Bitcoin Premium in India Reaches 20%, Price Peaks Beyond $880

60,000 rupees. That’s $881. You’ll need more than that to buy a Bitcoin in India, a country which just nixed much of its cash. The rupee-based Bitcoin price, thanks to skyrocketing demand, now includes a $140 (20%) premium upon Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to demonetize 500 and 1000 rupee notes.

After last week’s announcements that the notes were no longer valid, bitcoin sales increased across several exchanges, according to The Hindustan Times. Internet searches in India for the term “bitcoin” and “buy bitcoin” have increased in popularity, says Google Trends data.

“Queries for bitcoins have gone up by 20 percent to 30 percent in the past couple of days,” Zebpay’s CEO, Saurabh Agrawal, told the Hindustan Times.

As CNBC reported three days ago, one Bitcoin on India-based exchange Unocoin is worth ₹55,405 ($817.97), while Bitcoins cost $709 in dollar denominated terms.

At the time of publishing, the buying rate for a bitcoin through Unocoin is ₹60,364 or $887.12

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The Bitcoin price in rupee terms has reached near its 2016 highs (made this past summer) since the Prime Minister’s announcement, which has led to long bank lines and ATMs running out of cash, as well as reports of violence on the streets.

The current Bitcoin price is more than 60,000 in Rupee terms, approx $881, India Bitcoin exchange Coinsecure posted November 17.

“In the wake of demonetization in the country, Bitcoin is certainly impacted,” the startup wrote. “Commoners are now exploring alternative cryptocurrencies and the demand for Bitcoin has gone up. Now with the limited supply of Bitcoin across the country, liquidity is definitely a challenging issue and that is now clearly driving the price of Bitcoin upward as compared to the global markets.”

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An unprecedented cash freeze sees new ₹2,000 (approx $30) introduced to the Indian currency ecosystem.

Coinsecure launched Entry Level Trading Account for International Users as well as the Indian market and removed the verification process for a .5% fee.

“Users can submit their KYC when they want to withdraw or deposit INR and avail the discounted fee of 0.3%,” the company wrote.

India’s move to ban the 500 and 1000 rupee notes was designed to undermine black market cash. Many senior cabinet members did not know of the decision. The government’s plan was to ensure illicit savers did not have a chance to exchange cash for gold. The government reportedly shut down some gold shops suspecting of accepting the banned notes after the announcement. Indian authorities are certainly familiar with Bitcoin, having engaged in darknet marketplace operations in the past. Indian authorities sought the seizure of more than 500 bitcoins in one case.

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