How to buy Bitcoin in India?

There are five prominent gateways to buy Bitcoin in India. The key question to ask is, are you willing to buy it confidentially or not. Let’s start with the option where you can buy (or sell) a bitcoin anonymously.

Perhaps the best site in the world for the easiest buy and sell of Bitcoins. It’s essentially a peer-to-peer [P2P] site where the buy/sell rates are determined by the value discussed (or declared) by either of the parties concerned (unlike an exchange where the market forces determine the price of buy/sell of a bitcoin). You can transact via IMPS, Netbanking, Cash Deposit at banks or via a cash exchange agreed  by the two parties concerned just like you do an exchange for goods via OLX or Quikr. Tip: Always check the user credentials and history for trust related issues.

In the rest of the following options, you’d be required to follow a Know Your Client [KYC] process with each of the Bitcoin Exchange just like the process you follow to open a savings bank account. You’d require a PAN Card, a Photo ID and share a photo of yours to on-board the online site / mobile app for transaction.

From the buying angle, this exchange provides the best (cheapest) rates among all available in India. The only issue these days is that they are not accepting any new registrations for the moment due to a hard fork issue towards a scaling debate currently on among the Bitcoin developer community. They do not have a mobile app which restricts convenience considering how much we all are glued to our smartphones these days. Bummer.

Coinsecure is my personal favorite. Ignore the ratings for a while on the Google Play store and indulge in its web+mobile edition. Amongst all the mobile apps, this is the best for buyers and sellers alike as you always get the best (competitive) rates. On-boarding with KYC takes 48-72 hours (which is kind of standard with other apps as well) but once you’re in the transaction is fast particularly when you deposit and withdraw rupees via IMPS. Customer care is pretty decent though they only work from 11AM to 8PM. The best part is the web version wherein you can see the trading candles for those who are serious about trading and need historical data visualization.

The transaction process for a novice user is pretty cumbersome as you have to confirm most of the transactions via email, which is kind of good for security purposes, however this is the part wherein the other exchanges take the sweet spot. And yes, the mobile app has yet to feature a wallet as a service which is a big hindrance if you want to send and receive bitcoins from your friends, family or business partners. Wallet is only available via the website.

Most popular Indian Bitcoin app on the Google Play store.

The most convenient app among all, Zebpay is the easiest place to buy Bitcoins via your smartphone. Customer care is NOT 24×7, troubleshooting takes time, KYC takes the typical 48-72 hours to onboard, buying rates are not the best in the India market but you forget all of this via the user experience of the app. In my opinion this app is the most feature rich bitcoin app currently available in the Indian market. You can see the historic rate chart, see transaction statement and top-up your mobile and DTH via the app! The new feature of buying via Netbanking is a welcome move as typically with all exchanges the standard practise has been to share the receipt number (or screenshot) of all money deposits and by the time the exchange’s team verifies it, guess what, Bitcoin’s price might have risen (due to its high volatile nature) and hence you feel you have lost value due to the tedious verification process. I am hoping Netbanking eases this issue. Is you are new to smartphone ecosystem and wish to buy Bitcoins in India, Zebpay is meant for you. The only downside is the expensive transaction fees for sending bitcoin to others.

I could find nothing exciting about Unocoin as an exchange. It has the highest buying rates and lowest selling rates at any given time compared to all the mentioned exchanges above in India. The price difference is sometimes as high as INR5000 between buy and sell compared to merely INR500 on Coinsecure!

What Unocoin has is great funding as a company which translates to higher ad spends (hence the most banner ads you will ever see are of Unocoin’s) which essentially translates to large audience base. Recent introductions as Netbanking and PayU wallet integrations have provided convenience in buying. And don’t even think of reaching out to their Twitter handle for customer support cause behind the handle are a bunch of kids re-iterating 10 odd things every week about the benefits of Bitcoin which essentially mirrors the lack of interest and skills to describe bitcoin or create loyalty for the brand or category. I’d suggest this app to be the last one on your list to buy bitcoins in India.

Recapping our discussion:

Source Merit Demerit
LocalBitcoins Excellent buying rates and the pleasure of buying anonymously Trust issue from the seller
BTCXIndia Best rates on web in India No mobile app, registrations
Coinsecure Best rates if buying via mobile Wallet absent in app
Zebpay Excellent user experience Poor customer service, Expensive transaction fees on wallets
Unocoin Payments via Netbanking & PayU Money integration High buying rates, lowest selling rates

 

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