The latest figures from LocalBitcoins show that there has been an increase in the number of users as well as the use of the world’s top digital currency, Bitcoin, in India.
According to Coin Dance, weekly LocalBitcoins volume for Bitcoin rose by over 100 percent in the week of Nov. 26 compared to the previous week - that is 27.7 mln Indian Rupee (INR) in the week of Nov. 26 compared to 16.3 mln INR in the week of Nov. 19.
Several factors could have been responsible for this surge. Top among them is the recent demonetization of certain denominations in India’s currency. As the world’s largest receiver of remittances, Indians were abruptly stopped from using the old 500 INR and 1000 INR. Another factor that could have contributed to the surge is the rumor that the government plans on banning gold imports.
However, while it could be said that the total amount of the currently traded figure - which tops at an equivalent of approximately $408,000 weekly - could still be considered disproportionate to the huge market potential of Bitcoin in a country like India, it shows that the digital currency is gradually picking up particularly when looking at it from the perspective of the values involved.
Low Bitcoin awareness
The scrapped 500 INR and the 1000 INR are the largest notes in India. When exchanged to the USD, they give an equivalent of about $7.30 and $14.60 respectively.
India has about 1.3 bln people, making it the second most populous country in the world behind China. The low level of awareness and the relative infancy of the digital currency still makes it extremely difficult to envisage a huge spike in Bitcoin use at this point. This may change with time but with the look of things, the number of people buying and/or using Bitcoin in the country is still small.
It is also not misleading to say that the current rise in volume was a relatively easy rise when compared to the previous record, especially when it is considered that Bitcoin is just finding its feet in the country. The point that sinks, however, is that it has finally taken off.