Bitcoin has been in the limelight for quite some time but has yet to gain a foothold in the Indian economy. We sit down with Mohit Kalra, CEO and Founder, Coinsecure to know why.
Digit: What are the technological and socio-economic (legal) factors that will enable transactions in Bitcoins in the country?
Mohit: India was lacking with Bitcoin traction previously, but we have seen a massive growth after the launch of Coinsecure. Within just one year, we have touched the maximum volume India has ever seen in Bitcoin space. We have seen the growth of our customer base increase 20 times within the past 3-4 months. Since the first day Coinsecure went live (1st Jan 2015), we haven’t faced any legal issues from either the Government or Regulatory authorities such as RBI, ED, SEBI etc. They are well aware of our business. We have a transparent exchange and wallet service. Also, we were the first company to launch India’s very first Blockchain Explorer. We enable users to check the public ledger, Blockchain Explorer in INR. As advised by our compliance team and our legal consultants and lawyers, as well as advice provided to us by the RBI, we follow strict KYC & AML Policy for customer boarding.
Coinsecure’s wallet service is an off-chain wallet service. Users can transfer Bitcoin from our wallet to our exchange to buy and sell with a 0% fee. We run our platform 24/7 and we have multiple banking partners linked with our company such as AXIS Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and YES Bank. All fiat (INR) deposits and withdrawals are done through banking channels and we do not accept cash for trades. We are also India’s first Bitcoin company to get an an ISO Certification.
Digit:What kind of transactions are these exactly? Are they Silk Road type of transactions or are people buying groceries?
Mohit: I think there are more than 30,000 users of Bitcoin in India. Most of the trades happen locally through cash which shouldn’t be the case. Bitcoin users in India should trade through registered exchange platforms. At the end of the day this will keep the user safe. While doing local cash transactions, the user can get into trouble since the user might not be aware of who the person he/she is buying or selling from, and whether the other person was involved in any criminal activity, money laundering case etc.
Talking about the transactions going through Coinsecure, most of the users are traders who buy at cheaper prices and sell when the price goes up. As there is not much of a use-case in India for Bitcoin, currently it’s difficult to target mass adoption. Coinsecure is working day and night to release our payment gateway for merchants to start accepting Bitcoin with 0% Volatility risk. As Coinsecure has the maximum liquidity, we can provide such services to the merchants, so they do not have to worry about Bitcoin prices fluctuating.
We are also going to be launching our Mobile Wallet App by the end of February which will enable users to book flight tickets, hotel rooms, mobile/DTH services etc., using Bitcoin through our mobile application. Alongside, we will also be releasing our Exchange App which users can link to our Wallet app and can instantly transfer funds between our wallet app and exchange app to buy or sell Bitcoins.
As Bitcoin runs on a Pseudonymity nature, it’s difficult to track Bitcoins used for illegal purposes and this is why Coinsecure follows strict KYC & AML Policy. We believe that RBI should release new guidelines prohibiting local cash transactions and enable buying or selling from a registered Bitcoin company. Coinsecure has seen customers using Bitcoin to buy products like gadgets and clothes from international websites accepting Bitcoins such as Dell.com, TigerDirect.com, and Overstock.com etc.
Digit:When are we going to see e-commerce websites such as Amazon and Flipkart support transactions through Bitcoins? What are the challenges impeding that reality from happening?
Mohit: We are working on the Bitcoin Payment Gateway and will be releasing it out very soon for the merchants to accept Bitcoin with 0% Volatility risk with a very minimal fees. Our basic merchant boarding plan will be charged by 1% as compared to 3.5% being charged by INR payment gateway providers such as PayTM, PayU Money etc. At the end of the day, merchants will be saving 2.5% on each transaction they accept and also, will be targeting the Bitcoin community on to their platforms.
We have already signed contracts with a few merchants who will be using our payment gateway. India will soon be seeing top merchants accepting Bitcoin through Coinsecure’s Bitcoin payment gateway.
Digit:What are the series of events or factors that will eventually lead to Bitcoins becoming mainstream in India?
Mohit: Bringing more use case of Bitcoin in India will definitely get the mass on board and will make Bitcoin mainstream. Once bigger players like Flipkart, Snapdeal, etc., start accepting Bitcoin, we will see a massive growth in the Indian Bitcoin Space.
I think such huge players should come forward and start accepting Bitcoins even if proper regulations are not out yet in India. This is how it happened in the USA and even in China. E-commerce players in India should focus on accepting Bitcoin too and work together with Bitcoin companies to get the regulations or guidelines as soon as possible.
I see Bitcoin growing this year, as Coinsecure will be providing much more services for investors, traders and for merchants. At the end, it depends on how the Government or Regulatory Bodies react to this. As per the recent article by RBI, it’s more of a green signal for Bitcoin companies to expand even further. Again, I think new improved guidelines should be released by the RBI as soon as possible.