Having given due consideration to the growing demand for Bitcoin these days, the Reserve Bank of India has announced the launch of Blockchain and Virtual Currency Association of India. Last week, four members of the Association – Coinsecure, Searchtrade, Unocoin and Zebpay – met in India’s business capital of Mumbai, marking the first meeting of the cooperation.
The Reserve Bank of India has not yet come up with the discussion of bitcoin or the regulation of the industry. The Blockchain and Virtual Currency Association of India is going to address that as the working group targets to engage with regulators. Besides, the association will work to increase bitcoin awareness in the country and warn about the risks of investment and Ponzi schemes that use the cryptocurrency.
Mohit Kalra, CEO of Coinsecure, has unveiled that in the nearest future twenty more companies are expected to join the Association.
Saurabh Agarwal, co-founder of bitcoin wallet and trading company Zebpay, stated: “While we have been planning to create an association for some time, we finally pushed things after the circular.”
To put some clarity into the matter, the ‘circular’ Agarwal refers to is a public notice published by the Reserve Bank of India last week, where it underlined that it hadn’t given any license or authority to bitcoin companies to operate in the country. The bank had cautioned the users, holders and traders of virtual currencies, including Bitcoins, about the potential financial, operational, legal, customer protection and security related risks that they are exposing themselves
“The RBI is reminding users of its original statement from years ago” said Sathvik Vishwanath, CEO of leading bitcoin exchange UnoCoin. “Nothing has changed since the original statement, for the better or worse.”
In general, the situation with cryptocurrency market in India leaves much to be desired. While the cryptocurrency’s adoption across the world increases, the Indian community has to overcome poor internet penetration and low awareness of the cryptocurrency among the masses to attract more people onboard.
In 2014, there was an attempt to create an industry association – the Bitcoin Alliance of India. Coinsecure, Searchtrade, Unocoin and Zebpay have turned down the idea to revive the now-defunct association. Mohit Kalra who was a part of the Bitcoin Alliance of India expects other industry companies to join the association. As for now, there are about 20 bitcoin startups in India.
In October 2016, the first banking transactions on blockchain were conducted by ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector bank by consolidated assets. The bank unveiled that blockchain helped to facilitate the process of exchange and authentication of remittance transaction messages and original international trade documents related to purchase including order, invoice, shipping and insurance. As a result of using the blockchain technology, the process became almost instant – if traditionally it used to take up to several days, now it took only several minutes.