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January 4, 2018

India cryptocurrency registrations exceeds 20 days waiting period


 
The Indian craze for Cryptocurrency seems to have just started. A latest report from Timesofindia reports  that Cryptocurrency exchange platforms in India have a huge backlog of potential users waiting to be verified for registration. Waiting periods have gone up from a week to 20 days.The prices of digital currencies like Bitcoin, Ripple, and Litecoin have surged over the past year, encouraging many to get into the trading of these currencies. 

Bengaluru-based Unocoin used to see 1,000 registrations a day in December 2016. Last month, it averaged 10,000 registrations a day. Its overall user base is now close to 10 million. 

Meanwhile Coinsecure, one of India's India's fastest 24/7Realtime Bitcoin Trading Platform ha s a message on its website warning users that their KYC (know your customer) process will take time. It is getting around 4,000 registrations a day. The platform has disabled its payment gateway to stop users from paying money before verification. Unocoin, too, has warned users about delays. 

Others like ZebPay are seeing a similar surge in user registrations and transactions. ZebPay has touched 2 million users.  While Unocoin in September announced a partnership with Purse.io to offer discounts on India’s Amazon branch, Coinsecure’s BitPay deal has contributed to the latter’s market presence in Asia rocketing by 388%.

A person can invest in bitcoins for as low as Rs 1,000.Once one logs into the website of a cryptocurrency exchange platform, the platform verifies the details of the user. The funds are then transferred and a digital wallet is created for the user to store the bitcoins. Currently, the price of one bitcoin is Rs 10 lakh, but at its peak last month, it was being sold for as high as Rs 19 lakh. India is quickly progressing in Bitcoin adoption and among one of the fastest growing market when it comes to cyrptocurency adoption. It currently ranks among the top 20 nations for Bitcoin use.

The Value of the Bitcoin crossed $19,000 in December last year. As of , January 2, 2018, the value of the Bitcoin converted to Indian National Rupees by Google was a whooping Rs 8,51,073.40. Competition among local startups is heating up, too. The country’s considerable mobile penetration has given rise to tools such as mobile money services.

On the other hand India’s central bank have made it amply clear they aren’t comfortable with virtual currencies. The recent spike in bitcoin’s value, which attracted hordes of investors, has only made the government more vociferous in its criticism.However, these announcements don’t make these virtual currencies, or trading in them, against the law.So, their status is in a curious limbo—they’re neither legal nor illegal in India and that has added to the confusion.

On Nov. 30, 2017, when investor frenzy was at a high with rising bitcoin prices, finance minister Arun Jaitley said the country doesn’t recognise cryptocurrencies as legal tender. Almost a month later, the government cautioned people against investing in them, warning that they are similar to fraudulent investment schemes and have no legal status yet. “There is a real and heightened risk of (an) investment bubble (in virtual currencies) of the type seen in ponzi schemes which can result in (a) sudden and prolonged crash exposing investors, especially retail consumers, losing their hard-earned money,” the finance ministry said in a notification on Dec. 29, 2017. “Consumers need to be alert and extremely cautious as to avoid getting trapped in such ponzi schemes.


Observers predict that India’s government will regulate Bitcoin in stages even though presently the Indian government does not allows cryptocurrency as a legal tender. However India’s Bitcoin industry is optimistic about the fact that in the foreseeable future government acceptance will give the cryptocurrency the backing it needs. In fact, India’s Bitcoin industry has long tried to popularize Bitcoin with strategies that include conducting security checks, requesting identification from users, such as government-verified address documents, Permanent Account Numbers (PAN) or Aadhaar IDs, and sometimes even checking bank details. Private Bitcoin companies have also launched an association, called the Digital Assets and Blockchain Foundation India (BFI), to educate lay people on Bitcoin benefits and usage.