Indian crypto trading volume surges

Interest in cryptocurrencies jumps on the subcontinent amid Covid-19 crisis


With India set to experience what threatens to be the worst recession in its 74-year history, it is perhaps unsurprising that Indians have become increasingly interested in cryptocurrencies.

Paxful, a New York-based peer-to-peer Bitcoin (BTC) marketplace, recently witnessed a record surge in trading activity on the subcontinent. On Paxful the BTC trading volume in the region for January-May surged from around $2.2m in 2019 to $22.1m in 2020, an 883 per cent increase.

Indian crypto firms have also recognised this booming interest. Trading volume on one of the nation’s most popular crypto exchanges WazirX jumped at a month-on-month basis of 400 per cent in March and 270 per cent in April.

At the start of Spring, the Mumbai-based firm facilitated around 20 million trades per day, by the end of May this figure had jumped to 60 million. A tie-in deal with the major global exchange Binance will supercharge Indian crypto interest yet further. WazirX, in partnership with the Malta-based firm, announced in March a $50m fund to foster the adoption of blockchain technologies in India.

The surging interest of recent months has been prompted in large part by the Supreme Court of India slapping down the nation’s central bank, repealing its crypto banking ban.

This, coupled with the economic uncertainty wrought by the coronavirus crisis, proved a fertile mix for a crypto boom. India’s unemployment rate shot up to 23 per cent in May, while the value of the Indian rupee (INR) on the US Dollar (USD) extended its plunge to multi-decade lows.

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