At the stroke of midnight, on Nov. 8, 2016, the world’s largest democracy – India – had nearly 86% of its banknotes in circulation demonetized by the government.

Demonetization is the act of stripping a currency unit of its status as legal tender. Often, this implies decommissioning certain forms of notes or coins from circulation and replacing them with new ones.

The Reserve Bank of India withdrew the currencies of 500 and 1000 INR. Over the span of the next 50 days, Indian citizens were asked to either deposit the demonetized notes into their bank accounts to claim credit that can later be accessed by credit or debit cards, or they could exchange the old notes in cash for the newly issued 500 and 2000 INR denomination ones.

This economic measure, though sudden in nature, has a historic precedent of being used as a tool to bring a swift change under various circumstances.

Read more about it here.