India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetization of two banknotes in the country November 9th of last year. The 500 and 1,000 notes were said to be holding the economy back and were mainly used by the black markets. The government gave the Indian citizens only a short month to deposit their bills into the bank.
Simultaneously to the banknotes being taken out of circulation, the government limited ATM withdrawals to 2,000 rupees per day, and a weekly maximum of 20,000. There have been 33 reports of suicides since the demonetization, reportedly due to frustration and exhaustion from waiting in lines to receive money from banks.
As a result of the unstable economic status in India, many businesses have begun to use Bitcoin. Bitcoin exchanges Coinsecure, Zebpay and Unocoin have seen increases in trade volume and a large increase in demand within the country. Saurabh Agarwal — the cofounder of a local cryptocurrency exchange Zebpay — stated, “Our trade volume in November touched .Rs 120 crore, up by 25% compared to October, and our revenue grew 25% as well.”
Similarly, Coinsecure has seen a 300% increase in user sign-ups and Unocoin has seen a threefold spike to 120,000 from their report last November. As markets become more volatile worldwide, it is expected we will see an increase in demand for Bitcoin as many are looking for an alternative way to hold their savings.