India-based HighKart.com has become the country's first e-commerce firm to accept popular digital currency bitcoin as the only payment option on its website.
The online shop selling more than 150 products, ranging from digital currency mining equipment to fashion accessories, was launched by Delhi-based entrepreneur Amit Kumar. The company expects to add more items on its site going forward.
"As an e-commerce company, safe, simple and reliable payment solutions are important for our customers, and Bitcoin payment provides us with exactly this," the company said in a statement.
The firm's decision to be a bitcoin-only retailer is expected to help it offer competitive prices as it does not have to fork out commission to payment processors.
In addition, the company looks to bring the digital currency into the mainstream with the move.
"At HighKart We wanted to bring Bitcoin into mainstream, rather than keep it as a closed loop currency within the Bitcoin Community. We wanted to introduce Bitcoin to the common mass and help them onboard on HighKart as well," it said in a blog post.
"For people who own Bitcoins, it has become more of a saving rather than them putting them into some use, as in India; there was no other option till date. We wanted people to use Bitcoin in their day to day lives, thus helping them to be less dependent on the fiat currency which is fast depreciating."
Central Bank's Warnings
The Reserve Bank of India in December issued a statement warning consumers about the risks of digital currencies.
In addition, enforcement authorities raided the country's largest bitcoin trading platform, buysellbitco.in. Following the development, most of the country's bitcoin exchanges have halted their operations.
Despite the tough conditions for the bitcoin community, HighKart expects to bring a platform for bitcoin users to spend their digital currency on physical products that are legal in the country.
Bitcoin was launched in 2008 and is traded within a global network of computers. They can be transferred without going through banks or clearing houses, reducing fees involved in the services significantly.
The digital currency gained more popularity and value as more and more merchants started accepting bitcoins, boosting investors' morale.
Bitcoin is trading at $555.88 (€402.76, £331.99) as at 8:20 am GMT, according to CoinDesk Bitcoin price index.