In 1999, Professor Milton Friedman, a Nobel Prize winner in economics stated:
“I think the internet is going to be one of the major forces for reducing the role of government. The one thing that’s missing but that will soon be developed, is a reliable e-cash.”
Nine years later, Bitcoin was born.
To start with let’s understand what Bitcoin is to layman?
Suppose there are two actors Bob and Alice who want to have a money transaction between them.
The monetary transaction facilitated by Bitcoin would be as follows:
User Bob creates a transaction by declaring: “I give Alice 10 BTC”. (But in Bitcoin protocol language).
This transaction is digitally signed with the private key each address has and can’t be forged.
The miners make sure the transaction is valid and record it in a public ledger that is distributed over the whole network.
Alice checks this ledger to get her balance.
Bob cannot cheat the system because everyone in the network can consult and check this ledger and would immediately refuse a transaction with double spent funds or funds he hasn’t got in the first place.
Therefore, Bitcoin is the first global, decentralized currency that allows you to send money from one person to another without involving a third party broker, such as a bank. You only need your computer to make transactions because Bitcoin is fundamentally a software.
There is another word trending these days- BLOCKCHAIN
The ledger used in above transaction is the blockchain. It is called a chain, because all published blocks depend on the previous. They are protected by a cryptographic function known as hash.
How many startups are currently working on Bitcoin?
According to a report of Times Of India 750 startups with a capitalization of $104 billion are involved in Bitcoin technology. And a small but determined number of startups in India are making early moves in a market that is yet to be recognized by the government.
From the beginning of 2017, bitcoins have touched an all-time high. In January, the currency crossed $1,000 for the first time in three years. Last month, it crossed $1500, becoming more valuable than gold, which has not touched $1500 in the last four years. Earlier this week, the combined market capitalisation of cryptocurrencies crossed $100 billion.
Today Entrepreneurship Cell briefly describes two major startups operational in India: Unocoin and Zebpay
Unocoin is India’s first and largest platform for simple, secure and seamless trading/exchange of bitcoins and for storage and wallet facilities.
When Sathvik Vishwanath set up Unocoin along with Sunny Ray, Harish B V and Abhinand Kaseti, they believed in Bitcoin as the future of money despite the apprehensions surrounding cryptocurrencies in India. “Technology always precedes regulation. There were no cab-sharing guidelines before Uber. It is after the disruption and its impact on lives that the government has to look into the issues and decide if it needs regulation,” said Vishwanath.
Their motto of “Bring Bitcoin to Billions” has been providing Bitcoin trading and merchant processing to the public since December 2013. Since its inception, the company has played an important role in actively promoting bitcoin in the country and currently has over 60,000 users with 31,000+ facebook followers and around 5000 twitter followers.
Unocoin became the first Indian Bitcoin start-up to be funded internationally in August 2014 when legendary investor Barry Silbert infused US$250,000 in Unocoin.
In August 2016, the startup raised funding of $1.5 million in a Pre Series-A round from multiple investors including Blume Ventures, Mumbai Angels, ventures along with Digital Currency Group, Boost VC, Bank to the Future, Bitcoin Capital and FundersClub.
Zebpay is app-enabled bitcoin wallet provider headquartered in Singapore with IT office in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. Zebpay is India’s first bitcoin company to launch simplest mobile Bitcoin wallet app that enables bitcoin transactions using mobile number without any complexities to understand bitcoin addresses, taking backups or fear of losing bitcoins.
Claiming that the country was at the cusp of a new financial revolution, the company’s co-founder and chief operating officer Sandeep Goenka said that customers are opening up to non-traditional investments measures and it is targeting to take the total downloads to over 1 million by September 2017.
Zebpay was voted as best new bitcoin company at CoinAgenda conference in Las Vegas in 2014
and crossed Rs 500-crore turnover and did more than Rs 100 crore of trade turnover in November 2016
In the coming months, they are looking forward to partner with bitcoin exchanges and eVoucher companies.