Next month, on both December 14 and 15, Bangalore will host India's first Bitcoin conference, which is also Asia's second conference, according to The Times of India.
There is no shortage of Bitcoin holders in India, as recent figures indicate that there is a 50,000 strong Bitcoin community within India, and at least 30,000 of them own some of the virtual currency and have an online digital wallet for storing it. Naturally, the next step would be how to use the Bitcoins in India itself. With both investors and venture capitalists expected to attend the conference, officials from both the Reserve Bank of India and the State Bank of India are also expected to attend the conference.
The Bitcoin was founded in 2009, and is a virtual currency, neither owned nor issued by any central bank or central authority. Open-source software allows people to use their computer resources, or a grid if available, to mine for Bitcoins. Currently, there are 11 million Bitcoins, worth nearly $9 billion, which is 55,000 crore Indian rupees. However, what is making the rounds as of late in the media is the value of a Bitcoin itself; in August, 1 Bitcoin was worth about $110. Now, that same Bitcoin is worth about $807. That's a huge increase within a short period of time. As such, the time has also come for retailers to accept this form of virtual currency for payment of products and services. Furthermore, progress can also be made in India specifically for Bitcoin acceptance and usage.
Traditional businesses will most likely shy away from Bitcoins, as many still don't even have credit or debit cards, and these are businesses not located in high-end shopping malls. Obviously, with Bitcoins being a virtual currency with high value, they would have to be accepted by online retailers in India. As of yet, Indian retailers have not jumped on board, but I expect that to change very soon. The reason for this is because of the exponential growth of the online retail market In India, led by giants such as Jabong, Flipkart, and Snapdeal, to name a few. On the other hand, retailers need to determine whether it's too soon to entertain this niche market in India for online products. However, by not doing so, they could potentially lose business to other retailers, such as Chinese search engine Baidu.
Furthermore, as it currently stands, the Indian government is not objecting to the use of Bitcoins as a payment method. If anything, they might be embracing the virtual currency as a method to strengthen the weak Indian rupee. Furthermore, the US government has given positive commentary regarding Bitcoins. Last week, the US Federal Reserve said it recognizes the potential of the virtual currency.