Huge Bitcoin Opportunities in India
Economic growth in India creates opportunity for Bitcoin
India is often mentioned in the same breath as China, as the country that most companies would like to have a presence in.
At the start of this decade, Time Magazine recognized China as the “Michael Jordan of emerging markets”, but also viewed India as a “be like Mike” who would soon make a major impact on the global markets. At the time, Lawrence Summers, who was at the time, President Obama’s economic advisor, said, ”perhaps..in 2040, the discussion will be less about the Washington Consensus or the Beijing Consensus, than about the Mumbai Consensus.” Summers envisioned a Mumbai Consensus with “a people-centered emphasis on growing levels of consumptions and a widening middle class.”
India has been a hotbed for outsourcing, particularly for call center and technology projects. Investors have gravitated to investment products related to the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India, and China as an effective way to profit from the emerging growth in these countries. These concepts were focused on the idea that “China and India will, by 2050, become the world’s dominant suppliers of manufactured goods and supplies.”
In theory, the two countries are direct opposites to each other. China is the largest communist country and India, with well over 1.1 billion residents, is the largest democracy in the world. In fact, although China is currently the most populous country in the world, India’s higher fertility rate indicates that it will surpass China in that category before 2030. This staggering growth and opportunity in India have caught the attention of many businesses and investors.
One of these investors is the private equity firm, Blackstone, which has invested $6 billion in India since 2005. Much of their recent investments in the country have been in technology and software services. The Maersk Group, which is a global shipping and logistics firm and has already invested $800 million in India, is seeking further investment opportunities there.
These continued investments find India as a country that has been criticized in its recent past for its political turmoil and internal issues. A major concern in the country has been the rapid growth in urbanization in India, where millions have moved from the countryside into the cities to benefit from the rapid growth. This is causing strains on infrastructure and living conditions. Recently, a spokesman for the US said that American companies are keen to invest in India, but they want “stability, legal certainty” in order to actively participate in the country’s continued economic growth efforts.
With all of its troubles, Morgan Stanley Research sees major growth in the country’s internet and eCommerce businesses in the near future for the country. This growth is causing interest within the country for companies to implement businesses that improve eCommerce and money transfers to benefit from this growth. To help this trend and create monetary flexibility in the country, the National Payments Corp of India is working to develop a unified payment interface (UPI) which is intended to move India to become a cashless society.
Entrepreneurs within the country are seeing this as a natural opportunity for the proliferation of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies within the country. It’s reported that India currently has around 30,000 Bitcoin owners in the country, and that number is expected to grow. Even India’s Reserve Bank has acknowledged Bitcoin as a currency of the future.
Chairman & CEO of GreenBank Capital Inc, Danny Wettreich, in an interview with CoinTelegraph, stated that "The Indian government is doing the correct thing moving towards a cashless society. The usage of digital payments using mobile phones will increase with UPI."
One India company looking to gain traction in the Bitcoin opportunity that’s opening up in India is Coinsecure, which is a Bitcoin trading platform in India. The company's CEO, Mohit Kalra, CEO also told CoinTelegraph that his belief is that, "Bitcoin is a superior technology with a fully global, decentralized network connecting Indian citizens to individuals around the world.:
The killer app for Bitcoin in India may actually be remittances. Many Indians are working out of the country and send nearly $100 billion back to the country through remittances. Sandeep Goenka, co-founder and COO of Zebpay, which is another startup in the country that provides a way to buy and sell Bitcoins in the country says, “India is the world's biggest remittance market at more than $70 billion.”
An evaluation of the opportunity by CoinTelegraph reveals its belief that the country would save up to $7 billion in fees if Bitcoin was used in place of Western Union or banks. The article points out that the opportunity is great for Bitcoin, but in a country that’s hindered by a pressing need to address immediate concerns such as infrastructure and social issues, there’s a feeling that movement on this opportunity may take a back seat and progress towards achieving the full potential of Bitcoin in India may take time.
However, it’s clear that entrepreneurs in the country and investors from inside, and outside the country are not sitting still. The opportunities are just too big in the world’s largest democracy.