How to smartly buy and sell Bitcoins in India ?

When I purchased my first Bitcoins in India last year, I never thought the value will go from $480 to $4300 in just one year- giving an astronomical return of 800%.  Not just Bitcoin but other crypto currencies have given eye-popping returns in the last couple of years.  A pursuit of these crypto-currencies has led to a modern day digital gold rush and you can’t just sit behind when the entire world is going Bananas over Bitcoins, Ethereum, Ripple and what not. Naysayers will talk about the bubble and all but I am pretty sure that this price momentum is to stay long. Wallstreet experts are already predicting that Bitcoin will hit $25000 by 2020 and may reach $100,000 in next 10 years.

My point is – If you haven’t bought any, now is the time to buy in.

Before we talk about buying and selling Bitcoin, I want you to know what Bitcoin is, where to buy it and how to sell it.


What is Bitcoin?

Read the complete article here if you thoroughly want to understand Bitcoin: What is Bitcoin? – Explained in simple terms

Bitcoin is a crypto-currency (Krypto in Greek means hidden, secret).  It is like a dollar or a euro or a rupee but it does not exist physically. You can’t touch it, feel it but can spend it to buy stuff for you. When you visit an online banking page, you see a balance written against your account number. The balance just numbers on a computer screen but you can use them to buy stuff online or convert into cash at nearby ATMs. Bitcoin is no different. It is a balance written against your account number but not in a particular bank but on a blockchain. The blockchain technology is proven to be very safe. Unlike banks, it has no server downtime issues and it can’t be hacked. You have no reasons to worry when you buy and store Bitcoins.


Is it legal to buy Bitcoins in India?

Bitcoins are not illegal in India.

As of now, there is no clear mandate on the legal status of Bitcoins in India.  It neither legal nor illegal. All major governments are on the way of legalizing Bitcoins and a recent report by Inc42 suggest that Indian government will soon follow their path very soon.  However, Indians don’t seem to be in a mood waiting for government’s decision. Already (as of May 2017) India accounts for 10% of global cryptocurrency trade.

If Bitcoins become legal in India, then:

  • You will have to pay taxes on returns on Bitcoin investment
  • The government would issue guidelines regarding investment and purchase of Bitcoins.
  • If any foreign payment is made through Bitcoins, it would fall under the purview of FEMA Act.

I believe that with Bitcoins getting legal status in increasing number of countries, it will be legalized in India as well. See the legal status of Bitcoins by country here.


How to buy and sell Bitcoins in India? 

Stocks are purchased and sold at stock exchanges.

Commodities are traded on commodity exchanges.

Bitcoins are purchased and sold at digital-currency exchanges. There are multiple digital-currency exchanges are opened in India.

But, It’s very important to do a little homework on the exchange before you start investing. Here are a few things you should check before you buy your first Bitcoin.

  • Reputation – Lack of legal framework provides opportunities for scamsters to create fake exchanges and dupe investors money.  Hence, you must search through reviews from individual users and well-known industry websites. App store and Play store reviews and ratings act as good indicator of the reputation of an exchange.
  • Trading Fees – Go through the terms and conditions and understand the fee structure.  Well, not just trading fees but also read about the money deposit and withdrawal fees.
  • Payment Methods – What payment methods are available on the exchange? Credit & debit card? NEFT or RTGS? Payment Gateways? If an exchange has limited payment options then it may not be convenient for you to use it.
  • Verification Requirements –  Like stock trading platformsBitcoin trading platforms try to stay compliant with general regulatory guidelines. All Indian exchanges currently require some sort of ID verification in order to make deposits & withdrawals.
  • Exchange Rate – The value of a rupee against a Bitcoin will differ in different exchanges. Unlike stock markets, you will be surprised to know the difference in the exchange rate across various digital currency exchanges. Make sure you are buying at lower prices and selling at higher prices.

Digital currency exchanges in India

A lot of currency exchanges have sprung up in India.  However, not all exchanges are created equal.  Each exchange has its own advantages and disadvantages.  Digital exchanges in India require you to oblige to KYC norms.  All exchanges ask you to submit PAN or Aadhar copy before they give access to trade.  Here are a few of the popular exchanges currently operating in India. These exchanges have been registered as start-ups and have also raised funding from investors.

Read a detailed review of Indian Bitcoin wallets:  Best wallets to buy bitcoins in India

Buy and Sell Bitcoins on Zebpay

Backed by investors and used by thousands of customers, Zebpay is my favorite platform for buying and selling Bitcoins in India. The signup process is very fast.  You are required to submit a photo of your PAN card, which is verified in very short time.  As of now ( Aug 2017), users can only purchase bitcoins -Ether and other currencies are not available on their  Android & iPhone platform.

Pros:  Easy User interface, Quick KYC verification

Cons:  Does not accept debit/credit card as a payment mode,  higher deposit charges with netbanking

Download Zebpay on Google Play  and Apple Store

Registration and account Verification

buy sell bitcoins in India zebpay

Adding money to Zebpay wallet

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Buying Bitcoins on Zebpay India

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Selling Bitcoins on Zebpay India

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Buy and Sell Bitcoins on Unocoin

Unocoin is a Bangalore based startup which claims to have over 1,30,000 customers. The company raised 1.5 million USD in pre-series A funding from top investors like Blume Ventures and ah! Ventures. It is also featured among the top 20 out of 350 companies in The FinTech 20: India list.

Pros: Features such as SIP subscription are available.

Cons:  KYC verification takes time.

Step by step process to create an account on Unocoin.


Buy Bitcoins at Coinsecure India

Founded in July 2014  Coinsecure offers Bitcoin wallet, exchange, trading and merchant services along with other Blockchain based services. The company is based out of Delhi and Bangalore. Coinsecure offers an algorithmic trading Bitcoin exchange, a Blockchain explorer, free APIs for all their products.

Pros: Host of other services apart from buying and selling Bitcoins, Quick signup process

Cons: Frequent server downtime issue, Play store reviews haven’t been good.


You purchased bitcoins. What next?

All the above digital exchanges also provide mobile or desktop wallets to store your bitcoins.

Read here: How to safely store bitcoins? – Everything you need to know about Bitcoin wallets 

Once purchased, you can:

  • Sell bitcoins at the same digital exchange
  • Transfer and sell bitcoins to other digital exchanges
  • Transfer bitcoins to other wallets using your public and private key

Read here: Private key and public key in Bitcoin Blockchain?

    • Use these bitcoins to buy other cryptocurrencies

You can use popular websites like Changelly or ShapeShift to convert Bitcoin into any altcoins. You can also use Poloneix exchange where you can add Bitcoin convert it into any digital of fiat currencies.

  • Spend Bitcoins at popular e-commerce websites

To summarize :

  1. Bitcoin can turn out to be a smart investment. You should consider adding Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to your investment portfolio.
  2. It is safe to buy and sell Bitcoins in India.
  3. Start small, get the hang of the cryptocurrency market before you bet big on something.
  4. Cryptocurrency world is evolving very fast. Keep reading this blog to stay updated with the latest information.

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