Bitcoin already has had many monumental victories as technology and a means of payment. Millions of dollars are moved every day across the Bitcoin blockchain, and the total number of transactions per day appears to be headed to a new all-time high. While price action to begin 2019 has not been incredibly positive for the price of Bitcoin, transaction fees are down to only a couple cents per transaction. Taking a look at this transaction: https://bit.ly/2SuFOJX – 765 Bitcoin transacted here to an address with a fee of 0.0000721 BTC. This is a $2.6 million dollar transaction that was sent potentially across the world, across borders, with a fee of $0.25 cents. Bitcoin without a doubt is succeeding and continues to make new milestones.
With this success, there ought to be some sort of resistance and attempt to censor this technology coming from banks, and governments. Recently, in the middle of January 2019, I had the opportunity to speak to someone who lives in India and recently had a bank closure due to a Bitcoin-related transaction. A woman under the name “Indian CryptoGirl” @DesiCryptoHodlr on twitter posted a tweet (linked below) detailing how her bank account was closed due to the fact that she had a transaction involving cryptocurrency.
"We noticed you did a transaction involving crypto, hence, we will close your account within 30 days"
– Kotak Mahindra Bank
P.S: Glad they're doing it for me pic.twitter.com/JIWzeU54i5
— Indian CryptoGirl (@DesiCryptoHodlr) January 12, 2019
On the official statement from Kotak Mahindra Bank states that “On review of the transactions done in your above mentioned account e have noticed that you have undertaken online transactions involving dealings in Bitcoin or virtual currency” and continues to say that the holder of this bank account, “Indian CryptoGirl” is being “requested to visit any of our branches to close your above-mentioned account.”
This appalling statement from Kotak Mahindra Bank caught the user @DesiCryptoHodlr off guard as she has been a loyal customer of this bank for 4 years. I asked a couple questions about the bank and cryptocurrency use in India, and @DesiCryptoHodlr was nice enough to answer them. She said that this has happened to multiple other people that use the same bank, as everyone agrees to the same compliances when they sign up for the bank account. Hence, if anyone is red flagged for cryptocurrency related transactions, the bank has taken action to close the customer’s account.
“Indian CryptoGirl” stated that she made multiple transactions over a span of a couple months, and then eventually she received a notice that she was being requested to close her account. She stated to me that “all banks are anti crypto at the moment as the RBI has directed them not to deal in cryptocurrency transactions.” The RBI, or the Reserve Bank of India, has made it openly clear that they are against cryptocurrency transactions, and while @DesiCryptoHoldr explain to me that awareness and adoption are on the rise, many people in India fear that Bitcoin is illegal and using or investing will land them in jail. While she says this is a common misconception, it is preventing the public in India from getting overly interested in cryptocurrency due to the fear from the central bank. Indian CryptoGirl explains that the RBI has made it illegal for any bank to provide services to a cryptocurrency business, stifling adoption in India.
While it is difficult for the average citizen to get their hands on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency due to the bank restriction, @DesiCryptoHodlr stated that “India has a cryptocurrency user base of approx. 7-10 million with 10 major ‘peer to peer’ exchanges.” She says that there are a lot of misconceptions about the legality of cryptocurrency and that she wishes to change these false perspectives with her twitter handle “by haring accurate, informative articles about benefits of blockchain and crypto in India.” Bitcoin is important for many reasons, the main being that it is a powerful financial instrument that already is starting to succeed. Having grabbed the attention of central banks, they are worried, attempting to censor this technology, because they know they will eventually have to adapt due it being superior. Hopefully, this article will raise to light how important Bitcoin is and help combat some of the misconceptions that Indian citizens face in regard to cryptocurrency.
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