Bitcoin Interest Grows in India From Cross-Border Payments and Corporate Support

Bitcoin Magazine
Bitcoin Interest Grows in India From Cross-Border Payments and Corporate Support
bitcoin-india

Tech giants including Microsoft and IBM have been supporting Bitcoin startups, conferences, accelerators and developers in India. The efforts of these companies are beginning to pay off, as India has seen a gradual increase in the number of developers and freelancers in the Bitcoin ecosystem.

“There is lot of interest from freelancers in India who suddenly are now getting bitcoins from U.S.-based companies, and then they scramble to understand what is bitcoin,” Indian Bitcoin startup Blockonomics founder Shiva Sitamraju told Bitcoin Magazine.

The increase of Indian freelancers’ and developers’ involvement with Bitcoin startups and organizations has created an efficient environment for local people to buy and purchase bitcoins instantly.

“From publicly available sources that display data transparently, like LocalBitcoins and Coinsecure, we see about $4 million-$5 million USD moving in bitcoin in India every month. Apart from that, the forums see few 100 BTC being traded as well,” India’s prominent Coinsecure founder Benson Samuel explained.

Barriers Toward Adoption

Indians are skeptical toward new technologies. It took years for the Internet and smartphones to take off in the country, and it may take even longer for bitcoin to reach mainstream adoption in India.

But, Sitamraju told Bitcoin Magazine, once bitcoin is adopted by a substantial part of the Indian population, it could really explode across the country, especially in rural and underbanked regions.

“Indians are slow technology adopters, and we are far behind China/U.S. in bitcoin adoption. … [O]nce the early adopters/risk [takers] adopt it and enough user-centric applications [sprout]… this stuff really explodes in India. Indians are second-biggest users of blockchain.info, and today, we are seeing growing merchant adoption,” said Sitamraju.

Some of the Indian population’s skepticism towards bitcoin may be due to the Indian government’s tight regulations and restriction for the finance/banking sector. Currently, fewer than 35.5% of households in India maintain bank accounts, and less than 20 percent of the Indian population owns credit cards or debit cards.

“More education and good press coverage is necessary. India has a tightly regulated finance/banking sector and so people/government is a bit weary of new financial instruments,” explained Sitamraju. “It is important to stress than bitcoin is not evil. Tipping people [in] bitcoin so that they can themselves experience the power of the technology is an easy way. Also if major Internet merchants here accept bitcoin it would be a major driving force, as e-commerce companies like Flipkart, Amazon are now booming in India.”

Bitcoin’s Potential

The number of Internet users has been growing at an annual rate of 32 percent, as the cost of smartphones with 3G and 4G data plans and Wi-Fi access have decreased substantially over the last two years. Today, India has more than 300 million Internet users, and the majority are mobile users.

Because of widespread smartphone penetration in India, many users have begun using mobile bitcoin applications such as Blockchain.info and Coinsecure. To continue to this trend, extraordinary bitcoin startups such as Blockonomics emerged over the last few months, to ease the use of bitcoin for the Indian population.

Blockonomics is a simplified wallet watcher that allows users to track transactions and balance of many public bitcoin addresses at one place. Through Blockonomics, users can receive instant notifications and quick overview of pending and confirmed transactions in their wallets.

However, “We are not planning a wallet service, as we believe that the major strength of bitcoin is decentralization and that people should retain control of their own coins,” Sitamraju told Bitcoin Magazine. “We are planning to be a one-stop destination for managing crypto finances having advanced graphs/analytics and eventually becoming the Mint.com of bitcoin.”

Startups such as Blockonomics in HackCoin or bitcoin accelerators recently have been focused on creating Bitcoin applications that could provide users with advanced analytics and data about Bitcoin.

 

Photo via Coinsecure

The post Bitcoin Interest Grows in India From Cross-Border Payments and Corporate Support appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Blockstream’s Pieter Wuille Proposes Tree Signatures for Improved and Flexible Multisig Bitcoin Transactions
sfdev-pwuille2

In June, Bitcoin Magazine reported that Blockstream launched Sidechain Elements, a sidechain development framework with open source code, including an experimental sidechain for developers dubbed Elements Alpha. Now, in the first technical post to appear on the Blockstream blog after the announcement of Sidechain Elements, Blockstream and Bitcoin Core developer Pieter Wuille proposes the intriguing concept of Tree Signatures, an efficient multisig method with enhanced privacy.

Blockstream was formed by renowned cryptography experts, including some Bitcoin Core developers, to accelerate innovation in digital currencies and implement the sidechain concept described in the paper “Enabling Blockchain Innovations with Pegged Sidechains,” released in October. In November, Blockstream closed a $21 million seed funding round with nearly 40 high-profile investors.

Tree signatures, which can be coded only in the extended Alpha scripting language, can implement M-of-N multisig transactions (which required more than one keyholder to participate) more efficiently than Bitcoin scripting. Wuille shows how to combine Merkle trees and Schnorr signatures to implement large M-of-N multisig schemes:

“Merkle tree keys support very large 1-of-N. Schnorr signatures support very large M-of-M. This means that if we can write our spending conditions as a 1-of-(N possible M-of-M’s), we can build a Merkle tree consisting of Schnorr combined public keys.”

An interesting feature of the new multisig scheme is that only the keys actually used for signing are exposed to the public. For example, in a 1-of-N multisig policy, only one key is revealed on spending and the other keys stay hidden.

Wuille gave a talk titled “Key Tree Signatures: A Mechanism for Very Large, Compact, Efficient Multisig” at the SF Bitcoin Devs Group.

“In our first sidechain, Elements Alpha, we introduced several improvements to the cryptography and scripting abilities of Bitcoin,” reads Wuille’s abstract. “In this talk, I will discuss how some of these features can be used to build an improved multisig construction that is more efficient, compact, and flexible.”

A video of the talk will soon be posted online. In the meantime, Wuille posted his presentation slides.

Sidechains are a fundamental innovation because they permit separating the codebase and functionality of a blockchain (sidechain) from its currency. A sidechain can implement all sorts of innovative changes from Bitcoin Core, while still carrying bitcoin as a currency by means of two-way pegs that permit transferring bitcoin to the sidechain and back. Therefore, sidechains permit innovating without threatening the stability of Bitcoin or having to introduce ad-hoc altcoins. Elements Alpha is the first experimental sidechain, and, hopefully, it will be followed by operational sidechains.

Sidechains could put private bitcoin transactions back and adapt to anti-privacy techniques as they are developed. One of the most interesting features in Elements Alpha is Confidential Transactions, a cryptographic tool to improve the privacy and security of bitcoin transactions by keeping the amounts transferred visible only to participants in the transaction. Richard Gendal Brown, an executive architect for banking innovation at IBM UK, who wrote a simple but excellent explanation of sidechains, is persuaded that Confidential Transactions are a good step forward.

“Confidential Transactions are a very clever application of cryptography to hide the value of transactions whilst still allowing them to be fully validated by the network,” wrote Gendal Brown. “Without features like Confidential Transactions (or related technology such as ZeroCoin or ZeroCash), [Bitcoin-like] systems may be unsuitable for those with confidentiality and privacy requirements.” He added that perhaps Confidential Transactions aren’t a full solution, but they are a good start.

It’s important to bear in mind that sidechains will be able to operate with bitcoin as a currency only after suitable hooks are implemented in Bitcoin Core, which might encounter some resistance.  A Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) to allow for bitcoin sidechains is in the works.

Photo by Denise Terry

The post Blockstream’s Pieter Wuille Proposes Tree Signatures for Improved and Flexible Multisig Bitcoin Transactions appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

ANNOUNCING THE NOV 8 – 11 MOBILE PAYMENTS EXCHANGE
mpe

Three days of focused, structured business development and information exchange about the state of mobile payments.

USA: Industry leaders are predicting a drastic climb in mobile payments over the next four years. Researchers estimate that Mobile payment transactions will reach $800 billion by 2019, and that number will continue to grow. As customers continue to demand a convenient and seamless mobile checkout process, merchants are scurrying to keep up with those demands.

Organizations have been spending up to six or seven figures on building mobile apps or mobile sites for the company. These companies have been seeing extensive growth in mobile traffic and engagement, but they lack direct ROI from these upgrades. One of the biggest challenges is the checkout process that takes too long to complete and the technology disruptions that continue to occur. Shopping cart abandonment rate is 97% on mobile devices, and if organizations can get 2% of those potential sales to complete checkout processes, online sales would double.

CIOs and senior technology executives are fully aware of the consumer demands and the need to make these upgrades now. Some key challenges that technology executives have addressed when implementing mobile payments include:

Integrating technology with legacy systems and determining what technologies will work best with current solutions
Converting current mobile traffic into sales by implementing a seamless mobile payment process
Building customer trust around mobile security
Keeping up with consumers wants and expectations mobile shopping and POS mobile purchases

The Exchange is delivered in a format that is wholly conducive to true peer-to-peer networking. Each Exchange provides opportunities to learn best practices through numerous interactive sessions, listen to in-depth case studies from leading solution providers, and attend one-on-one business meetings.

For Mobile Payment solution providers wanting to increase their presence and truly help these organizations meet consumer demands and drive ROI via mobile technology, the Mobile Payments Exchange is essential.

Visit the Mobile Payments Exchange website to learn more about how to get involved: http://goo.gl/pD7ICL

About IQPC Exchange:

IQPC Exchange is a division of IQPC, which now has offices in major cities across six continents including: Berlin, Dubai, London, New York, Sao Paulo, Singapore, India, Sydney, Tampa and Toronto. Each year IQPC offers approximately 2,000 worldwide conferences, seminars, and related learning programs. IQPC’s large-scale exchanges are market-leading “must attend” events for their respective industries.

 

###

 

For more information:

Alexander Abell

Marketing Manager – Mobile Payments Exchange

813-658-2566

Alexander.Abell@iqpc.com

The post ANNOUNCING THE NOV 8 – 11 MOBILE PAYMENTS EXCHANGE appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.