In spite of its huge potential, India is still catching up with Bitcoin. If currently has a handful of Bitcoin based companies, and the user base is small, but growing nevertheless.
Due to the lack of awareness about Bitcoin, or presumed complicated nature of Bitcoin transactions, the rate of adoption is slow. Conventionally, Bitcoin transaction requires the user to manually enter the Bitcoin wallet address of the recipient or scan the QR code with wallet address and send the required amount of bitcoins. The process involves multiple steps, and for those who are not familiar with it find this process complicated. This also means that there are not many merchants across the country who accept Bitcoin.
Where does this leave the Indian Bitcoin enthusiasts who are looking forward to use Bitcoin as much as possible in their daily lives? Nowhere! As there are no online e-commerce portals that currently accept Bitcoin. There was one start-up, HighKart became the first Indian e-commerce site to accept only Bitcoin, but even they seem to have shut shop due to very little demand for their services.
Few prominent Indian Bitcoin start-ups have taken it upon themselves to create awareness about Bitcoin and promote its usage among the public. Apart from that, they are also finding innovative alternate ways to use Bitcoin for regular usage.
Now, what if sending Bitcoin is as simple as sending an instant message on your mobile phone? Well, that’s what Zebpay offers. Zebpay is the first start-up to offer such service. Recently Zebpay added a new feature that allows people to buy cash vouchers at discounted rates for Amazon and Flipkart which are the leading e-commerce players in the region. This gives an option for people to indirectly use Bitcoin to buy goods and services offered on these e-commerce portals. According to Zebpay, the company is soon going to include mobile airtime recharge option on their platform. Once added, Zebpay users will be able to refill their prepaid mobile credits using Bitcoin.
Another Bitcoin start-up from India, Unocoin also has its own service offering. Unocoin is a leading Bitcoin exchange in the country, it is rightly referred to as the Coinbase of India. Along with mobile airtime recharges with Bitcoin, Unocoin also allows users to convert their Mechanical Turk rewards in the form of Amazon vouchers to Bitcoin, which can then be converted to Indian rupees. This is made possible with the company’s strategic partnership with Purse.io. Unocoin also offers investment opportunities for its customers through BTCjam, which is a P2P Bitcoin powered lending platform. Users can either those to invest or receive loans.
These two start-ups have also received international recognition. While Zebpay was selected as the best Bitcoin business at CoinAgenda 2014 held at Las Vegas, Unocoin has attracted investment from the likes of Barry Silbert. Barry Silbert is a prolific investor in the International Bitcoin community who has invested in multiple Bitcoin related start-ups across the world. We see a lot of potential in these start-ups and we expect them to play a huge role to ensure the growth of the Indian Bitcoin eco-system.