Bitcoins, the global alternative virtual currency, has been quickly gaining acceptance across the world even as they are yet to catch majorly in India. Still, there are about 50,000 users in the country, with about 30,000 actively using Bicoins for transactions, says Benson Samuel, CTO and Co-Founder, Coinsecure. Coinsecure is a leading bitcoin exchange, wallet and payment gateway in India that works with vendors to facilitate transcactions through the currency. Introduced in 2009, bitcoins are a form of digital currency that operates without oversight from a centralised regulatory agency.
Experts believe that virtual currencies such as bitcoins could partially or majorly replace the need for physical currencies even as the presently, bitcoin attracts attention for its volatility and the susceptibility of bitcoin exchanges to hacks and theft. Over the past one year, it has wobbled between a range of Rs 14,000 and Rs 52,000. But within India, Samuel's coinsecure is among the few bitcoin exchanges that have been propogating the virtues of the currency. His is among the platforms that offers bitcoins at the cheapest cost (Rs 39,607) and the smallest spreads over the sell price (Rs 38,883).
Merchants who tie up with Coinsecure do not have to worry about the currency's volatility as conversion of bitcoins that they accept for transactions into rupees is instantly done. Proponents of bitcoin see it as a store of value because of its limited nature -- only 21 million bitcoins will be "mined" by 2140 -- in contrast to "fiat" currencies that they say get debased over time because of their ever-increasing supply.