94% of Indians bought digital currency before ban was lifted: survey

India’s digital currency industry is going through some of the best times in recent weeks. After the Supreme Court lifted a banking ban that had stifled the industry for close to two years, trading has taken off. However, according to one survey, 94% of Indians invested in digital currencies even before the ban was lifted. Digital currencies also emerged as the most favored investment option, with stocks and bonds trailing.

The survey was conducted by peer-to-peer digital currency platform Paxful and shared with CoinGeek. It polled those aged between 18 and 55 with an understanding of digital currencies. The findings prove that India is the industry’s sleeping giant and that the Asian nation could become the undisputed global digital currency leader. One of the most striking findings was that 75% of those polled had invested in digital currencies.

And while many thought that the digital currencies industry had died off due to the ban, the survey proved it hadn’t. Over half of the respondents—56%—invested in 2018 and 2019, a period in which the Reserve Bank of India had imposed a banking ban on the industry. And while trading had greatly reduced, it was still onboarding several first-time users. A quarter of them invested in 2016 and 2017, with just 6% investing for the first time after the lifting of the ban.

Of the benefits from using digital currencies, 75% said it was because transferring is easy and fairly safe. Better privacy and security; financial freedom and access to everyone in every market were the other popular reasons for onboarding.

And just like digital currency enthusiasts in many other parts of the world, Indians believe that regulations will do the industry a world of good. They pointed to improved KYC programs and having a consistent framework across regulatory requirements as two of the biggest growth factors.

The survey further found that the people of India believe the future is bright for the industry—44% believe that they will play a key role in digitizing India, with a similar number believing that they will contribute to an increase in entrepreneurship and job creation. This belief is reflected in their investment option of choice, with digital currencies leading at 40%. Stocks and bonds came in second with 30%, while real estate and gold each held 14%.

Despite the positive outlook, there are areas that need addressing for Bitcoin to go mainstream. Key among them is education, with fear, uncertainty and doubt leading many to remain cautious. Paxful has been playing its part, working with media platforms and influencers to educate the masses.

In a statement to CoinGeek, the platform, which now has three million users globally shared, “One of our company values is staying connected to the streets, that’s why we’re focused on building a community for people interested in crypto and peer-to-peer trading. We aim to replicate our educational initiative in Africa in India, which means workshops about bitcoin and entrepreneurship—the only difference now is we will make it online.”

And while it’s Africa that tends to learn from other regions, Paxful believes the people of India can learn a thing or two from Africa’s rapid uptake of digital currencies. The first area is in remittance, a use case that Africa is fully exploiting digital currencies for.

Paxful stated, “Africans have been very innovative in this regard and they are leveraging the power of bitcoin to the maximum to get money from a foreign country through a series of peer-to-peer payments. India is the largest recipient of remittances in the world, if Indians can innovate to the same degree as our African users, there can be massive potential for different payment ecosystems which are much cheaper than traditional remittance service providers.”

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