Brock Pierce on Bitcoin and Financial Inclusion in India

Bitcoin doesn’t get featured much in the Indian mainstream media. Is because of low adoption, or lack of understanding or just the don’t care attitude one can’t be sure. However, whenever there is a chance to have to report anything in an Indian context or get some interviews with those from the industry who are visiting the country, we can the newspapers to fall in line. We have seen that example in the past couple of days.

The Chairman of Bitcoin Foundation, Brock Pierce who also happens to be the managing partner of Blockchain Capital was quoted by multiple publications while he was visiting Mumbai. Brock Pierce was one of the key speakers at the recently concluded SingularityU Summit. The Asia’s first Singularity University Summit was held in Mumbai, along with Brock Pierce other key speakers included Peter Diamandis – the cofounder and executive chair of Singularity University and also the CEO of XPRIZE Foundation, Rob Nail – CEO and Founder of Singularity University, Brad Templeton, Neil Jacobstein and Sanjay Sarma -VP of Open Learning at MIT.

Brock Pierce definitely gained the attention of bitcoin and blockchain enthusiasts in the country. Even the press was interested to know what he thought about bitcoin and blockchain technology in the Indian context. In one of the interviews on a leading Indian daily, Brock Peirce talks about the outlook for bitcoin industry, scalability issues, use of bitcoin in India and investments in the Indian market.

According to Brock Pierce people are wrongly associating bitcoin’s growth with the price, whereas the real metric should be its transaction volumes. With bitcoin transaction volumes growing every month, the digital currency is enjoying a healthy run. He believes that Bitcoin technology can change the greatly help India to achieve financial inclusion by offering blockchain powered financial services to the underbanked and unbanked population.

Remittance is one industry which definitely gained attention, so were the mentions of Abra and Ratan Tata’s investment in the startup. Brock himself is open to investing in Indian crypto-startups, but as a co-investor along with venture capital funds. Which bitcoin startup/company will be the first one to cash this cheque, we have to wait and watch.

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India is the second most populous country with a large mobile and internet user base. It is also one of the countries receiving the highest foreign remittance. On the other hand, India also has a considerable number of unbanked population. All these conditions are ideal for the implementation of bitcoin based financial services and products to meet the requirements.

However, in spite of having all the right conditions for bitcoin to thrive, India still falls behind when it comes to bitcoin adoption. The country with second largest population has just a handful of bitcoin businesses. Various attributes of bitcoin are compared with that of gold. The digital currency shares lots of similarities with the property of gold and it is also known as digital gold or gold 2.0 among the cryptocurrency circles.

Even though the country is known for its obsession with gold and jewelry, the digital version of the same – Bitcoin has not received the same interest in the subcontinent. This trend was also observed by the chairman of Bitcoin Foundation, Brock Pierce who was visiting India to participate in the SingularityU India Summit.

Brock Pierce went on to reiterate the advantages of bitcoin compared to other conventional services. He drove the point home by stating the example of money remittance services. It is known that money remittance services sometimes charge anywhere between 10-14 percent of the total funds transferred as transaction fees and it may vary depending upon the region from which the funds are sent. Bitcoin, due to its low transaction fees, can be an attractive alternative for people. They can save a lot on transaction fees when they use bitcoin for remittance than conventional fund transfer methods.

On the other hand, the Indian bitcoin community, as well as the central bank, are being proactive on the topic of digital currency. Indian bitcoin companies have already received international recognition and they are working within the prescribed framework applicable for money transfer and payments business, even though there are no specific regulations in this regard yet. Even the Reserve Bank of India has called for ideas and products involving blockchain technology for anti-counterfeiting and fraud prevention measures.

Ref: ET