• Users of an Indian cryptocurrency exchange can now use Bitcoin to purchase pizza, ice cream, and coffee

  • Despite the fact that skeptics continue to argue that the digital asset industry is a giant bubble waiting to burst, there is no denying that crypto adoption has grown in recent years, even in countries where one would least expect it.

    In India, for example, a local exchange called Unocoin, which was founded in 2013, is now allowing locals to exchange their Bitcoin (BTC) for vouchers that can be used to buy pizzas, ice cream, coffee, and other items.

    While the scheme appears to be quite simple on paper, according to a statement released by the company, the implementation will be carried out in a step-by-step manner at first, especially because exchanging crypto for consumer items in India requires a lot of regulatory clearances.

    For those who are unaware, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) — the country’s central banking authority — issued a blanket ban on the local digital currency market in 2017, a decision that was later overturned by the Supreme Court on the grounds that it was illegally implemented. However, since last year, the current government has repeatedly hinted at the possibility of enacting another such ban.

    As a result, Unocoin’s decision to come forward and allow Indian citizens to use their cryptocurrency for everyday purchases demonstrates how popular digital currencies are becoming.

    Unocoin’s spokesperson recently revealed that as part of the exchange’s latest venture, users will be able to use Bitcoin worth $100 to $5,000 ($1 – $70 approx.) to obtain vouchers that can later be redeemed for a variety of items.

    To elaborate, it has been discovered that Unocoin’s native smartphone app now includes a ‘Shop’ button through which users can spend their vouchers in exchange for items sold by prominent local outlets such as pizza-retail giant Dominos, Indian coffee chain Cafe Coffee Day, ice cream manufacturer Baskin Robbins, and others.

    Furthermore, Unocoin’s app will now include dropdown menus for all participating merchants, providing prospective buyers with various INR denominations as well as their corresponding BTC value. Regarding the overall development, Sathvik Vishwanath, co-founder and CEO of Unocoin, was quoted as saying:

    However, it should be noted that only Unocoin users who have completed the necessary know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) verification procedures will be able to purchase the aforementioned crypto vouchers.

    A few years ago, the Indian crypto trading platform Zebpay began allowing users to spend their cryptocurrency in exchange for a variety of products through one of the country’s leading e-commerce retailers, Flipkart. However, the move was short-lived, as Zebpay ran into a slew of regulatory roadblocks that stymied the company’s ambitious crypto vision.

    Furthermore, just days before Unocoin’s announcement, another local exchange, CoinDCX, announced that it had received $90 million in funding, making the company India’s first crypto unicorn — with a total valuation of $1.1 billion. In fact, a number of major players, including Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, spearheaded the fundraiser.

    Last but not least, according to a recent study released by blockchain analytics provider Chainalysis, crypto investments flowing into the Indian crypto ecosystem have increased from $0.9 billion to a whopping $6.6 billion in the last year alone. As a result, it will be interesting to see how things progress for the market from here.

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