India’s Bitcoin use set to surge in 2016

India may only be the 10th largest economy in the world, but it is the fourth-fastest-expanding, with a forecasted GDP growth of around 5.5% this year. As the country’s major cities are becoming financial powerhouses, it’s little wonder the world’s largest democracy is beginning to take to Bitcoin.

Coindesk, a digital currency news site, listed India as the fourth-most-likely nation in the world to see mass adoption of Bitcoin, behind Argentina, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. Some bricks-and-mortar stores have started to accept Bitcoins for payments. ePaisa, a mobile brand, began offering customers the chance to pay in Bitcoins last month. A QR code is scanned using the customer’s wallet app, transferring the currency on-the-spot.

Schools, too, have begun to consider Bitcoin. Dharwad International School in Karnataka began offering Bitcoins for this year’s annual fees. Considering the population of 1.25 billion, which is set to overtake China’s by 2022 – and that India’s remittance industry is calculated at a massive $50-70 billion – it’s no surprise many experts are touting South Asia’s giant as home of the next Bitcoin boom.

Indian banks scrimp on services, and payment platforms such as PayPal can be difficult due to their tendency to freeze transactions. A number of Bitcoin-related firms have emerged in the past few years, to fill that gap.

One of them, Unocoin, has seen usership rise by 35% per month. It now serves over 20,000 customers, and expects that number to double by the end of this year. “With such a large portion of India being unbanked, we believe that an open source, decentralized digital currency and payment protocol that is nearly free to use and instantaneous to transfer will have huge positive implications for the country,” says founder and president Sunny Ray.

Ray and others will have been buoyed by Reserve

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