Share this on Twitter Share this on Facebook Share this on LinkedIn Share this on Sina Weibo Share this on Wechat Share this on LinkedIn Illustration by Aaron Sacco It was New Year’s Eve, and Vijay Shekhar Sharma was out of breath. Standing on a stage in front of his employees, the chief executive of digital payment startup Paytm was screaming into a microphone and jumping up and down as red and yellow lights flashed around him. “We ripped 2016,” Sharma said, almost falling over as the audience whooped and hollered. “2017 will be ours. How won’t it?!” Just seven weeks earlier, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, had announced he was invalidating more than 80 percent of India’s currency notes in an effort to curb illegal activity. In a country where cash reigned, Paytm had been plugging digital payments for years with decent progress. But now, as Sharma and his audience knew, demonetization would change everything. People wait outside a private bank to deposit and exchange 500 and 1000 currency notes after Modi announced demonetization.Credit: Biswarup Ganguly, Creative Commons “Not only the country, buSubscribe or login to read the rest. Subscribers get full access to: Exclusive longform investigative journalism, Q&As, news and analysis, and data on Chinese business elites and corporations. We publish China scoops you won't find anywhere else. A weekly curated reading list on China from David Barboza, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Shanghai correspondent for The New York Times. A daily roundup of China finance, business and economics headlines. We offer discounts for groups, institutions and students. Go to our Subscriptions page for details.