Belfrics, which refers to itself as a Malaysian ‘blockchain technology’ firm, has announced the launch of its bitcoin exchange operations in India.
In a press briefing, the firm claims to provide a liquid marketplace for buying and selling bitcoins with India’s fiat currency, the rupee. The firm’s foray into the country comes after the much-publicized and controversial demonetization event that led to a crippling cash crunch. Subsequently, interest and adoption of bitcoin as a digital currency has never been higher in the country.
The lack of an authority wielding totalitarian moves has proven appealing for Indian adopters at a time when the country slowly begins to finds its feet after an unprecedented cash ban.
Belfrics group CEO Praveen Kumar stated:
The element of neutrality that the blockchain can bring to the financial system, without the involvement of an intermediary or a regulatory body, is going to redefine the way in which assets are transacted.
Belfrics also says that it will introduce point-of-sale (PoS) and bitcoin payment gateway protocols for online and retail merchants in India, as a means to pushing bitcoin adoption. The company further adds that there will be no charges in transacting with bitcoins for e-commerce transactions or over-the-counter settlements.
The firm says its digital currency trading platform will be accessible through desktops as well as mobile devices. There’s no word of a mobile application in the announcement.
The launch of a new bitcoin exchange in India also comes during a time when continuing demand for the cryptocurrency sees bitcoin buying at a premium price.
At Unocoin, a major Indian bitcoin exchange that snagged a record round of funding from investors home and abroad recently, the price of a single bitcoin is INR 66,590 (approx. $978.61). With taxes and fees via the KYC-enabled exchange, the total cost of a single bitcoin is INR 67,356 or $989.87. That’s over a $100 premium when compared to current BTC/USD rates on the Bitstamp Price Index.
While significant, the figure pales in comparison to a near 35% premium for bitcoin buying toward the end of November 2016, the month that saw the country’s demonetization drive was enforced by the Indian government. Unocoin is leading the pack of Indian bitcoin exchanges pushing for adoption with the release of mobile applications and APIs for bitcoin- and blockchain-based remittance.