On 27th, November 2017, a talk had been arranged by the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce, in the FKCCI building, K.G.Road, Bangalore. The gathering consisting mainly of members of the chamber was addressed by Mr Satvik Vishwanathan, CEO of Unocoin.com, one of the early entrants into the Bitcoin trading in India. He made an excellent presentation on why Bitcoin is a great investment. As could be expected, the talk focused on how Bitcoin price has grown by 9000% in the last few years and how it is a good substitute for fiat currency holding etc.
Many in the audience were perhaps impressed and decided that part of their export sales should be collected in Bitcoins.
After the meeting, promotional vouchers of Rs 500/- were distributed free to all the participants as seed money in the form of “Bitcoins” if they register in the Unocoin.com website.
There was a brief discussion at the end of the talk in which the undersigned cautioned the participants that until RBI and SEBI approve legitimacy of the Bitcoin, investment should not be considered. Some aspects such as the possible use of Bitcoins for Black Money hoarding was also briefly pointed out by some members.
However, the event itself being held in the FKCCI building under the patronage of the Chamber , and the recent two page ad in Sunday Express, indicate that the Promotion of Bitcoins is going unabated while the RBI and the Government is dithering and not coming out with a decision to ban crypto currencies.
Many in the audience were perhaps sold on the dream of Bitcoin soaring to the Moon/Mars faster than NASA’s rockets. The meeting was therefore successful in its objective of promoting Bitcoins as an investment and as an alternative to currency. Mention was also made about some entities in Bangalore receiving Bitcoin as a payment for goods and services as if the practice is welcome.
Will the dreams of a Bitcoin investment soaring to the skies be a reality? only time will tell. But if people invest their hard earned money and lose, all responsible persons particularly in the regulatory structure in the country should take responsibility.
One of the participants mentioned that when a Malaysian Company made a marketing tour of India and sold the concept of investing in their Gold Coins, many lost money and about 56 persons committed suicide. I recalled that when that meeting was held in Chennai, I had shot off a letter to the DGP there predicting that it would be a scam one day. Ofcourse, DGP did not heed to the caution and investments were made by many. Similarly, today we are looking at another dream called Bitcoin and perhaps one more set of suicides in the coming days.
The RBI Governor and Mr Arun Jaitely will perhaps wake up when there is some major calamity that will result in a number of people losing their investment in Bitcoins. Until then, the dream of a $10000 value per Bitcoin will be attracting greedy people like moths take to light.
On our part, it is a fair speculation that some of the decision makers in the Government are sold out to Bitcoin industry because it represents the cumulative strength of all the black money which Mr Modi wanted to remove from the system. The Politicians, Criminals as well as Business men and IT evaders have all got vested interests in ensuring continuation of Bitcoins in use and are happy with the RBI not coming up with a ban but continuing to make ridiculous statement that “They are observing”.
It is depressing to note that Corruption is showing its strength and even Mr Modi is unable to kill Bitcoin which is the alter ego of Black money.
Hope Mr Modi will wake up from his slumber atleast after the Gujarat elections and talk about demonetization of crypto currencies in his next Man Ki Bat.