Last updated on January 3rd, 2018 at 11:24 am
If you’re located in India and want to buy Bitcoin, you’ve come to the right place. Take a look at our guide to buying Bitcoin in India, which explores everything from the legality of Bitcoin to the best Bitcoin exchanges.
Is Bitcoin legal in India?
There’s some ambiguity about the legality of Bitcoin in India. While India’s finance minister has stated that the government does not recognize Bitcoin as a legal currency, he went on to say that the country doesn’t have any regulations governing virtual currencies.
Needless to say, without regulation or outright prohibition, Bitcoin’s legality in India is something of a grey area. If anything, there’s been an air of caution, with India’s central bank issuing a warning over Bitcoin as well as cryptocurrencies and ICOs in general.
In December 2017, India’s tax authority raided Indian Bitcoin exchanges in an attempt to gather data on investors and potentially collect tax on their investments.
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 increasing rapidly as evidenced by the LocalBitcoins volume in India.
Google Trends shows increased interest in Bitcoin in India, with the search term Bitcoin experiencing a huge spike in late 2017.
A number of Indian Bitcoin exchanges have seen increasing demand. Indeed, Indian Bitcoin exchange Zebpay saw over 500,000 installations of the Zebpay Bitcoin app by May 2017. However, India is still a developing nation, and many are unable to afford substantial amounts of Bitcoin. What’s more, the country’s internet connectivity and speeds are quite behind those in other parts of the world.
What are the main Indian Bitcoin communities?
There is an increasing 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:
- India subreddit
- India’s BitcoinTalk thread
- Bitcoin India on Facebook
- Bitcoin exchanges based in India
There are a number of Indian Bitcoin exchanges, making buying and selling Bitcoin in India quick and easy. The main Bitcoin exchanges in India are regulated and require ID verification.
The leading Bitcoin exchange in India, 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 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.
Zebpay is an app-based Indian Bitcoin exchange that was launched in 2015. Like Unocoin, it’s a regulated company that lets users purchase Bitcoin with a connected Indian bank account. Zebpay has some good security features, and its app is available for Android and iPhone. As with Unocoin, ID verification is required. What’s more, the transaction fees could be more transparent.
An Indian Bitcoin exchange with low buy fees of just 0.3%, Coinsecure has been gaining popularity since its introduction in 2015. This regulated Bitcoin exchange in India offers a number of different deposit options, including NEFT, RTGS, IMPS, and cash deposit. The interface isn’t the most beginner-friendly, and like Unocoin and Zebpay, Coinsecure requires ID verification in order to buy Bitcoin.
International exchanges available in India
You’re not just limited to Indian Bitcoin exchanges when buying and selling Bitcoin in India. Indeed, there 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 our full review of Coinmama here.
Changelly was founded in 2015, and it lets you exchange one cryptocurrency for another. 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 our full Changelly review 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. Keep in mind that the exchange has very different fees than the brokerage service. You can read our full CEX.io review here.
How many Bitcoin ATMs are there in India?
As of 2017, there are no Bitcoin ATMs in India, according to CoinATMRadar.
Know of additional ways to buy Bitcoin in India, or have experience with the ones we’ve mentioned above? Let us know in the comment section below.