While the volume and scale may not be huge by current industry standards, venture capital inflows into Indian Bitcoin companies have been hard not to notice this year. Long considered an obviously ripe market for Bitcoin adoption, the regulatory and banking establishments in India have, at times, hamstrung growth of a local commercial Bitcoin ecosystem, leading to frustration for companies building and gaining traction for their services as well as for outside capital looking to take advantage of a brimming opportunity.
But the main shackles hindering this growth came off in March, with the dramatic ruling by India’s Supreme Court just a few weeks before COVID-19 shutdown was implemented, overturning prior action from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) forbidding Indian banks from touching crypto, resulting in a slew of fresh funding rounds and attack plans.
Unocoin is the latest Indian Bitcoin company to capitalize on the momentum, announcing a new funding round with a Series A in process led by Draper Associates and with participation from Deribit backer XBTO Ventures. Upon completion, the round is expected to value Unocoin at $20 million. To learn more about its progress, as well as the changes happening for Bitcoin-focused projects throughout India, Bitcoin Magazine caught up with Unocoin Co-Founder and CEO Sathvik Vishwanath.
Vishwanath discussed the journey of his Indian Bitcoin exchange over the past seven years and explained that the drama of participating in a case before the Supreme Court was “like being in a movie.”
Tracing The Growth Of India’s Bitcoin Businesses
Between 2012 and 2016, an Indian Bitcoin exchange ecosystem developed and attracted outside capital, with a few players emerging as leaders in the market. Zebpay, Unocoin and Coinsecure each raised more than $1 million in funding and serviced a majority of the Indian market.
The RBI’s action to bar Indian banking institutions from dealing with crypto companies in 2018 — making it…