India’s oldest crypto exchange is now allowing users to buy pizza, ice cream and coffee using Bitcoin

India’s oldest crypto exchange is now allowing users to buy pizza, ice cream and coffee using Bitcoin
Indians can now use Bitcoin to buy pizza, ice cream and coffeeMarcoVerch/Flickr
  • India’s oldest crypto wallet will allow users to exchange Bitcoin for pizza and ice cream vouchers.
  • Vouchers will only be available to users who have completed their verification process with the company.
  • Unocoin started in 2013 and has pivoted from the crypto wallet to crypto exchange model.
Indian crypto exchange and wallet Unocoin is allowing users to buy consumer items with cryptocurrencies. The implementation isn’t as simple as exchanging crypto for a consumer item, but it is a common workaround that’s been seen before. In an announcement on August 6, Unocoin said it will allow users to use Bitcoin worth ₹100 to ₹5,000 to buy vouchers that can be exchanged for other items.

Buy pizza with Bitcoin!

The company’s app will have a ‘Shop’ button where vouchers for Dominos, Indian coffee chain Cafe Coffee Day, ice cream chain Baskin & Robbins, and more will be available. The app will also show a dropdown menu, which includes vouchers in different INR denominations.

The corresponding value of Bitcoin will be deducted from the user’s wallet and a voucher code will be delivered to them, which can be redeemed with the corresponding brands.

While there are tens of thousands of physical outlets and e-commerce portals accepting Bitcoin as a mode of payment in countries like the US, our country doesn't have such acceptability yet. Our offering answers the popular question of where someone can spend bitcoin in India.

Statement by Sathvik Vishwanath, co-founder and chief executive officer of Unocoin

The catch is that only customers who have completed the know-your-customer (KYC) verification process will be able to buy vouchers.

The company isn’t the first one to take this approach in India though. Crypto exchange Zebpay, which also began as a wallet back in 2015, also used to allow users to exchange Bitcoin for vouchers. At the time, the company had partnered with Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart to provide vouchers that could be exchanged on the platform.

Unocoin was the country’s first crypto wallet, beginning in 2013, and eventually pivoting to the exchange model.

Growing interest in crypto

Unocoin’s announcement came two days ahead of one of the biggest boosts for India’s crypto sector. Crypto exchange CoinDCX announced a $90 million funding round, making it the first crypto unicorn from India with a valuation of $1.1 billion. The company’s funding round was led by investors like Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital, showing growing venture capital interest in crypto in India.

According to Chainalysis, crypto investments in India grew by almost six times to $6.6 billion in May 2021, from $923 million in April 2020.

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