1) How did you first become involved with Bitcoin?
I am a regular reader at Zero Hedge. Coming from a investment background, i was sick of fiat money and the power of un-elected Central Bank Governor's to throw money at every economic problem. Somewhere around in Oct 2012, there was a article on zero hedge on Bitcoins which i came across. After going through the article, i knew the answer to all these fiat money problems was Bitcoins and that's when i started showing interest in Bitcoins.
2) What inspired you to create your own exchange?
After knowing about Bitcoins, i had some initial trouble trying to get hold of Bitcoins. I didn't consider mining as an option for obtaining Bitcoins. Even in India the local sellers were quoting Mt.Gox prices and then using the USDINR rate to derive those rates in Indian Currency. Even then you had to either physically meet to exchange Bitcoins or use escrow. If the buyer and seller are from India, why should they use Mt. Gox rates or for that matter the USDINR rates for deriving rates.
Knowing a fair bit of NEFT transactions conducted by Banks, I thought a better system could be evolved. Also, in Bitcoin India forums, a lot of times, people exchange quotes but they are scattered all across the board. I thought if I could create a system where they can quote their prices for everybody else to see at a single place, a equilibrium price for Bitcoins in India will evolve irrespective of price at other big exchanges such as Mt. Gox or BitStamp.
3) What sets your exchange apart from the competitors out there?
Currently in India, we have another exchange where the Buy and Sell quotes are provided by the administrator, if you want to transact there it has to be on those prices only. Here at INRBTC you can quote your own prices and wait for the transaction to happen at that price. Sometimes, if you want to buy Bitcoins then you can look at the sell orders and decide at what prices you will be able to buy the Bitcoins. As everybody's price requirements are different, eventually when a lot of buyers and seller quote on this platform an equilibrium price for Bitcoins in Indian currency will evolve.
Compared to quotes being exchanged on Bitcoin forums, those quotes are not iron-clad. The buyer or seller can back out any time on the forums after agreeing to trade at a price, whereas at INRBTC, every Buy and Sell order is backed by a 10% of order value. If the Buyer or Seller does not honor the trade commitment, then the counter party will get 5% of the order value as compensation. This system ensures that only serious buyers and sellers will transact on the INRBTC trading platform.
Compared to full fledged exchanges like Mt.Gox, members do not have to worry about our system getting hacked and losing their Bitcoins. Neither do they have to worry about Amount withdrawals into their Bank accounts.
INRBTC is a combination of localBitcoins and Mt.Gox.
It is a decentralized exchange.
4) What role do you see Bitcoin playing in the Indian economy in the next 3-5 years?
Given the fact that internet penetration is quite low in India, bitcoin's role in Indian economy will be fairly limited or negligible in the next 3-5 years.
5) What is the most important thing you learned (about bitcoin or otherwise) during your journey to launch an exchange?
Given that INRBTC type exchange does not exist in India, launching it was easy but gaining traction is taking it's time. A lot of newbie's have shown tremendous interest in this exchange and are using it transact in volumes less than 1 BTC, I would like to know the secret for converting established buyers and sellers to start using this exchange. We have already started the Market Makers initiative.
6) Do you see any threats to Bitcoins success in India?
Once bitcoin gains traction in the traditional businesses, then the existing financial establishment such as banks and payment processors will lobby for either a black listing of Bitcoins based business or a level playing field by getting them regulated too.
The success of Bitcoins in India will have been proved when the threats start.
7) From a global perspective what is the next step for Bitcoin?
I am hoping for a small country to adopt Bitcoin as it's national currency.