Gorakhpur’s StartUp Cafe becomes India’s first co-working space to accept Bitcoins
There has only been a single Bitcoin transaction at StartUp Cafe so far, but Founder Arunn Guptaa believes the cryptocurrency offers many benefits and will soon flourish.
With Bitcoin unarguably being the buzzword in the Indian market, several startups like Coinsecure, Zebpay, Bitxoxo, BTCXIndia and ThroughBit are now catering to the trading needs of cryptocurrency enthusiasts.
The fact that cryptocurrency is slowly gaining acceptance can be gauged from the fact that a co-working space in North India has started accepting Bitcoins as mode of payment.
So if you have Bitcoin, StartUp Cafe in Gorakhpur is sure to welcome you.
The co-working space, the first in Eastern Uttar Pradesh, was launched by Arunn Guptaa (30) in August 2017. Arunn, a graduate in business studies with a master’s degree in animation, has previously worked with e-commerce giants like Amazon, Snapdeal and Flipkart.
Now, the Founders - Arunn and his school friend Vibhore Jaiswal - want to help popularise Bitcoin, a digital asset and a decentralised currency.
Arunn says, “I got introduced to the world of cryptocurrency in mid-2013 when the price of a Bitcoin was only Rs 12,000. Now, on November 29, it has reached to Rs 7,28,912 per Bitcoin. My aim isn’t just to be an early bird in the domain of digicash but also to generate curiosity among visitors at StartUp Cafe and educate them.”
StartUp Cafe’s Bitcoin journey
So far, there has only been a single transaction in Bitcoin at StartUp Cafe, but Arunn believes it will increase in upcoming days as the co-working space is home to several technology and software startups familiar with the popular cryptocurrency.
The space has tied up with online Bitcoin trading merchants like Zebpay, Coinome and Unocoin.
Arunn believes the idea will flourish in some time, given its enormous benefits.
“When the era of the internet started, people took a long while to get used to it. Similarly, now, if you tell people that cash is just a number on your phone, they flip out. But clearly, this is the future we’re moving towards,” he says.
The system of Bitcoins is intricate and allows small amounts to be paid. When it comes to a digitised financial system, we are all still newbies, Arunn feels.
How bitcoin can benefit businesses
Bitcoin as a mode of payment can benefit merchants as well as consumers. For merchants, it eliminates transaction fees that they otherwise pay the payment processor and increases their profits by 1-5 percent. Bitcoin transactions can reduce reconciliation time from two to three days to two to three hours and also mitigate the risk of charge-back and other types of fraud.
At the consumer end, Bitcoin payment provides a faster mode of payment, keeps them safe from identity theft and credit card fraud. With an increase in profits, merchants may likely provide discounts to consumers.
“It is great to see that businesses are thinking of creating a mutually beneficial ecosystem, taking all stakeholders' interests into consideration. It’s a win-win case where businesses and consumers all get to save money,” Arunn adds.
Going ahead, he is hopeful that he won’t have trouble educating startups and clients as many IT startups are associated with the cafe and are familiar with the digital currency.
India’s adoption of Bitcoin
Though Bitcoin is gaining widespread popularity, the concept of cryptocurrency is still at a nascent stage in India. Bitcoin does not have regulatory clarity from the government and a clear regulatory framework will multiply the adoption rate among merchants and consumers in India.
To best regulate Bitcoin, the Indian government has formed a taskforce to evaluate the situation and come up with recommendations. This is expected to be completed in six months.
Assessing the high demand for legalising the digital currency, the Supreme Court also stepped forward and ordered the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to report on the risks of digital currencies in four weeks.
However, going ahead, if India decides to regulate Bitcoin, it would possibly fall under the jurisdiction of the RBI or the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
In the past few years, Bitcoin has witnessed worldwide adoption by multiple mainstream players, including Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft, Expedia and Dell. In many countries, governments have played a very active role in allowing Bitcoin exchanges to operate without the need for any commodity exchange license.
Will Bitcoin become mainstream? It’s too early to tell, but Startup Café is betting on it.