At a time when bitcoins are in focus also for the wrong reasons, cryptocurrency dealer Pluto Exchange on Thursday announced the launch of India's first mobile application for transacting in virtual currencies.
At a press conference here, Pluto Exchange founder and Chief Executive Bharat Verma said his company is all set to launch the country's first app-based wallet that enables bitcoin transactions using a mobile number.
"The Pluto Exchange mobile app offers a solution to the coordination problem between payment processors, financial gateways and banks," Verma said.
"All other apps already in the market do transactions using bitcoin addresses, which are long and prone to error while copying. Pluto Exchange will change this scenario by enabling transactions using mobile numbers only, which are just 10 digits," he said.
By using a four-digit personal identification number (PIN), users can now buy, sell, store and spend bitcoins via a mobile number, Verma added.
Elaborating, he said the app would permit a range of transactions, including payments, remittances, business-to-business commerce, supply chain finance, asset management and trading.
He also said that the Reserve Bank of India is concerned about the use of cash for dealing in virtual currencies, whose values have turned volatile recently.
"The RBI considers bitcoins as decentralised trading that is completely unregulated... so their status is not clear," he said.
In India, there are at least 15 bitcoin exchange forums, with the majority being set up over the past two years.
Bitcoin values in New York, for instance, have soared nearly 1,600 per cent over the past year and currently range upwards of $15,000.
In India, bitcoins have been trading at more than Rs 10 lakh each, while people are investing amounts ranging from Rs 3,000 to several lakhs of rupees to buy these.
According to investigation agencies here, with the demand and price of cryptocurrencies on the rise, cyber criminals have found innovative ways to dupe those looking to invest.