Interest in bitcoin among Indians has never been higher, as new and old adopters continue to drive bitcoin trades to soaring highs – despite the cryptocurrency’s premium prices driven by demand – at a time when the country is still left reeling from the ongoing government-induced demonetization drive.
According to Coin.Dance, bitcoin trading volumes on prominent peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange platform LocalBitcoins have nearly doubled previous all-time highs from late 2015 and mid-2016. The most recent stat shows a record high of 27,670,106 INR (approx. $402,940) for the week until November 26.
Buying rates through LocalBitcoins average around 58,000 INR (approx. $844), a premium of over 15%. The premium rises for buying through Unocoin, a prominent KYC-enabled bitcoin exchange in the country, at 61,142 INR ($890) at the time of publishing.
The bitcoin exchange is predictably pushing for wider adoption of the cryptocurrency among Indians by making it easier to transact, exchange and store the cryptocurrency with the release of new iOS and Android applications yesterday.
Data and mobile telephony prices in India are among the lowest in the world due to a massive market and rabid competition among network operators to get a share of a population that is also increasingly turning toward smartphones.
“As of now, there are more than 1 billion Indians who use mobile phones. More than 300 million use their phones regularly for accessing the internet,” Unocoin co-founder Abhinand Kaseti stated. “This trend is expect to go up by 56% per year,” he added, nodding to the searing surges in smartphone adoption, which could prove instrumental in wider adoption of bitcoin among the masses.
The launch of its mobile applications comes soon after Unocoin raised a record investment round of $1.5 million in late September 2016. On last count, the bitcoin startup said it caters to 100,000 registered customers since its founding in December 2013. That number is certain to have swelled since this month’s controversial demonetization of Indian currency notes.
Image from Shutterstock.