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Bitcoin companies in India see spike in trading ahead of US polls

The last time global uncertainty had impacted bictoin was during Britain’s exit from the European Union.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Nov 09, 2016, 09.03 AM IST

BENGALURU: Kunal Thakkar, 33, a financial portfolio manager in Mumbai, has been investing in cryptocurrency bitcoin since the last few years, and made his latest investment a week ago with an eye on the presidential elections in the US. Several bitcoin platforms in the country have seen a spike in trading as the US election results are expected to push up the value of the cryptocurrency.

“There is uncertainty over who will win the election and what impact they will have. It is definitely going to increase the value of bitcoin, with chances that the figure may cross $850,” Thakkar said. The currency is currently valued at a little over $700. “Earlier, I used to invest in gold or commodities, but investing in gold is tedious as we have to physically store it. bitcoin is completely digital and it is also a conduit to invest in other cryptocurrencies,” he said.

Saurabh Agrawal, cofounder of Ahmedabad-based ZebPay, a bitcoin wallet and exchange platform, said several Indians are starting to look at bitcoin as an alternative to gold during market volatility. “Stock markets may crash due to political instability, and during these times, people look at gold and bitcoin as alternate tools for investment. There has been a spike in volumes of bitcoin trading by about 20% globally and even we are seeing a surge in trading in recent weeks,” Agrawal said.

The last time global uncertainty had impacted bictoin was during Britain’s exit from the European Union. According to reports and industry experts, the bitcoin value had gone up by 9-10% after ‘Brexit’, as the event has come to be known. Sathvik Vishwanath, CEO of Unocoin, a bictoin startup that was recently funded by US-based trading firm.

Digital Currency Group, also pointed to indications that the value and trading of the cryptocurrency are on the rise. “If it is an event that is not considered positive by the public, the price of the Bitcoin goes up as it is more decentralised in nature. From what I understand, the impact of the elections will be negative whoever wins and the price of bitcoin is likely to go up,” he said.

However, Shiva S, founder of Hyderabad-based blockchain tracker Blockonomics said the US election may not have a very significant impact, since much of the volume of Bitcoin trading is centered in China.

He also pointed to the fact that only a small number of Indians, who are between 20 and 40 years of age and have a technological leaning, are currently investing in bitcoin. Short-term fluctuations brought about by global events are also not the main trigger for Bitcoin investment for several individuals.

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