Abhishek Bhandari of Asiadigicoin (ADCN) explains how the ongoing demonetization of India helps Bitcoin and other digital currencies.
Cointelegraph: Would you say the recent demonetization in India is a step in the right direction?
Abhishek Bhandari: Well for centralized currency it is a great step and a temporary solution for a country like India where we are facing a lot of problems like corruption, fake currency, black money, etc. The Indian economy needed such a step to clean and refresh the whole currency mechanism.
CT: Is the business community faring well from this initiative?
AB: All businesses have been halted for the last one month as people have been busy exchanging the old currency and this has impacted businesses very badly. This time is the wedding season in India, and all such businesses are facing lots of issues. The food industry, dairy industry and all seasonal businesses will face big losses, I guess due to this decision.
CT: How has it affected the ordinary Indian?
AB: It has been both positive and negative. In the long-term, it can be a positive step to flush out black money or unaccounted money and bring that balance in the society where the government can now plan programs for citizens according to the available currency supply in the market.
The Indian government is developing a lot of initiatives to create a cashless society and pushing all to make digital transactions.
Being such a big country, this step was a shocker for many who are uneducated and do not have any access to the banking system because the old currency can be deposited only in banks or post offices. For them, it is a great challenge to cope with this action and become digital money users overnight.
The limited supply of new cash has impacted businesses as well as 90 percent of the Indian society, as transactions are only happening in cash now. Moreover, the limits on withdrawal have chained the hands of people from using their hard earned money.
CT: Has the situation made Indians turn to Bitcoin?
AB: Yes this has been an eye opener for many who were learning but were skeptical about Bitcoin, Asiadigicoin or other decentralized cryptocurrencies and since then Bitcoin has been selling at a higher rate in India than on the international market. Now, people are more open to understanding the concept and perceive cryptocurrency to be better, safer and a more secure form of money to store their wealth.
CT: Do you think the quest for a cashless society in India will succeed?
AB: It's a very very hard task to make India cashless overnight, but eventually I am sure people would adapt to the changing economy, as Indians are quick learners. Our government is making efforts to help people learn how to make digital transactions. Power Hashing, as a community, is also very active in making people aware of the upcoming trend of cashless transactions with digital currencies and have also been continuously conducting educational seminars.
CT: Are Indians supportive of this rushed policy?
AB: It has been a mixed response from the society, people are not denying the problems faced, but most people support this decision. Standing in lines at banks and ATMs is frustrating for them, but they have hope for the long-term benefits.