Category Archives: hundi

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Jonathan Stacke – Bitcoin in India

Jonathan Stacke – Bitcoin in India:

Jonathan Stacke writes on Bitcoin in India for his latest article on The Genesis Block (@TheGenesisBlock). Excerpts:

“With talk of inflation and capital controls familiar to the bitcoin community, one might think Indian citizens would be jumping at the opportunity to adopt the digital currency, yet the hurdles to wide-scale bitcoin proliferation in India may be significant for the foreseeable future. While demand for gold has grown in India, the multiple applications it offers culturally and industrially in addition to acting as an alternative store of wealth may mean that such demand does not translate to bitcoin.”

“[A correlation exists] between bitcoin adoption and internet penetration in a given country. India, with just 12.6% of its citizens having internet access, has the sixth lowest internet penetration of the 100 largest countries. Despite that fact, the size of the total Indian population – more than 1.2 billion – makes India the third largest internet-using population in the world, with 150 million users, behind only China and the US.”

“It is possible to buy and sell bitcoin through a number of websites including and there does appear to be a healthy LocalBitcoins market.”

“Not to be overlooked is India’s mobile phone penetration of 71%, or approximately 900 million total users. […] only 44 million Indians are smartphone subscribers.”

“M-PESA, the mobile payment system that has changed the lives of millions in Kenya recently rolled out in India. […] If mobile payment systems like these gain traction in India as they have in Africa, acceptance of digital currency would prove to be a less significant hurdle.”

“India had the highest remittance volume in the world in 2011 with $58 billion, or 3.1% of GDP, according to the World Bank.”

“Forward-thinking companies like Buttercoin have recently stepped in to apply the potential of bitcoin to these markets […]”

“The Reserve Bank of India has stated that it does not immediately intend to regulate bitcoin, but their historic actions indicate that may change soon enough […]”

 – (Further discussion of this article)

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Makeshift Magazine – Hawala, Moving Billions

Makeshift Magazine – Hawala, Moving Billions:

Writer Philippa Young (@_philippayoung_)’s article Thin Wire in the quarterly magazine Makeshift (@MkShftMag) describes Hawala.  Excerpts:

“Hawala, hundi, chiti, chop, and dozens of other names describe a system that moves billions of dollars across grey and black markets, faster and cheaper than your local bank.”

“Before insurance and high-speed travel, moving large amounts of bullion by sea or camel-led caravan was not only slow but also incredibly risky. The answer? Never move the money.”

“In its infancy, hawala created a safe and smooth journey for long-distance merchants, facilitating the first movements of globalized trade. Fast-forward a few hundred years, and hawala has a less celebrated reputation.”

“For families in developing countries supported by diaspora relatives, hawala is a lifeline.”

“Hawala is recordless. With just a name and telephone number, you can transfer thousands of dollars across continents.”

“Just one month from now, First Somali Bank will launch a system to allow diaspora communities of Minnesota and London to send remittances from their mobile phones directly to a recipient’s debit card in Somalia— signs of attempts to formalize hawala’s informal success.”

“The system differs from neighboring Kenya’s M-PESA system in that the money goes directly into the recipient’s bank account. Each person becomes his or her own hawaladar.”

“If money makes the world go round, then hawala is the undervalued engine coughing out a cloak of grey-black smoke.”

 – (Further discussion of the article)

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