Kvě 31

India Could ‘Legalize’ Bitcoin Next As Public Calls for Regulation

· May 31, 2017 · 10:00 am

India could legalize Bitcoin in the near future as feedback from citizens and businesses appears to be in support of regulating virtual currencies.


India’s Gov’t Asks Public About Virtual Currencies

The online comments section, which is to run for 10 days, has already received nearly 4,000 submissions since it was launched on May 21st.

The areas polled are: whether Virtual Currencies (VCs) should be banned, regulated or observed? In case VCs are suggested to be regulated, then what measures should be taken to ensure consumer protection, promote development and also which institution should be monitoring and regulating them?

It goes on to also ask what would be effective self regulatory mechanisms, and the methods which should be adopted to ensure consumer protection in these scenarios.

Feedback From Citizens & Organizations

Most comments are brief, but they do represent a generally positive opinion of Bitcoin and virtual currencies in general with some encouraging everyone to profit via taxation.

For example, one person commented:

Bitcoin, Blockchain is the future of finance, administration, governance, markets, IT etc. This technology has huge potential for a growing country like India. India should follow Japan, embrace this technology without introducing road blocks. If India put regulatory burden on it, it will not limit the technology but will keep India isolated from its benefits. Like internet, tech will grow irrespective. We have choice to embrace, or be left behind..

Another person said that government regulation will help reduce corruption and black market trade as well as proving useful for the economy as a whole.

Tarkesh Tambulkar wrote: 

Bitcoin is the future of India, it is also increases the tax of Indian government. So it should be regulated

“Bitcoin regulatory should improve economical growth in India, crypto currency makes digital India to reduce poverty in future it will reduce corruption and black money if government takes action to make bitcoin is legal and regulated,” added Melika Rajarao

Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd also weighed in, commenting:

We propose that Bitcoin be accepted as legal financial instrument in India and the regulations be governed under a separate ‘Virtual Currency Act’. The adoption of virtual currency should be encouraged in India since Blockchain technologies are now considered to be the future of electronic financial transactions. A very strong impetus to legalize virtual currency is its potential to drastically reduce corruption, shrink transaction costs and eliminate third party involvement.

There are some dissenting voices too, who call for the currency to be banned outright.

“We must impose ban on all kind of cryptocurrency at the earliest. It should be made illegal Gready indians [sic] have already invested their hard earned money and they are going to lose their money very soon,” wrote Manish Rai.

Overall, the responses appear to be in favor of “legalizing” Bitcoin via regulation, with other commentators seeing it as beneficial to the technological growth of the country, as well as staying in line with international trends like in Japan.

9 of 10 New Internet Users Will Be Indian

It is important to also consider India’s unique position, and the type of citizen who would actually be commenting online. India is a developing country with much of its internet activity currently done in English, relating as much to infrastructural barriers as much as language ones. What’s more is many only connect via their mobile phones.

These issues were explored in a report conducted by the consulting firm KPMG India and Google exploring the use of the Internet in the country.

“80% of Indian language internet users face challenges in using English keyboards. About 55% of the users find the high cost and limited internet access as key barrier for using the Internet regularly,” the report states.

There is positive news though, as the country would seem to be overtaking China in terms of new internet adoption.

“In the last few years, the rapid scale of adoption of Internet across the country has set the ball rolling and today Indian language users have already overtaken the total number of English language users on the Internet in India,” the report notes.

The report forecasts that digital payments, online government services and e-tailing will see the fastest growth in adoption by Indian language users.

At the same time, Bitcoin appears to be spreading rapidly in India, which can be see by a constant rise in trading volumes and increasing merchant adoption throughout the country.

Bitcoinist has previously covered Bitcoins use as ‘digital gold’ in India here and how it is helping the population overcome the friction of the Indian Rupee.

Will India’s government go for regulating VC’s, maintain the status quo or attempt to ban Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter 

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Dub 17

Bitcoin is Booming in India as ‘Digital Gold’ Among Other Underlying Benefits

· April 17, 2017 · 8:30 am

Bitcoin is gaining a lot traction in India. Bitcoinist spoke with Sunny Ray, co-founder of India’s Bitcoin exchange UnoCoin, to better understand what is fueling this growing trend in the country.


Bitcoin Goes Mainstream in India

Bitcoin is going places. After conquering China and catapulting it to the front line of Bitcoin’s trading and mining sector, it is now starting to get traction in other countries like Japan and South Korea.

Now, Bitcoin is also showing signs of a growing adoption rate in India, a country that has been deeply impacted by the demonetization policies implemented.

A look at yesterday’s Times of India publication shows that Bitcoin is featured on the front page. The publication tells the story of a man who unknowingly exchanged, what would now be, a Bitcoin fortune for extra lives on an online game, something that he obviously regrets.

The article also provides some facts about the cryptocurrency, its price, and regulatory standing. It also mentions the Interdisciplinary Committee created to assess the current state of existing global regulatory and legal structures as a means to apply the best regulatory framework possible for Bitcoin in India.

The paper reads:

Finance ministry has set up a committee that will look at global regulatory frameworks for Bitcoin and suggest measures for India.

Bitcoin adoption in the country can be seen, not just in media reports, but also in the data provided by Unocoin, India’s most popular Bitcoin Exchange. Co-founder Sunny Ray recently noted that:

It took 2 years and 10 months for Unocoin to reach 100,000 users. It only took another 6 months to reach 200,000 users.

Why is Bitcoin Booming in India?

Bitcoin’s received a lot of attention after the demonetization policies that saw India’s highest denomination banknotes removed from the economy were implemented in November 2016.

Since then, however, much has changed. Unocoin’s Sunny Ray explained what’s fueling Bitcoin’s growing popularity in the country:

We think it’s less to do with demonetization and more to do with its underlying benefits. The uses range from: store of value is the number one use case (digital gold), second is inward remittance (as opposed to losing 4 days and 10% in fees), p2p payments, buying things online (mobile top up, etc), and it keeps going.

Furthermore, it’s not just Unocoin that is seeing an increasing adoption in Bitcoin within the country.

Trading volume from p2p exchange LocalBitcoins reveals this growing trend, for example, as does the global INR market data provided by CryptoCompare:

“We conclude that, while the demonetization itself may have been a catalyst for Bitcoin’s growth in India, it simply revealed one of the many advantages that Bitcoin brings, in this case, the lack of centralized control and the superior privacy provided by the cryptocurrency,” he added.

India’s Government is Studying Bitcoin

Earlier this month, the Indian government established an Interdisciplinary Committee chaired by various institutions like the country’s central bank and ministry of home affairs.

The committee’s main functions are

  • to take stock of the present status of virtual currencies (VCs) in and outside of India;
  • examine existing global regulatory and legal structures for VCs;
  • suggest measures for dealing with such VCs including issues relating to consumer protection, money laundering, etc;
  • and to examine any other matter related to VCs that may be considered as relevant.

Bitcoin India

The committee is expected to release a report on its findings by July of this year. 

It is unclear what changes the committee will bring about but Ray hopes that the creation of this organization will help citizens better understand virtual currencies, their benefits and risks.

Ray told Bitcoinist:

Our only hope is to try and educate the public. We are working with the best law firm in the country. The same law firm that’s helped to establish the largest self regulatory body in India, they helped enable payment processing and ecommerce to emerge and many many other seemingly disruptive change to the country:  Nishith Desai & Associates. All we can do is try. And the fact that some journalists in India are writing sensationalist articles to pry on people’s fears is not helping the cause.

The “largest self regulatory body in India” mentioned by Ray is the Digital Asset and Blockchain Foundation of India (DABFI). The self-regulatory body is comprised of Bitcoin startups in the country such as Unocoin, Zebpay, Coinsecure, and Searchtrade.

The organization will focus on creating standard guidelines for trading blockchain based assets, KYC/AML and STR norms, while collaborating with regulators, creating awareness about the benefits and risks of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, and producing an environment that will stimulate the creation of other blockchain startups. DABFI will also publish reports regarding cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

Will the new Interdisciplinary Committee help advance Bitcoin’s adoption in the country? Let us know in the comment section!


Images courtesy of Times of India, CryptoCompare, Shutterstock

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Bře 29

India: Zebpay Refutes Reports Minister Said Bitcoin is Illegal

· March 29, 2017 · 2:30 pm

India is the scene of conflicting reports over Bitcoin’s legality following suspicious statements from the government.


Minister: Virtual Currencies Lack ‘Regulatory Approval’

On Tuesday, Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal said that use of virtual currencies “could subject the users to unintentional breaches of anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism laws.”

On the creation of virtual currencies, the bank spokesman added that “No regulatory approval, registration or authorization is stated to have been obtained by the entities concerned for carrying on such activities.”

Bitcoin India

While not explicitly stating that virtual currencies such as Bitcoin were therefore not legally sanctioned, reports suggested that such a message was implied.

The local Bitcoin industry was quick to dispute such conclusions. Indian exchange Zebpay published a dedicated response to the episode in which it stated its belief that Bitcoin in India “is not illegal.”

A blog post reads:

Nothing has changed regarding bitcoin’s legal status in India this week. In our opinion, bitcoin is not illegal. Bitcoin is legal under all existing laws. It’s business as usual at all Indian bitcoin exchanges, including Zebpay.

Nonetheless, a word of caution accompanied the rebuttal.

“As per media reports, inter-ministerial committee has been setup to study the legality of bitcoins. They will give a response on 20th April 2017,” an update announced.

Bad Actors Give A Bad Name

Recent illicit use of Bitcoin by scam actors was widely reported in the media, with Zebpay commenting at the time that such parties posed a persistent problem to uneducated consumers.

A forgiving perspective was also given to the minister, the exchange taking the stance that regulators were trying to “protect” the public.

“A respectable MP raised the issue that bitcoin is a Ponzi scheme. Certain sections of the media reported this as if bitcoin has been declared illegal,” it summarized.

Additionally, Bitcoin is considered a commodity and falls in the Neutral/Alegal bracket, according to information portal Coin.dance.

India’s Bitcoin ecosystem had seen a surge in usage following the country’s sudden currency reforms introduced in November last year.

Zebpay_interview_article_1_Bitcoinist

Zebpay and fellow exchanges witnessed record trading, part of a wave of Bitcoin interest, which even saw the market become the second largest on Purse.io’s Amazon discount platform behind the US.

Blockchain innovation is also active locally, with crypto investor Tim Draper in February announcing his return to the Indian market, injecting venture capital through the newly acquired Blume Ventures.

What do you think about India’s current stance on virtual currencies? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Zebpay

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Kvě 14

India’s First Virtual Currencies and Blockchain Conference

Source: bitcoin

India’s First Virtual Currencies and Blockchain Conference

MUMBAI, India, (May 14, 2016) — India’s first Conference on Virtual Currencies, Fin-tech & the Blockchain is being conducted on 23rd May, 2016 at The St. Regis Mumbai.

Disclaimer: This is a press release. Bitcoinist is not responsible for this firm’s products and/or services.

About India’s Blockchain Conference

Titled “Future Money Conference (India), 2016”, it brings together thought leaders from the industry, law enforcement and Government.

The conference includes experts’ sessions, panel discussions, proof-of-concept, live demos and more.

Topics include:

  1. Money: from cowry shells to the blockchain
  2. Bitcoin: Opportunities & Challenges
  3. Impact of virtual currencies on money laundering, terrorism financing and tax evasion
  4. The legal status of Virtual currencies: situation in India and global trends
  5. Live Demo: Creating and using a blockchain
  6. Blockchain: Opportunities & Challenges
  7. Using a blockchain for controlling fake insurance policies
  8. Financial technologies likely to disrupt global money systems

 Speakers & Panellists include:

  1. Bharat Panchal, Head – Risk Management, National Payments Corporation of India
  2. Kaustubh Dhavse, Officer on special duty to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra
  3. Avneesh Pandey, General Manager, Securities and Exchange Board of India
  4. Dr Vijay Satbir Singh, IAS, Principal Secretary, Appeals and Security, Government of Maharashtra
  5. Sanjay Sahay, IPS, ADGP, Grievances & Human Rights, Govt. of Karnataka
  6. KMM Prasanna, IPS, Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime), Mumbai
  7. Debasis Nayak, Partner, Tech Juris Law Consultants
  8. Rohas Nagpal, President, Asian School of Cyber Laws
  9. Shinam Arora, co-founder, Blockchain (India) Group

Future Money Conference (India) 2016 is organized by Asian School of Cyber Laws (ASCL). Born in 1999, ASCL is a global pioneer in cyber law & cyber crime investigation and works with Governments, Corporates, and Enforcement agencies across the world.

Further details are available on

Contact:

Shinam Arora,

Cell: 7798456306

Email: fmc@asianlaws.org

Phone: (91-20)-66243952

To learn more, visit the FutureMoney Conference website.


Images courtesy of MakeMyTrip, FutureMoney Conference.

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Úno 12

India Has A Booming Economy Despite Global Financial Turmoil

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_India

The financial turmoil wreaking havoc throughout the world is leaving most countries trying to figure out where to go from here. One country that is not encumbered by any of these issues is India, as they are gaining a lot from other countries’ issues. Low oil prices and a growing interest in the Indian stock market paint an interesting picture of how this corner of the world might be getting ready for a financial revolution.

Also read: Classic Fork Release Launches Consensus Hysteria

Why India Is Booming

It may sound rather strange in this day and age, but India is one of the very few countries where the economy is growing. Even though the local stock market may have taken a slight bump in recent weeks, things are looking quite positive on a grand scale. In fact, India remains the world’s fastest-growing major economy, with a GDP growth of 7% per year.

However, it is important to keep in mind India has somewhat of an unfair advantage over other countries in the world. Keeping in mind how the average income is still very low, there simply is a lot more room to grow. In fact, India has five times the room to grow compared to China, and 40 times the room compared to the United States.

Furthermore, the demographics in India play a significant role in the process as well. With roughly 600 million people under the age of 27, the future generation of earners is just around the corner. Keeping in mind how a lot of these individuals are very tech-savvy as well, interesting things are bound to happen in the country over the next few years.

But other decisions play a key factor in this process as well. The country resorted to coal for generating energy, rather than looking at oil or other options. Granted, this is not the healthiest solution available, but it is by far the cheapest. With solar energy solutions reaching parity with coal prices in the not so distant future, setting up solar plants becomes a lot more attractive all of a sudden.

For years, people have been criticising India for moving slowly in critical areas such as healthcare, banking, and retail. At the same time, this last-mover advantage can prove to be very beneficial to the country, as they can reap the rewards of international research and development conducted in these industries. However, only time will tell whether or not these decisions will play out in a positive manner.

Growing Interest in Bitcoin Can Be Beneficial

While traditional solutions are only one part of the future, India is well-known of their mobile commerce boom as well. Consumers are skipping credit card payments altogether and move from cash payments to their mobile counterparts. Bitcoin could play an important role in this regard as it allows for frictionless mobile payments in foreign and international markets.

India is home to several Bitcoin exchanges, such as Unocoin and BTCXIndia. Additionally, the LocalBitcoins market is rather active in the country, with plenty of buyers and sellers looking to trade Bitcoin on a daily basis. It remains a mystery whether or not Bitcoin can make a big impact in India though.

What are your thoughts on the financial situation in India? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: CNN Money

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Vitt

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Led 06

Zebpay Raises $1 Million to Promote Bitcoin Wallet In India

Source: bitcoin

india bitcoin, zebpay

In India, Bitcoin is believed to pose legal, operational and regulatory challenges, according to the Reserve Bank of India. More recently, though, the same bank has endorsed blockchain technology. Riding on the tide of better international understanding of Bitcoin, an Ahmedabad-based startup Bitcoin exchange and wallet known by the name of Zebpay has managed to raise $1 million in series A funding to promote bitcoin and the blockchain throughout the South East Asian region.

India’s First Bitcoin Company Raises $1 Milllion in Funding

The investments received from Arjun Handa, the chief managing director of Claris Life Sciences (Rs 3 crore), Amit Jindal, the director of Jindal Worldwide (Rs 1crore) and Nagendra Chaudhary, the director of Triangle Engineering (1 Rs crore), make up most of the funding Zebpay has gathered. According to the company, a large part of the funding will be used to further develop and innovate on the blockchain technology.

Together with this goal, another part of the funds will be spent to “promote bitcoins as a reliable currency and investment option, enlist more e-vouchers on our mobile platform with a target to expand our user base from 25,000 to around one lakh (100,000) within the next one year and ultimately become a bitcoin payment gateway,” according to Zebpay cofounder, Saurabh Aggarwal.

According to the firm’s co-founder, an even larger part of the funding will be spent on setting up a dedicated blockchain laboratory, where research on the blockchain will be carried out, and where the firm will be able to leverage the technology’s power to innovate upon the current transaction processes. With this in mind, the company is also planning to improve the methods of authentication and the authorization of financial operations.

Unfortunately, at this moment in time, bitcoin awareness in India is extremely low. However, due to India’s massive population, the country has high potential for becoming a hub for the cryptocurrency, just like China, where over 80% of daily trading takes place.

The investment follows the recent RBI bitcoin report acknowledging the importance of private blockchains, which have the possibility of improving the financial system by increasing transaction speeds. The bank also stated that due to the technology’s power to fight issues such as counterfeiting, it can also work towards positively transforming financial markets, payment systems and collateral identification processes.

Based on everything that has been outlined so far, do you think that Zebpay will manage to raise awareness by using the funds received? Will their efforts also encourage the RBI to change its mind on bitcoin? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Source: Twitter

Images from Zebpay.

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Zebpay Raises Million to Promote Bitcoin Wallet In India

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