By Landon Manning
Although the world of Bitcoin has endured some setbacks throughout the bear market of 2022, there’s one country where bitcoin usage is only going up: the Republic of India.
India, a nation of some 1.4 billion people with a rapidly growing economy to match, has had something of a complicated relationship with the world’s first decentralized internet currency. Proposed bitcoin bans have made their way around the news cycle for several years, but the push from various government officials to restrict the cryptocurrency has yet to materialize a concrete, restrictive policy. Instead, private individuals and businesses have taken to adopting bitcoin on wider and wider scales, despite the lack of a supportive regulatory environment.
New data released on October 20, 2022, shows that peer-to-peer bitcoin transactions have increased by around 40% from Q3 2021 to Q3 2022, a remarkable rate of growth for a time period when bitcoin has suffered severe price setbacks worldwide. The 2022 bear market seems to have had little to no impact on this growth, as it’s picked up speed in the last several months. Peer-to-peer bitcoin transactions are one of the earliest forms of bitcoin commerce, wherein coins are simply sent from one person to another, typically in exchange for some good or service. Although many enthusiasts have reasons for preferring these types of transactions, one of the most practical ones is that they do not require exchanges, which are known to be central points of failure.
Exchanges in India have been hit hard by a new tax regime imposed by the government on bitcoin exchanges in 2022, with some firms seeing up to 60% of their activity dry up. In situations like this, the trustless and self-custodying nature of bitcoin can really shine, as enthusiasts and members of a circular economy can continue to use this currency. The Bitcoin community in India is shining, with meetups and other telltale signs of a nascent scene beginning to take the subcontinent by storm. For millions of young people throughout India, buying bitcoin seems like a no-brainer compared both to traditional stores of value and the mainstream world of the stock market. Interest in the digital asset has taken off among young Indians and it’s anyone’s guess how far they could advance the vision of decentralized currency.
Some 15% of Indians have traded some sort of cryptocurrency in the last six months, according to a study carried out by KuCoin, and it seems as if this number is only increasing. Boding well for the future, 56% of polled investors claimed that bitcoin and cryptocurrency are the future of finance. This optimism is not merely found among the respondents of a single poll, as the data shows that India’s use of cryptocurrency is at the very top in several key categories of use.
All of this momentum and optimism, combined with the raw number of transactions produced by such a large population, could create the fertile ground for a new epicenter of bitcoin usage in India. The growth of this — despite the sort of government friendliness that much of the West has come to enjoy — only stands to mark the temerity of this new and growing crypto scene. If peer-to-peer transactions, along with many other metrics of growth, can continue to move with this sort of power despite both regulatory pushback and a bearish period in the markets, then anything is truly possible once the winds shift in bitcoin’s favor. Stories like India’s are a testament to the resourcefulness and determination of the Bitcoin community. It’s clear that the innovators now getting started in India will one day be able to accomplish truly terrific things.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.