Startup ePaisa which offers multi-lingual mobile-based applications for cash and card payments has launched a first-of-its-kind initiative enabling its merchant outlets to accept bitcoins as a mode of payment. The service will be available in around 500 outlets of epaisa in New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Surat and Ahmadabad.
“Around 35 thousand bitcoins have been traded in India last year, and there are around 50 thousand bitcoin users,” says Siddharth Arora, cofounder and CEO of ePaisa, who added that ePaisa merchants have the option of converting their bitcoins into Indian rupees and transferring it into their account.
So far, there has been no facility enabling smaller merchants to accept bitcoins in India. Only big retailers, especially from the US are accepting bitcoins,” said Arora, who expects that ePaisa merchants in Mumbai and Delhi to use the facility more than others, as these metros have a fair number of international customers as well as travelling Indian customers.
The company has employed an aggregation mode to enable bitcoin acceptance and has tied up with back-end bitcoin exchanges for this purpose. “We will soon introduce mobile wallet acceptance facility by tying up with other payment gateways. With bitcoin acceptance also being enabled, we aim to help our merchant outlets accept all modes of cashless payments through the app,” said Arora, adding that ePaisa is targeting reaching out to 25,000 merchants by 2020.
Sathvik Vishwanath, CEO of startup Unocoin, a bitcoin exchange and merchant processor says that mass acceptance of bitcoins by merchants is still a couple of years away. Vishwanath is also part of the Bitcoin Alliance India, which spreads awareness on crypto currencies. “We are seeing a monthly traction of 20% as far as bitcoin usage and acceptance is concerned. The US has 100 thousand business outlets that accept bitcoins. To get to that kind of number, India will take at least two-three years,” he said.
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To read the bitcoin white paper, visit: https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf