Even while multiple news outlets report India’s government readying to close cryptocurrency exchanges, its population continues to make steady progress in adopting bitcoin.
Indian Government Panel to Curb Cryptos
Several online regional news outlets claim a “government panel has advised the Centre to shut down cryptocurrency dealers/exchanges in a bid to curb the use of virtual currencies in India,” a line repeated among sites (Centre is the central government).
They each go on to cite such a decision “has come at a time when [the] cryptocurrency bitcoin has gained more currency,” according to the Economic Times. And with price increases, that tends to lead to greater adoption, something the government seems to want to prevent.
Issues relating to fiat have plagued the government in recent years, and evidently bitcoin adds to their fears. Bitxoxo CEO Hesham Rehman suggests “instead of shutting down cryptocurrencies dealers, the government must take steps to curb buying and selling of bitcoins or cryptocurrencies in cash.”
There is also growing speculation the government might attempt to issue its own digital currency.
Signs Point to Greater India Adoption
Whatever the case, more Indians are seeking out bitcoin in remittances, a move that could “can save India $5-7 billion in remittance fees alone every year,” reports Rahul Oberoi.
Exchanges are growing too. “Towards the beginning of this year, our customer base was around 100,000,” Sathvik Vishwanath, CEO of Unocoin noted. “In the first nine months of this year, it has gone up by five times, we are about to hit the half-million customer mark,” he’s quoted as telling The Hindu Business Line. Interest is widespread, as traders “come from all parts of the country, including Tier II and Tier III cities, according to the bitcoin exchanges,” the article states.
Mr. Vishwanath details India’s bitcoiners are “between 25 and 40 years in age. Eighty percent are male and 20 per cent, female.”
Bitcoin has even made its way to one of India’s largest pop concert gatherings, Ziro Music Festival. “When the festival concluded two weeks ago, to their surprise, the organisers found 1% of their total sales [were in] Bitcoin,” reports Factor Daily.
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Images courtesy of: Pixabay, Ziro Music Festival.