Unocoin, one of India’s foremost Bitcoin companies, has launched a new mobile application for both the iOS and Android platforms. This new application has been developed by Unocoin themselves and will allow Unocoin customers to buy, sell, receive as well as store Bitcoin in one place. Interestingly, the application makes its way to users as Indians are trying to grapple with the demonetization of Rs.500 and Rs. 1000 banknotes by the Government of India. Bitcoin has hit new highs in the domestic Indian markets since demonetization occurred on the midnight of Nov. 8.
All-in-one app for Indians
The new application by Unocoin will make it simpler for its customer base to access Bitcoin and to store it on their mobile devices.
However in India, one of the greatest challenges is the diversity of the country itself. Although India boasts the world’s second largest English-speaking population with roughly 125 mln people having some degree of English proficiency, it is still only 10 percent of the billion plus population of the country.
We talked with Sunny Ray, co-founder and president at Unocoin about these challenges. He says:
“We've already started building instructional videos in over 10 languages to help such issues. In the future, we plan to cater even more languages.”
Young professionals in Unocoin’s crosshairs
Unocoin is going after those people who already use one or the other set of financial services. In a press release made available to Cointelegraph through e-mail, Abhinand Kaseti, co-founder and CMO of Unocoin, expressed optimism about the number of mobile phone users in India.
“As of now, there are more than one billion Indians who use mobile phones. More than 300 million use their phones regularly for accessing the Internet. This trend is expected to go up by 56 percent per year. We focused on creating a design and interface that provided a seamless user experience on mobile.”
Sunny Ray, president at Unocoin, chimes in and thinks that it is the young crowd that might gravitate towards Bitcoin use: “Many of the people using Bitcoin today are young professionals who usually have some basic level of understanding of computers and the Internet. More than half the people buy Bitcoin as a form of digital gold. The next 25 percent of the customers are usually ex-PayPal or Western Union users who use Bitcoin + Unocoin to receive payments from abroad (inward remittance).One partnership we recently worked on is with BitWage and this makes such payments even simpler.”
Demonetization good for Unocoin
Demonetization has certainly acted as a shot in the arm for Unocoin. Sunny Ray revealed to us that pre-demonetization the company was having around 4000 visitors per day on their website and that number has now shot up to an average of 14,000 visitors.
He also said that Unocoin’s volumes have shot up dramatically in the last few weeks. Interestingly, there has also been a price differential between Bitcoin prices globally and India. Sunny Ray attributes that to a limited supply in India. He says: “There is limited supply in India and the demand is very high, therefore the price is much higher in India as opposed to international markets. Also, due to restrictive capital controls in India, we are not able to settle across international exchanges which complicates the matter even further. We expect this differential to subside in the coming weeks and months. This price differential does, however, open up the opportunity for inward remittance to happen profitably.”
India, which has been the world’s largest remittance market in 2015 also presents a huge $100 bln opportunity for Unocoin and they are eager to capitalize on that. This app is a step in that direction.
Bitcoin the new gold
Indians are known to have a massive soft spot for gold and the Indian government has struggled to stem the appetite of the precious yellow metal. Indians are now discovering that Bitcoin may be akin to digital gold and many of them are using Bitcoin has a hedge against inflation and the drop in the price of the rupee.
We asked Sunny Ray if Bitcoin in India would only be used as a form of gold or would it enter the transaction space as well and he expressed his optimism that it could end up as both: “I believe that Bitcoin has an equal balance of being digital gold (asset that goes up in value) and the Internet of money (fast and easy to transact). In fact, because it is both of these elements is exactly what makes Bitcoin so special.”