Following last week’s public notice by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central bank, that warned Indians about using virtual currencies like Bitcoin, the still-nascent but growing industry has banded together to form the “Blockchain and Virtual Currency Association of India.”
India’s leading bitcoin companies that include the likes of Unocoin, Coinsecure, Zebpay and SearchTrade have come together to form a new industry association that is currently under the process of a formal registration.
According to a report in India’s biggest business daily, the Economic Times, the four companies met in India’s business capital of Mumbai last Friday, marking the first meeting of the industry association.
In quotes reported by the publication, Saurabh Agarwal, co-founder of bitcoin wallet and trading company Zebpay stated:
While we have been planning to create an association for some time, we finally pushed things after the circular.
The ‘circular’ he refers to is a public notice published by the RBI last week, where the central bank stated that it hadn’t given any license or authority to bitcoin companies to operate in the country. In essence, the apex bank was reminding Indian investors that trading or dealing in virtual currencies would be done so at their own risk.
“The RBI is reminding users of its original statement from years ago” said Sathvik Vishwanath, CEO of leading bitcoin exchange UnoCoin, speaking to CCN at the time. “Nothing has changed since the original statement, for the better or worse.”
The four big players decided against reviving the “Bitcoin Alliance of India”, a now-defunct association formed in 2014. Instead, blockchain companies – typically those that develop enterprise blockchain solutions – will also be welcomed under the new banner. Coinsecure CEO Mohit Kalra, who was a part of the first industry association effort sees other industry companies joining the association. India is currently home to about 20 bitcoin startups.
The RBI had not reached out to discuss bitcoin or the regulation of the industry, reveled Vishwanath in a conversation with CCN last week. The new association is set to address that, as the working group’s primary objective is to engage with regulators. Further, the association also intends to increase bitcoin awareness in the country while reminding them of the risks of investment and Ponzi schemes that use the cryptocurrency.
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