Leading Indian Bitcoin Exchanges Form Association, Aim at Self-Regulation

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Leading Indian Bitcoin exchanges including Zebpay, Unocoin and Coinsecure have formed an industry-wide organization called the Blockchain and Virtual Currency Association of India.

Earlier this month, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released a document designed to warn users against Bitcoin and its apparent risk. The RBI suggested users to actively look into the risk and unpredictability of Bitcoin trading before they initiate in any activities involving Bitcoin or other digital currencies.

Saurabh Agarwal, co-founder of Bitcoin trading and wallet company Zebpay stated:

“While we have been planning to create an association for some time, we finally pushed things after the circular.”

Blockchain consortia

Over the past two years, leading banks, financial institutions and Blockchain companies have formed various consortia in countries like the US and China to ensure any developer of Blockchain technology within the realm of finance are compliant with local regulations and policies.

Consortia such as Hyperledger or R3CEV are leading Blockchain innovation and development by cooperating with regulators and lawmakers to assist Blockchain startups and financial institutions in understanding fundamental regulations in place. The establishment of such consortia has significantly lessened regulatory conflicts between regulators and companies, creating a more viable environment for technological development.

Lack of Bitcoin associations

However, the Bitcoin industry is yet to see the formation of consortia led by industry leaders to discuss and come to a consensus on important matters. The establishment of an industry-wide association grants Bitcoin companies and Blockchain startups the ability to collectively bargain with regulators.

Major companies join forces

The Blockchain and Virtual currency Association of India formed by leading Bitcoin exchanges, companies and Blockchain firms are the first of its kind which brings Blockchain and Bitcoin companies together. In collaborative meetings and roundtable discussions, member companies discuss regulatory frameworks and the Indian Bitcoin industry’s vision going forward, to help the general population of India adopt Bitcoin as a store of value and currency.

“The goal is to have a uniform self-regulation amongst ourselves,“ said Sathvik Vishwanath, co-founder of Blume Ventures-backed startup Unocoin.

At the moment, there are only four companies within the association. The four companies represent the Bitcoin industry as Zebpay, Unocoin and Coinsecure hold the majority of market share of the Bitcoin exchange and wallet market. In upcoming months, the association plans to add 20 small startups and Blockchain firms.

Indian Bitcoin exchanges such as Unocoin have been a few of the fastest growing Bitcoin firms in all of 2016. Developers and industry leaders such as Blockstream CEO Adam Back also commented on the rapid growth of the Indian Bitcoin industry, stating:

"India represents a massive growth opportunity for Bitcoin and Unocoin who are on the cutting edge of Bitcoin and Blockchain technology.”

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