How to Buy Bitcoins in India
By: Ofir Beigel | Last updated: 10/13/19
Looking to buy Bitcoin in India? In this guide I will review the status of Bitcoin in India, its popularity and the different exchanges you can use to get Bitcoins in India.
Buying Bitcoins in India Summary
While Bitcoin is not accepted as a currency in India, it is possible to own and trade it on exchanges. To buy Bitcoin in India, follow these steps:
- Get a Bitcoin wallet
- Go to Coinmama
- Choose the amount of Bitcoin you wish to buy
- Enter your payment information and Bitcoin address
That’s how to buy Bitcoins in India in a nutshell. If you want a more detailed review about keep on reading, here’s what I will go over in this post:
- Bitcoin Legal Status in India
- Bitcoin Popularity in India
- Bitcoin Communities in India
- Buy Bitcoin in Indian Exchanges
- Buy Bitcoin in International Exchanges
- Bitcoin ATMs in India
- Frequently Asked Questions
On the whole, Bitcoin’s legal status in India is not too positive. While not officially banned, India’s finance minister has stated that the government does not recognize Bitcoin as a legal currency. Moreover, banks are closing accounts that are suspected for being involved with Bitcoin.
The bottom line: While it is still possible to buy and hold Bitcoins in India, you are risking the closure of your bank account. Also, it would be hard to trade or use them for anything within the country.
Considering the size and population of India, it has the potential to be a huge market for Bitcoin. Bitcoin’s popularity in India is growing, with trading volumes in 2019 being 104M on average, comparing to 2018’s 78M as evidenced by the LocalBitcoins volume in India:
Interest in Bitcoin in India is presented below by Google Trends, with the search term Bitcoin spiking between August ‘17 – March ‘18, and then going into a slump, possibly due to Bitcoin’s price drops:
There is a number of Indian Bitcoin communities online. These are particularly useful for staying up to date with the latest news as well as for getting advice on the best Indian Bitcoin exchanges and the like. In particular, it’s worth checking out the following forums and pages:
There are a number of Indian Bitcoin exchanges, with the more popular ones being regulated and require ID verification.
Giottus is an Indian exchange founded by two alumni of the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIM-C).
The exchange facilitates INR deposits and withdrawals to buy Bitcoin, as well as more than 15 other different cryptocurrencies.
Giottus charge no deposit or withdrawal fees for INR, but feature a flat trading fee of 0.25% for buy orders and 0.15% for sell orders.
Users have to verify their mobile number for compulsory 2-factor authentication, as well as a form of ID.
Giottus’ user interface isn’t the prettiest compared to some other exchanges, but it’s more than enough to get the job done.
Backed by investors in the United States, Unocoin is a regulated company in India and offers low 1% fees which fall to 0.7% with increased trading volumes. It’s an easy Bitcoin exchange to use, but it does require ID verification.
You’re not just limited to Indian Bitcoin exchanges when buying and selling Bitcoin in India. Below are a few other options available to you:
Coinmama may be based in Israel, but it’s available in a huge number of countries, including India. It was launched in 2013, and it offers convenience: you can buy Bitcoin with a debit or credit card.
The downside is that the fees are on the high side at 5.5% per transaction and 5% per credit or debit card transaction. You can read my full review of Coinmama here.
CEX.IO is available in most countries around the world. Founded in 2013 with its headquarters in London, this cryptocurrency exchange allows users to buy and sell Bitcoin as well as a selection of altcoins.
Both credit cards and bank transfers are accepted payment methods with low fees of 0%–0.2% on trades. CEX.IO offers both a trading platform and a brokerage service, both entail different fees . You can read my full CEX.io review here.
Paxful is a P2P marketplace, which allows buyers and seller to meet online and trade directly Bitcoin with each other. Founded in 2015 and by now they have offices in multiple cities around the world.
Sellers on Paxful accept over 300 payment methods, including the major Indian payment methods like PayTM, Bheem, Phonepe. If you’re buying Bitcoins on Paxful, you won’t have to pay any fee to the site itself, but the price of Bitcoin is traded at a premium because of this.
You can read my full Paxful Review here.
Changelly is a crypto only exchange, founded in 2015. Signing up for an account doesn’t require any personal information, and you’ll then have a quick and easy way of exchanging cryptocurrency from one wallet to another.
There’s a fixed fee of 0.5%, which is slightly higher than many other Bitcoin exchanges. You can read my full Changelly review here.
Is Unocoin Legal in India?
Yes, Unocoin is legal to use in India, however banks may freeze accounts dealing with Bitcoin.
Is Zebpay Closed?
Zebpay announced its closure on September 2018 following a ban from the Royal Bank of India (RBI) denying banks from providing financial services to crypto exchanges.
The exchange has since relocated to Europe and now services the EU and Australia.
Is Bitcoin Banned in India?
While India doesn’t consider Bitcoin illegal, the banking sector is highly against cryptocurrency activities and frequently freezes accounts that deal with cryptocurrencies.
As can be seen, Bitcoin’s status in India is a bit on the downside. With the government banning the use of Bitcoin as a currency and exchanges like Zebpay and Koinex shutting down, things seem pretty grim.
As long as the government’s (and the banks by extent) hostility towards Bitcoin will continue, it is hard to see a more widespread adaptation of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general in India.
Know of additional ways to buy Bitcoin in India? Have you had experience with the ones I’ve mentioned above? Let me know in the comment section below.