Sandeep Goenka, co-founder of Zebpay, an app-enabled Bitcoin wallet and exchange in India, says the low penetration of plastic money will make Bitcoin succeed in the world’s second most-populated country.
In an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Reddit on Monday, Sandeep Goenka stated:
“With credit cards, you have to pay VISA/Mastercard 2-3 percent on every transaction and you get the money after a few days, and sometimes in case of a chargeback, you don't. None of these problems exist in Bitcoins.”
He added that in any case: “we will have to explain - to the people - how to use a plastic card terminal or a mobile wallet. The only difference in the case of Bitcoins, is that we benefit from a team of global developers innovating and making this technology simpler and simpler to use.”
Since the Indian government started demonetization, Bitcoin activists in the country have been making efforts to educate Indians about how to use Bitcoin.
“India still has to catch up with payment networks with a majority of the population. I see Bitcoin helping India to move to a modern financial infrastructure by skipping the plastic money infrastructure. Just like we did with mobile phones and skipped the landline generation.”
Zebpay reports that its app has had 150,000 downloads and crossed a turnover of Rs 450 crores.
New class of users
Goenka noted that after early adopters, a new class of users, including young professionals and High Net-worth Individuals (HNIs), are now showing interest in Bitcoin as an alternative investment and for online shopping, airtime top-up, paying bills and buying gift vouchers.
“There are users who see Bitcoin as an alternate investment. There are working professionals who invest small amounts. There are HNIs who invest big amounts. There are speculators who trade in Bitcoins just like they speculate in other asset classes.”
“We also have freelancers who accept Bitcoins instead of PayPal or Western Union. They save a 10 percent fee. In fact, with current prices, they gain 10 percent more. They get the money instantly in their bank account instead of 7-15 days.”
Based on several parameters, including the spike in Bitcoin searches in India since the demonetization announcement according to Google Trends, Goenka said they have set a two-year timeline to experience an explosion of digital assets like Bitcoin in the country.
He allayed the fears that China can harm Bitcoins, even though many mining companies are concentrated there, adding that it does not matter whether miners are centralized in China or the U.S. because their main objective is to mine for economic gains.