, it may lead to a centralized future with central banks in authority. Let’s dive deep into this to see how this is a misleading notion:

How cash is devalued:

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When the economy is facing inflation, Government brings in more money into circulation. This leads to devaluation of the currency but control over the levels of inflation. This process of bringing more money into circulation is ‘Quantitative easing’.  The opposite process where the central banks offer high interest rates for storing money is ‘Quantitative Tightening’. This tactic increases the value and purchasing power of money for a healthy economy. Alternating these tactics, the central banks try to keep a check on inflation levels.

However most of the times, imbalances of these strategies end up hampering the value of the currency and economy. During high levels of inflation, when the state has generated the maximum amount of money, it might not be adequate. While the currency is anyways devalued, the central banks cannot offer interest for money stored with them and hence interest rates go negative. That means public has to pay for keeping their money with the bank which is highly undesirable. This is the current state of affairs with most of the European Union central banks.

Technology is a solution?


At this point, it might appeal that a technological solution to replace paper currency might be an apt solution. But the paper currency we use for various transactions is a drop in the ocean compared to other channels. Over 90% of all economic transfers done are  digital and not in common “cash” currency. Generally wire transfer, debit cards, credit cards, Paypal are used for vast majority of your bill payment and daily purchases.

The problem owing to technology and various mediums of transfers, we are paving way for centralization. By totally relying on technology we are bidding good bye to our privacy. Our card issuing banks have complete access to our personal deals, purchase patterns, history of personal finance. These details can be made available for third parties for marketing and promotions. Banks/the government get complete control over privacy, accounts and access. Everything becomes centralized onto banking/government servers. Tie this together with government monitoring of emails, phone calls, social media and it becomes a web of centralized control. This is undesirable and this motions us for a decentralized solution.

How Bitcoin Fits:


While we are looking at technological solutions to overcome the nightmares of banking strategies, it has to be decentralized. Right from its inception that has been the selling point for Bitcoin. A digital currency that can be transferred over a decentralized network without the presence of a third party. Hence considering how the central banks are slowly edging towards a centralized future for banking, Bitcoin might be our solution to achieve total financial freedom and anonymity.