India: Migration, Remittance & Bitcoin

At the time when bitcoin is rising on the popularity charts in India, Coinsecure and OKCoin have entered into a partnership to enable remittances into India via the blockchain technology. Bitcoin’s underlying technology – the blockchain is the buzz word in the financial technology space. The benefits offered by blockchain are too fascinating to ignore, which have made it the most talked about, researched and experimented financial technology in the present times.

A blockchain is a public ledger of all transactions that have ever been executed. It is constantly growing as ‘completed’ blocks are added to it with a new set of recordings. The blocks are added to the blockchain in a linear, chronological order through cryptography, ensuring that they remain meddle-proof. The blockchain thus stands as a tamper-proof record of all transactions on the network, distributed to all participants. It has to the potential to reduce costs for international payment transfers by one-third while accelerating the speed of such transactions.

The services will soon be available on Coinsecure’s website and mobile application. As per Coinsecure, “We aim to provide the lowest fee in the industry and with a proof of work over the blockchain network. This will drop fees from the traditional 3-5% to only 0.5%.”

Coinsecure is among the prominent bitcoin exchanges in India. It was founded by Mohit Kalra and Benson Samuel in mid-2014 while its Bitcoin exchange was launched on January 1, 2015. OKLink (network created by OKCoin) is a blockchain money transfer network that gives every remittance and payment company the same cost advantage, global reach, and speed of Western Union. Launched in August 2016, OKLink is growing rapidly and currently offers payouts in five countries, at over 100,000+ locations.

Coinsecure Co-Founder and CEO, Mohit Kalra stated, “Remittance will work over the network created by OKCoin called OKLink. It will enable Indian citizens to send or receive funds either in bitcoin or Indian Rupees from countries around the globe such as China, Hong Kong, Korea, Canada, Philippines and many more.”

“Coinsecure is the leading blockchain company in India and their commitment to our network is further validation for us and our shared vision of leveraging the trust of the blockchain to improve the end remittance experience for the Indian people” said Jack C. Liu, Chief Strategy Officer, OKLink.

Migrants, Remittances Bitcoin

Millions of migrants around the world send huge amounts in remittances each year to their countries of origin. In developing countries such as India, remittances are an important source of family as well as national income and a sound foreign exchange generator. A World Bank report highlights that, Remittances are better targeted at the needs of the poor than foreign aid or foreign direct investment (FDI), as recipients often depend on remittances to cover daily living expenses, to provide a cushion against emergencies, or to make small investments in business or education. Therefore, remittance services should be safe, efficient, and reliable.”

India has the second largest diaspora in the world, with around 25 million people living across 110 countries, as per the figures by the Ministry of External Affairs. With such a large overseas population, the inflow of strong remittances is understandable. According to a release by the World Bank, “Officially recorded remittances to developing countries amounted to $431.6 billion in 2015, an increase of 0.4% over $430 billion in 2014. India retained its top spot in 2015, attracting about $69 billion in remittances, followed by China with $64 billion, the Philippines ($28 billion), Mexico ($25 billion), and Nigeria ($21 billion).”

Other bitcoin exchanges in India such as Zebpay, Unocoin and BTXCIndia are witnessing the growing inquiry and interest of people to use bitcoin and blockchain as a viable solution to send money home. Sandeep Goenka, Co-founder, Zebpay believes that, “Bitcoin has the potential to save India $7 billion a year in fees charged by American companies like PayPal and Western Union. But more importantly this money goes in the pockets of families which need this money the most.”

The huge cost advantage and speed factor that a bitcoin remittance gateway offers is bound to see more and more Indian’s looking to process their remittances through bitcoin which would be a big boost to people’s familiarity, engagement and usage of bitcoins in India. (Related reading, see: Blockchain: The Backbone of Finance’s Entire Future)

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