India is now the second biggest user of Purse.io’s ‘Bitcoin Amazon’ as sweeping changes take effect over the country’s currency, the rupee.
Cash Removals ‘Strengthening the Common Man’
In a televised speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared this week that larger-denomination rupee bills, specifically 500 ($7.50) and 1000 ($15) rupees, would no longer be legal tender as of November 8.
“This step will strengthen the hands of the common man in the fight against corruption, black money and fake currency,” he said.
India has long suffered from the effects of corruption, particularly at government level. Modi has attributed the economy’s ill health specifically to this so-called “black money.”
“The five hundred and thousand rupee notes hoarded by anti-national and anti-social elements will become just worthless pieces of paper. The rights and the interests of honest, hard-working people will be fully protected,” he continued.
The decision came as a surprise to many, with the notes losing their official value just hours after Modi made the announcement. Holders of the notes have until December 30 to cash them in at banks or post offices “without limit.”
Modi also recapped on additional moves to monitor banking transactions and international partnerships aimed at cracking down on corrupt money transfers. As a largely cash-based society, however, it is unclear how the sudden reshaping will affect India’s swathes of unbanked people.
“Secrecy was essential for this action,” Modi explained.
India Racing Up BTC Charts
The nature of Indian commerce at non-official level, dealing in cash and mobile-based micropayments, has made it fertile ground for Bitcoin startups.
Kenya is often referred to as the African success story due to its leapfrogging traditional banking penetration. Likewise, India is already showing huge potential for bitcoin to empower citizens.
Bitcoin.com previously reported on local exchange Coinsecure’s pioneering real-time app, which seeks to cater to bitcoin holders of all levels, as well as efforts by Unocoin to offer Amazon purchases to unbanked shoppers.
Now, Unocoin partner Purse.io reports that India holds second place in the number of users making bitcoin purchases through its Amazon discount service.
“We’re happy to see India at #2,” the company tweeted Tuesday.
— Purse (@PurseIO) November 8, 2016
Meanwhile, in line with many markets around the world, India witnessed increased bitcoin trading ahead of the US election.
“There is uncertainty over who will win the election and what impact they will have. It is definitely going to increase the value of bitcoin, with chances that the figure may cross $850,” one Mumbai portfolio manager told local news resource The Economic Times in the lead-up to the vote.
Rupee trading on Localbitcoins has also showed steady growth over the past year.
What do you think about India’s monetary policy change? Are you there and using Bitcoin? Let us know your perspective in the comments section below.
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