Here is how Indian techies are minting a fortune in bitcoins

BENGALURU: When 32-year-old Harshad Gawde first invested in bitcoins in 2013, he couldn’t have expected the returns from it to sponsor an all-India tour, beginning with a six-month trip through Roopkund hills in Uttarakhand. He will be living off $15 daily payouts from that investment.

“I invested in bitcoin when one coin was worth Rs 28,000, one-tenth of what it is today,” the Mumbai-based Gawde said. On August 30, one bitcoin was worth Rs 2,91,822—its value skyrocketing since Donald Trump’s election as the US president in November and spawning an industry of auxiliary services for people rushing in to find gold in the virtual currency.

A typical crypto currency mining rig runs round-the-clock, its performance depending on the high-end graphic cards and cooling systems used — not an inexpensive proposition at an average Rs 3 lakh a machine. Even so, several online vendors as well as individuals are investing in these machines to mine crypto currencies.

A Chandigarh-based online vendor, who calls himself Letsmine, is one such ‘miner.’ He has built and sold 90 mining rigs through eBay at a base price of Rs 3,00,000 each.

Letsmine has been selling rigs for the past one year, assuring customers that the investment can be recovered in 8-9 months.

Not just building rigs, “we even host rig of others at a monthly cost. We will install your rig at our location in a temperature-controlled room and charge monthly,” said a spokesperson for Delhi-based Gadgets Deal India, which also sells on eBay.

Bitcoins saw explosive growth in India after Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled high-denomination banknotes in November. Indian bitcoin exchanges have received a lot of traction in the past few months with more than 1 million active crypto-currency users.

CLOUD MINING
Some companies — Hashflare, Genesis and Bitconnect among them — have even set up so-called farms to collectively mine crypto currencies for individuals unable to assemble their own machines, for a fee. “Cloud-mining is the in-thing now,” said Gwade, who runs a bitcoin support website, bitcoinsupport24* 7, that receives about 10 email enquiries a day related to investments in bitcoin.

Bengaluru-based Nalegaonkar, who helps set up rigs for mining, has been contracted by real estate developers to convert entire floors into mining farms. In the last two months, “I have gotten contracts from two real estate developers to create in-house mining farms in Indore and New Delhi,” he said.

The lack of regulations, though, has cast a shadow over the bitcoin universe.
“Over the last six months, the (Reserve Bank of India) has issued several statements warning consumers about financial and regulatory risks associated with virtual currencies,” said Kannan Sivasubramanian, co-chief of research and advisory firm Aranca.
“Considering the rise in usage of such currencies across the world and in India, the government should look at putting a policy framework in place immediately.”

 

Comments
Load More Related Articles
Load More In News