Tuesday January 16, 2018
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From paper to plastic to Bitcoins: Changing money with time

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

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With the internet revolution gaining ground in India at a fast pace, and many initiatives on the part of the government to digitize India and take everything online, the days when money (currency) will also be completely digitized don’t seem far.

Bitcoin is one such example. For those who aren’t aware what it is, it can simply be defined as “digital money.” The advantages of bitcoin extend from zero transaction charges and to mobile platforms offering easy buy and sell options, high security and anti-wallet theft options. Handling bitcoins is extremely hassle-free. With one click on your Smartphone, you can do transactions anytime, anywhere.

Bitcoin came into existence around 2009, and is believed to be created by Satoshi Nakamoto, which can be a person or a group of persons. It once gained value steadily, peaking at about $1,100 per bitcoin in November 2013, then its value slid and is approximately $227 per bitcoin now. Also, no government regulates bitcoins yet.

Bitcoins are earned by churning data on the computer, which is also called “mining.” This is done in order to verify transactions.

“I find it (bitcoin app) extremely useful because I can buy online discount coupons and gift vouchers in exchange for my bitcoins,” said Harin Pandya, who works with an event management company in Hyderabad. “I can redeem these from Amazon, Ola and a host of other e-commerce websites.”

Despite all the shiny positives, RBI governor Raghuram Rajan doesn’t seem so convinced about the positive aspects of bitcoin. The main reason being that bitcoins fall outside the purview of regulated financial environment.

Calling them “Crypto currencies”, RBI Deputy Governor, R Gandhi, emphasized that these can be involved in money laundering, tax evasion and terror funding.”

Despite the red flag given by RBI, bitcoin’s popularity continues to rise. Banks and other financial middle-men-organizations are completely out of the picture.

“I have family in New Zealand and I can send money immediately to them using my bitcoin wallet, which they can encash there, making the transaction hassle free,” says Himanshu Sisodia, chief operating officer at Greenleaves Management.

“Though it has depreciated significantly, the value of bitcoins are bound to climb up by next January, because virtual currency is the future and the world will only get more digitised from now on,” said Pandya, adding that he is expecting to get almost 100% return on his investment in bitcoins by this year-end.

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Despite the concerns raised regarding usage of bitcoins, experts believe that with the steady pace of digitization, money is bound to become online sooner or later, and that the world cannot escape bitcoins when such a thing happens to the completion. Since digitizing India means an enhanced push into the direction of cashless transactions, bitcoins will climb up.

Citing the example of Greece, experts have also pointed out that for volatile economies undergoing crisis, bitcoins offer a good alternative.

 

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How can you trade in Bitcoin in India?

This will be the country's first app-based wallet that enables bitcoin transactions using a mobile number

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Pluto Exchange has launched first app that will trade in bitcoins in India
Pluto Exchange has launched first app that will trade in bitcoins in India Picture credits: Wikimedia commons

Dubai based “Pluto Exchange” has launched a Bitcoin trading app specifically targeted at the Indian market. The app was announced by Pluto Exchange founder and CEO Bharat Verma.

All about the app

  • This will be the country’s first app-based wallet that enables bitcoin transactions using a mobile number.
  • The app offers a solution to the coordination problem between payment processors, financial gateways and banks.
  • All other apps already in the market do transactions using bitcoin addresses, which are long and prone to error while copying. This app will enable transactions using mobile numbers only, which are just 10 digits.
  • By using a four-digit personal identification number (PIN), users can now buy, sell, store and spend bitcoins via a mobile number.
  • The app would permit a range of transactions, including payments, remittances, business-to-business commerce, supply chain finance, asset management and trading.

RBI on Bitcoin

Bharat Verma, CEO, Pluto Exchange said that the Reserve Bank of India is concerned about the use of cash for dealing in virtual currencies, whose values have turned volatile recently.

“The RBI considers bitcoins as decentralized trading that is completely unregulated… so their status is not clear,” he said.

Current scenario of cryptocurrency in India

In India, there are at least 15 bitcoin exchange forums, with the majority being set up over the past two years. Bitcoins have been trading at more than Rs 10 lakh each, while people are investing amounts ranging from Rs 3,000 to several lakhs of rupees to buy these.

According to investigation agencies here, with the demand and price of cryptocurrencies on the rise, cyber criminals have found innovative ways to dupe those looking to invest. (IANS)

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