Zebpay, a mobile bitcoin company, raised close to $1 million in Series A funding led by equity investor Arjun Handa, CMD and VP of Claris Life sciences, along with Amit Jindal, MD of Jindal worldwide, and other investors. The funding will be utilised for talent acquisition and further escalating the company’s blockchain-based services, which allows users to securely send and receive bitcoins and browse block chain information. The two investors will also be joining the board of directors.
“Governments worldwide have acknowledged the fact that blockchain technology has the potential to disrupt current financial systems and are exploring ways to benefit from it. Zebpay has set up a dedicated blockchain lab in order to leverage blockchain power to innovate authentication, authorisation, and proof of existence. It is working with a few government sections to offer innovative blockchain solutions which can save thousands of crores in redundant expenses,” said Saurabh Agrawal, Co-Founder, Zebpay.
He added that the platform is building avenues to use coins using technology, which is currently in the nascent stage. It has created a platform where users are not required to fill complicated information like bitcoins address, instead it has linked it to mobile number. Zebpay's mobile bitcoin wallet allows its over 25,000 users to buy, sell, and store bitcoin and also use the bitcoins to buy e-commerce site vouchers and recharge mobile airtime across India. It aims to touch Rs 500 crore turnover by the end of the year, by adding 1 lakh users to its mobile app.
The platform was launched in 2012 and was previously called BuySellBitco.in. In 2014, it was renamed as Zeb IT Service Pvt Ltd and its app as Zebpay.
On investment, Arjun and Amit unanimously echoed the same sentiments and said, “We saw a lot of promise in what was happening at Zebpay and the founders also demonstrated a perfect combination of tech and business acumen that lead to quick decision to invest.”
Market and competition
According to experts, in cryptocurrencies, the approximate corresponding market capitalisations of Bitcoin is worth $13 billion. With approximately 20 million bitcoin wallets opened to date, Bitcoins are creating a strong foothold in India.
Amidst the rising growth, many companies are exploring opportunities in the segment. Unocoin, BTCX, and Coinsecure are some of the platforms dealing in this segment. Last year, Ratan Tata also became part of the bitcoin industry with his investment in Abra, a Silicon Valley bitcoin startup.
On competition, Saurabh said, “We have the technical expertise to work on blockchain which is the main technological innovation of Bitcoin and a rare commodity in this young industry. Zebpay is all set to become the market leader in bitcoin and blockchain technology in India with a vision for bringing in revolutionary new solutions in the financial ecosystem and take this emerging technology to the masses.”
In November 2013, Bitcoin made headlines as the price of a single coin hit an all-time high. Mt. Gox one of the original and biggest bitcoin exchanges, based in Tokyo, recorded the high at $1,242 per coin.
In 2015, many countries realised the growth and legalised the bitcoins. Indian government is also taking it positively. Contrary to its previous note of caution, RBI, in its recent report on financial stability, has appreciated the strengths of the underlying 'blockchain' technology. It has praised the intrinsic potential of the technology to help check counterfeiting and bring a major transformation in financial infrastructure, collateral identification, and the payments system.
In the past few years, opinions have drastically changed on the use of bitcoins. However, it’s too early to vouch for the virtual currency as it will be tested on various grounds.