The first global Bitcoin conference in India took place on December 14th and 15th in Bangalore, India. BTC Geek was invited as a media outlet to the event and we were very happy to be a part of a growing Bitcoin community in India. There were several things that stood out in the conference from our perspective, so I’ll list all of them here –
- Bitcoin is still in nascent stages in India: Not a lot of people who attended the conference seemed to know a lot about Bitcoin, in contrast to some of the other Bitcoin conference, such as the Inside Bitcoin conference in Las Vegas that we were also a part of.
- There is a lot of enthusiasm: There is a lot of enthusiasm from everyone – from the tech crowd to the traders to the dabblers. The people who attended the conference weren’t limited to just the geeks or libertarians or traders, as can often happen with such conferences. There was a good mix of people from very different backgrounds.
- The talks were basic and informative: This was keeping with the audience, I guess.
- The conference was expensive: By average Indian standards, the conference was quite expensive, although there were discounts if you had registered earlier. The reason I mention this is because even though the passes were quite expensive, there were still a lot of people who attended. The final price for the passes was Rs. 17,000 for the two day event, about $275.
- Lots of entrepreneurs and bankers: There were lots of entrepreneurs and bankers, although the bankers were not present in any official capacity. It seems that Bitcoin has successfully piqued the interest of many folks in India!
- Not focused only on trading: This was refreshing – even though Bitcoin is at a very nascent stage in India, it seemed that the interest was coming from many different sides of Bitcoin, not just trading, as happened in China. There were a lot of entrepreneurs in the crowd working on Bitcoin related merchant payments, for example.
- Unocoin launched: Unocoin officially launched at the conference, which would be a way to buy Bitcoin with your Indian Rupees. This joins BuySellBitcoin in doing the same.
The whole Bitcoin ecosystem is still at an early development stage, but it was good to see a lot of interest and enthusiasm. India can become a successful Bitcoin market for a number of reasons – high inflation, world’s biggest remittance market, good software workforce, etc. Even though Bitcoin is off to a slow start, the interest seems to be steadily on the rise. The recent comments about Bitcoin in the Indian news media is only helping, and the government has, even recently, said that it will keep away from trying to regulate Bitcoin.
What do you think about the potential of Bitcoin in India?