Zebpay, a mobile wallet for Bitcoins, has crossed trading turnover of Rs 100 crore. Currently, Zebpay has a total of over 30,000 users, who use the app to buy, sell, store and spend bitcoins. The company said 6,000 new users are added every month.
Zebpay was started in 2012 by Mahin Gupta. The company raised $1 million series A funding led by Arjun Handa and Amit Jindal, along with other investors. A report by PTI says that Zebpay deals with Indian customers only and it has made PAN number a must for users for opening of wallet.
The Android app has new features exclusively for pro Bitcoin users in March. These features allow users to set their own buying and selling price. Users can also keep Rupee balance in the app to buy bitcoin anytime.
To recap, Bitcoins are a digital currency whose value is determined by demand and supply. Bitcoins are available only in limited numbers. Only 21 million Bitcoins can be generated globally and the last bitcoin will be generated in 2140. However, the value of Bitcoins fluctuates wildly. For example, the value of a Bitcoin was $448 yesterday but had hit values as high as $1,100 in 2013.
Many buy bitcoins as an investment with the belief that the Bitcoin price will rise. Some buy as a hedge against currency devaluation. Many have started accepting bitcoins as payment from their overseas customers.
Earlier in December 2013, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a warning that it will not regulate any Virtual Currency including Bitcoin in India and warned people who were dealing with the currency in India of the risks involved, saying that they’re exposing them to financial, legal, operational and security related risk.
However, in August, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan also mentioned that the apex bank is closely monitoring crypto currencies but has so far not intervened in them. “I would like to say that our philosophy is if it is small then let it develop, let us see how it works and then take a view. That was our attitude towards crypto currencies. It was very very small,” Rajan added.
Developments in Bitcoin in India
– In January 2014, Income Tax department was looking at how they can impose tax on Bitcoin miners in India in the long run. However, they said they will not start this until the RBI gives a clean chit to the virtual currency.
– Around the same time, the Enforcement directorate raided the office of Buysellbit.co.in and RBItco, websites that let people buy and sell bitcoin. According to ED, these website were in violation of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) rules as the central bank does not provide permission to make such transactions.
– In the same month, a notice was sent to the RBI seeking clarification on various aspects around Bitcoin. RBI was asked if it plans to treat virtual currency – as a foreign currency, domestic currency, private currency, commodity, software program or as an electronic document. It was also asked if RBI has the power to regulate virtual currencies and if so, under what law.
– In February 2014, Bitcoin exchange Mt Gox went offline and stopped operations. According to a leaked document 744,408 Bitcoin worth $375 million are missing due to malleability-related theft which went unnoticed for several years.