Ahmedabad-based startup Zebpay has raised $1-million (around Rs 6 crore) funding from angel investors, in order to promote bitcoins in India.
The funding round was led by Arjun Handa, chief managing director of Claris Life Sciences, Amit Jindal, managing director of Jindal Worldwide, Nagendra Chaudhary, chairman at Triangle Engineering and few other investors.
The company intends to utilize the fund to ramp up innovation of its blockchain based services and talent acquisition to proliferate the reach of its bitcoin wallet in India.
A part of the funding will be used to develop the blockchain technology, which is used to record bitcoin transactions in a secured manner. Incidentally, RBI has in the latest financial stability report, endorsed the potential of ‘blockchain’ as a future mode of technology for financial transactions.
Zebpay is a mobile bitcoin wallet that allows users to buy & sell bitcoin, to store bitcoin and also use the bitcoins to buy ecommerce site vouchers & recharge Mobile airtime across India. It aims at touching a 500 crore turnover by the end of the year by adding 1 lakh users to its mobile app.
Zebpay, a part of Zeb Ventures Pvt Ltd, was registered in Singapore in August 2014. The startup was founded by Mahin Gupta, Sandeep Goenka and Saurabh Agrawal. It had announced the launch of its ‘bitcoin’ mobile wallet in the country in March 2015.
It is a form of a virtual currency which operates through a complex chain of encryption independent of a central regulator.
Saurabh Agrawal, co-founder of Zebpay, said, ,
“Governments worldwide have acknowledged the fact that blockchain technology has potential to disrupt current financial systems and are exploring ways to benefit from it. It is currently in the nascent stage as what Internet was during the Iraq war. Even RBI, in its recent report on financial stability, has appreciated the strengths of the underlying ‘blockchain’ technology. Contrary to its previous note of caution, 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.”
Amit Jindal, who had pumped Rs 75 lakh in the previous round in ‘ of funding for Zebpay, said awareness about bitcoins in India is extremely low. “However, it is still an attractive investment destination because one or two years down the line, the prospect of cryptocurrency is promising,” he said.
In its 2015 financial stability report on disrup tions in financial technology, RBI identified the importance of ‘private blockchains’, which have the potential of transforming the functioning of back offices of banks and increasing the speed of payments. “With its potential to fight counterfeiting, the blockchain is likely to bring about a major transformation in the functioning of financial markets, collateral identification and payments systems,” the bank said.