02/02/2015 3:55 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:24 AM IST

Indian Hawkers To Market Online Currency That Could Rival Bitcoin


Singapore: Popular hawkers on Indian streets would be roped in by an NRI-owned non-profit private organisation for an online network of merchant banking that market a digital currency like Bitcoin.

Canada-based Trestor Foundation's founder Kunal Dixit said such small businesses, which forms part of the two billion people without banking facilities worldwide, will form the base of "Trest" or digital tokens as a form of online currency.

"Our retailers in India would include chaiwalas, gol gappewalas and raddiwalas to market the Trest using their smart phones," Dixit told PTI after a conference on Inside Bitcoin over the weekend in Singapore.

He estimates Indian retailers, most of whom have no banking facilities, would account for a quarter of the global two billion non-banking people around the world to retail Trest, launched earlier this month.

Each Trest is valued at one US cent and its price is linked to gold, said the Ludhiana-born and Chandigarh-educated Dixit.

The core team of Dixit, who at 30 runs a bioinformatics company QualCount in Ottawa, at Trestor Foundation has 12 Indians and one Iranian.

"We have built up a network of 300 retail partners in over 51 countries over the last 60 days," said Dixit who held a soft launch of the protocol in Singapore last Friday.

"Our job is to create a business where person-to-person money transaction happens. There is no third party involvement," he said.

He expects Trest to become a common digital token with stored value like Bitcoin which has a capital value of USD 3.5 billion. "Our starting market cap will be USD $1 billion."

He stressed that Trest's link to gold price would make it popular given the 5,000-year-old history of the yellow metal and its tradeable cap of USD7.5 trillion.

"Right now we are 0.015 per cent of the gold price but we want to be one per cent in five years. That means USD1 investment today would be USD76 based gold price then," he explained.