How to buy/sell Bitcoins (& other cryptocurrencies) in India?
If you still haven’t heard of ‘Bitcoin’, you must REALLY change your news and information sources. If you have heard of ‘blockchain’, you can pat your backs because you have been pretty attentive to the latest technology news. And if you have heard of Ethereum too, you are right on track to be part of something absolutely revolutionary! Before I dive deep into what is what and tell you step by step how to start investing in Bitcoin, let’s first try and understand the basics.
This article is part 1 of a 6 part series on ‘Riding the blockchain wave: For techies, entrepreneurs & traders’. The six parts are:
Part 1: How to buy/sell Bitcoins (& other cryptocurrencies) in India?
Part 2: What is Bitcoin? And what is Blockchain?
Part 3: Applications of blockchain: Deep dive into the Tech
Part 4: What is Ethereum?
Part 5: Building blockchain applications on Ethereum
Part 6: Case studies: Interesting upcoming blockchain startups
There are TONS of information available on the internet about all these topics. A lot of them are written by experts who will explain things far better than I can. Hence, I have just tried to organise all the information into a coherent flow and have provided a lot of links so you can deep dive into details at any point. If you would like to read my articles and have a primer on blockchain technology so you can start benefiting from it, please follow me on Medium. I am still working on these articles, but plan to release them one by one pretty soon.
Finally to the 400 Bitcoin question. (Yes, you got it correct!)
Part 1: Where to buy Bitcoin in India?
There are two main options: Zebpay & Unocoin. There are more ways to buy and sell, but these two are the biggest players so it is a safe bet to go with either of them. I personally use Zebpay, because I find it has a better UI. (You can consider using my referral code: REFADIT9567 while registering. You will get Bitcoins worth INR 100. Sorry for this blatant request :D)
Step 1: Register & get verified: On both these sites/app you will first have to register online. As this activity involves trading, you will also have to get your account ‘verified’. Upload a scan of your PAN card, a valid address proof and a photograph to get your account verified. Once verified, you are all set to climb aboard!
P.S. Verification may take 2–3 days.
Step 2: Deposit INR to the account: Both sites accept INR through NEFT/RTGS/IMPS from your registered bank account.
IMP: Once you initiate the payment from your bank account, create a deposit order & enter the transaction reference number on the Deposit INR page against the deposit order you have created. If you do not provide the reference number, both these apps have no way of identifying your payment in our bank account statement and won’t be able to process your deposit order.
On the Zebpay app, click on account>deposit, enter the amount you have deposited & click on ‘bank deposit’. Select the bank you made the payment to & click ‘deposit’. This will create a deposit order, on which you can enter your payment reference number.
Buying Bitcoins: Great! Now go ahead and buy yourself some BTC (Bitcoins)! You can buy/sell at the current rate, or bid(buy) & ask(sell) at a particular rate.
Part 2: Where to buy Ethereum in India?
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency. There are many, many more types of cryptocurrencies, but Bitcoin is the biggest at the moment. Ethereum is the 2nd most popular. But I believe, as do many more in the industry, that Ethereum rates can cross Bitcoin rates. Why? ‘Because what Bitcoin does for payments, Ethereum does for anything involving programming and computing. Ethereum’s goal is to make a decentralised internet. And it has a very good shot at becoming “the new internet,” literally.’ Read more here why Ethereum Could Be Worth More Than Bitcoin Very Soon.
If you want to know more about Ethereum (which you must!), please stay tuned. I will publish another detailed article on it very soon. You can also join the Ethereum India group to discuss and collaborate on the Ethereum/blockchain technologies with fellow enthusiasts and developers.
So I would suggest that you get on board the Ethereum rocket as well. And why not, considering it has gone from 50$ on 26th April to almost 200$ today! (May 26th, 2017). Why is the price soaring? Read this insightful piece on Investopedia.
Once again if you search on Google, there are tons of options on where to buy Ethereum with INR. But I personally use ETHEXIndia, hence I will talk about it only. I have used it and I believe you can trust them. It is a website only solution though.
Here too you need to register, upload your documents to get verified and then deposit money (in INR) to your ETHEXindia wallet.
Once both these steps are done(which are taking 4–5 days currently due to the high surge in traffic), you can buy ETH(Ethereum) by going to the ‘trade’ page. Enter the volume and the rate you would like to buy ETH at. This is slightly different than the previous buying process on Zebpay, in that here you will have to specifically indicate at what rate you want to buy ETH. The live order book gives you the prices that others have bid to sell and buy ETH at.
So if the lowest seller is selling at 16,400, and you have bid 16,000, your order will go into ‘pending order’. When someone places an order to sell at 16000, your bid will be matched and you will successfully buy the ETH. However, if nobody places an order to sell at 16,000 and the rate goes up, your ‘pending order’ will stay pending.
Drawback: ETHEXindia currently only allows you to buy whole ETHs. That is, you can buy 1 ETH or 2 ETH, but cannot buy 0.5 ETH. With 1 ETH currently selling at 15,000+ INR, this can be an issue if you do not want to invest so much for now.
But there is a solution! Buy BTC on the Zebpay app and exchange BTC with ETH.
Part 3: How to exchange BTC to ETH, vice versa and into other cryptocurrencies
Once again there are many options available. I am going to talk about the ones I use: Exodus & Shapeshift. I personally use Exodus most of the times, because it is a beautiful desktop app which makes it easy to keep an eye on your complete portfolio in (almost) realtime. Also, the exchange on Exodus is powered by Shapeshift itself.
The next step is to transfer your BTC & ETH on Zebpay & ETHEXIndia respectively to Exodus. (You can choose to keep them at their respective places too, this is completely optional. However, I like to keep all my crypto investments at one place so that I can track them easily.)
When you make an account on Exodus, you get a wallet ID. Note that the wallet ID for BTC will be different than the wallet ID for ETH. To receive BTC/ETH click on ‘wallet’ on the left panel & then click on the cryptocurrency you want to receive.
On this screen, click on ‘receive’. This will reveal your wallet address for the cryptocurrency. For example, below is my bitcoin address. (Feel free to send me some Bitcoins :D)
Now let’s take the case that you want to transfer Bitcoins to Exodus from Zebpay. Click on ‘send / receive bitcoins’ & ‘send to bitcoin address’. Here ‘add a new address’ by pasting your Exodus bitcoin wallet address, or scanning the QR code of the Exodus bitcoin wallet.
Next, we have to do the same thing for ETH from ETHEXIndia to Exodus. Go to the ‘wallet’ section on the main site, and click on withdrawal. Choose ETH from the dropdown, enter ETH amount to withdraw and paste the Exodus Ethereum wallet address to initiate the transfer. Alternatively paste the address of the wallet you want to send these ETH to.
The final major task that you must know is how to exchange ETH to BTC, and a few other cryptocurrencies on Exodus. Which is fairly simple. Click on ‘exchange’ on the left panel, choose which cryptocurrency to exchange and which to receive, and then enter the amount you want to exchange. Note: the amount you transfer (in USD) and that you receive may not be equal. This is a normal occurrence, so don’t worry. The difference is due to multiple reasons)
This was the brief overview of the basics of investing in cryptocurrencies in India. If I missed anything, or you would like some more details on anything, feel free to contact me :)
And stay tuned/subscribe for more articles on blockchain technology and how to usher in this next big wave of innovation!