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How to Buy Bitcoins in India

By: Ofir Beigel | Last updated: 5/2/21

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:

  1. Get a Bitcoin wallet
  2. Go to Coinmama
  3. Choose the amount of Bitcoin you wish to buy
  4. Enter your payment information and Bitcoin address

If Coinmama doesn’t work out for you, here are a few additional exchanges that accept customers from India.

Coinmama
Availability:
Worldwide
CEX.io
Availability:
Worldwide
Giottus
Availability:
Local
To be reviewed
Unocoin
Availability:
Local
To be reviewed

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:

  1. Bitcoin Legal Status in India
  2. Bitcoin Popularity in India
  3. Bitcoin Communities in India
  4. Buy Bitcoin in Indian Exchanges
  5. Buy Bitcoin in International Exchanges
  6. Bitcoin ATMs in India
  7. Frequently Asked Questions
  8. Conclusion

1. Is Bitcoin legal in India?

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, and reports have surfaced about another ban attempt. 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.


2. How popular is Bitcoin in India?

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 2021 being around 112M INR on average, comparing to 2020’s ~83M 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 until November 2020. It is now showing signs of higher interest in 2021:

 


3. Main Indian Bitcoin communities

There are 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:


4. India-based Bitcoin exchanges

There are a number of Indian Bitcoin exchanges, with the more popular ones being regulated and require ID verification.

Giottus

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 70 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. USDT trading pairs ave lower fees, at just 0.07% on each trade.

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.

CoinDCX

CoinDCX is an Indian cryptocurrency exchange which was founded in 2018. It has backing from some very notable names in the industry, including Coinbase and 100x, the owners of BitMEX.

The exchange enables users to buy more than 100 cryptocurrencies instantly with INR, by linking their bank account. It even has a mobile app – CoinDCX Go – which is designed especially for making instant purchases.

INR trading pairs have a flat fee of 0.1%, while crypto-to-crypto trading ranges from 0.1-0.2%.

Unocoin

Unocoin, was established in 2013 and allows users to buy Bitcoin with any Indian bank account.

Backed by investors in the United States, Unocoin is a regulated company in India and offers low 0.7% fees which fall to 0.5% with increased trading volumes. It’s an easy Bitcoin exchange to use, but it does require ID verification.


5. International exchanges available in India

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

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 up to 5.9% per transaction, plus an additional 5% per credit or debit card transaction. You can read my full review of Coinmama here.

CEX.IO

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%–0.25% 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

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

Changelly is an exchange which was founded in 2015. It allows instant crypto-to-crypto swaps, as well as purchases and sales involving fiat via their payment partners. 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.

Crypto-to-crypto trades have a lo 0.5% fee, however buying or selling with fiat will come with some hefty charges of near 10%. You can read my full Changelly review here.


6. How many Bitcoin ATMs are there in India?

As of 2021, there is currently a single Bitcoin ATM in India, according to CoinATMRadar.


7. Frequently Asked Questions

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.


8. Conclusion

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.

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Vikram
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Vikram

Hey 99bitcoins! We’re huge fans of yours and I recommend you to our new employees as a learning tool. I’m the CMO of ZebPay. In January 2020 we came back to India with new ownership and leadership and we are once again one of the leading bitcoin exchanges. In fact, a 2020 survey showed 2/3 of Indian crypto investors bought their first bitcoin with us. We just had our highest volume month and are close to 4 million users strong. Can you please update this article so Indians know we’re back in India to stay (no matter what happens) and… Read more »

Salman
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Salman

Can Indians buy through blockchain.com?

Kartikey Tanna
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Kartikey Tanna

Royal Bank of India? (RBI)

Hitesh Garg
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Hitesh Garg

very helpful article,it has shown current status of bitcoin adoption in India. India is an emerging market for cryptocurrencies with many possibilities. There are also some other exchanges in India where we can trade in cryptocurrencies directly in INR like bitbawa

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