Bitcoin in India – Regulation, Purchasing, Investing

For some time, the fate of cryptocurrency sphere in India has been in limbo.

In April 2018, Central Bank of the country prohibited banks to exchange cryptocurrencies. And in July 2019, an inter-ministerial panel, set up to study bitcoins, led by the top bureaucrat Subhash Chandra Garg, recommended imprisoning those people, who even store Bitcoins and other digital assets.

Bitcoin in India – Regulation, Purchasing, Investing

By the way, September`s report by the steering committee of the ministry of finance advised more loyal approach, referring to the importance of blockchain technology.

Uncertainty in cryptocurrency field, appeared because of legal background absence, started to decline. It`s important for Indian government to look at Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from a different angle and consider them not only as digital currency, but also as computer network and technical protocol.

Huge technical opportunities of blockchain and perspectives of BTC inspire many investors to invest money in the first cryptocurrency. So, Indian authority should see in Bitcoin not only danger for economy, but also opportunities of country`s development.

Is Bitcoin Legal in India?

Status of Bitcoin in India stays in an odd position enough. Bitcoin in India is legal and illegal simultaneously, there are two aspects of this question:

  1. Buying and selling BTC is NOT ILLEGAL in India. Today there is no regulating law in the country forbidding to buy or sell bitcoin, so what is not illegal can be considered legal;
  2. Bitcoin usage for regular payment is ILLEGAL. The first cryptocurrency is not a legal payment means in India. This means that you cannot buy coffee, pay for rental housing or get a salary in BTC. This moment is distinctly regulated by Indian government.

In cryptocurrency ecosystem in India reigns confusion. The Narendra Modi government and India’s central bank have clarified that they don`t welcome digital currencies, and activity of numerous investors only strengthen authority`s negative attitude.

30 November 2017, when investors` frenzy was at a high with rising bitcoin prices, finance minister Arun Jaitley claimed that the country didn`t approve cryptocurrencies as a legal payment means. A month later the government actively warned citizens from investing in digital assets, saying that they looked like fraudulent schemes.

On 2 January of the same year, Jaitley again confirmed the position of Indian government, stating that people invest their money at their own risk. “By numerous notifications both sides, government and Reserve Bank of India (RBI), have many times informed the society that Bitcoin won`t be approved as a valid payment means in India”, – he said.

Also in April 2018, RBI forbade banks to open accounts for crypto exchanges and forbade users to involve banking channels for settlements on crypto transactions. This factor does not make Bitcoin banned in India. But RBI`s forbiddance means that citizens cannot use banking account to purchase or sell BTC.

When was Bitcoin banned in India?

In 2019, Bitcoin regulation in India was tough updated by the new government`s bill called “Banning Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019”. This bill offers a judgement of 10 years’ imprisonment for citizens, dealing with cryptocurrencies.

Such a strict verdict will concern those who mine, hold, purchase and sell Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and those who correctly or incorrectly deal with digital assets in the country.

If the bill is adopted, Indian government will oblige cryptocurrency holders to inform about their crypto assets within 90 days and to dispose the assets “in accordance with the prescription of central government.” In addition, the bill provides for system of fines, which three time exceed loss caused to the economy or profits of crypto holders.

What is more, “cognisable and non-bailable” offense can lead to arrest for 10 years. On the other hand, this crypto ban has been challenged in the supreme court which is expected to resume hearing the case in January.

In the bill they also propose to develop Indian national digital currency – Digital Rupee. And there is an opinion that such a decision of cryptocurrencies banning is also connected with promoting of future Digital Rupee.

You can see, as of today BTC and altcoins are not legal and not illegal in India. There is no precise regulation in the country, and with the filing of Indian government digital currencies stay in the “gray area”.

Why is Bitcoin Illegal in India?

The question of why Bitcoin is illegal in India has a clear answer. Such a status of the first cryptocurrency in the country is related with its decentralization, due to Blockchain-based technology.

Why is Bitcoin Illegal in India?

Digital currencies do not operate on a single server, URL or IP-address. They run on several nodes, which can be owned and managed by anyone and are usually spread all over the world. None government has a centralized point to ban or attack cryptocurrencies.

So, why is Bitcoin banned in India? If carefully read RBI circular, you will notice that they have never used a word “ban”, telling about Bitcoin. It has only prevented any organisation regulated by the central bank to deal with businesses that have anything to do with digital assets. On practice, the banks will have to stop deposits and withdrawals to and from Indian rupee (INR) on cryptocurrency exchanges. This news has been widely spread countrywide and has been immediately treated as “Bitcoin is not legal in India”.

However, traders still can buy and sell cryptocurrencies at all crypto exchanges within 3 months after RBI`s warning. Even after this period the central bank or the government technically are not able to ban BTC.

As a larger part of cryptocurrency trading takes place at international crypto exchange, the prohibition of Indian exchanges will make citizens purchase digital assets only at international services or OTC (over the counter) options, because in this case a crypto purchase/sale is impossible to track.

When will Bitcoin become legal in India? This query is not so common and univocal to answer. Many cryptocurrency experts believe that Bitcoin`s coming to India will help its economy`s rise. Blockchain technology can also promote development of many other country`s sphere. However, other experts think that population of Bitcoin contra may harm the economy of India and crash Indian rupee. So, a clear status of the first cryptocurrency will determine only the future.

Who Accepts Bitcoin in India?

Though Indian government makes every effort to drive BTC out of the country, the cryptocurrency becomes even more popular among citizens. Countrywide there are some land-based points, where Bitcoin is accepted in India:

  • Suryawanshi restaurants in Bengaluru’s Indiranagar and Whitefield;
  • Castle Blue spa and salon – Mumbai;
  • StartUp Café – co–working space in Gorakhpur;
  • Sapna book store (Sapnaonline) – one of the oldest and largest stationary segment.

Also, there is the number of online resources, who accept Bitcoin in India, let`s take a look at them:

  • Indsoft and Cyberls – webhosting service providers;
  • Reload – online mobile recharge;
  • Tecdoc365 – utility software management website;
  • Fashiondiva – online cloth and accessories portal;
  • People place is online training and recruitment firm;
  • EPaisa, a free point–of–sale app provide bitcoin as a payment option;
  • Etravelsmart.com;
  • Flight Shop;
  • Dharwad International School;
  • nafa.in;
  • Zebpay app allows you to buy vouchers of Amazon, Flipkart, Freecharge, Bookmyshow and Makemytrip. It has also enabled its users to recharge their prepaid or post-paid plans with telecom operators such as Airtel, Vodafone, Uninor, Reliance, BSNL, MTNL, Tata Docomo along with the DTH service providers.

Where to Buy Bitcoin in India?

In India exists now only one place, where to buy Bitcoin – online cryptocurrency exchanges. You will not find in the country any Bitcoin-ATM (BTM) and it is not easy to find here a person, selling BTC by cash.

How to buy bitcoin in India using PayTM

PayTM is one of the most popular Indian payment gateway app, which since now can be used for buying BTC. Though, you cannot purchase Bitcoin directly using the PayTM wallet app. There is the number of websites, where citizens can buy Bitcoin in India and pay it with PayTM. Before buying digital currency with the help of this payment app you should know a couple of things:

  1. You are able to get both a full BTC coin and its part (0,001 for example);
  2. You can purchase Bitcoins worth $100 (INR 6400) or less;
  3. If you hold significant amount of Bitcoins (more than $500), you`d better buy a hardware wallet;
  4. For short-term BTC usage you may use mobile cryptocurrency wallets.

Below we provide you with two websites, where you can purchase Bitcoin using PayTM:

  • LocalBitcons;
  • Parful.

How to buy bitcoin in India using debit/credit card

Buying Bitcoin with debit/credit card can be a bit trickier and more expensive than local bank transfers, but there is no shortage of options once you know where to look. Below in this article we are going to consider the list of reliable exchanges, operating in India.

Note, while purchasing BTC at an exchange using your credit/debit card, take into account card acceptance, transfer limits and exchange fees. Also, make sure that your card will permit you to withdraw digital currency.

How to buy bitcoin in India using PayPal

Unfortunately, PayPal and Bitcoin network co-operate not very well, so it is not easy to buy BTC and other altcoins through PayPal, if you are not its constant customer.

Bitcoin transactions are irreversible, while PayPal supports chargebacks. The disadvantage is that your options are limited, and that you’ll often have to take extra steps which can be inconvenient and might mean slightly less value for money than other payment methods. There are 4 well-known resources, where you can get cryptocurrencies using PayPal service. They are arranged from least to most complicated:

  1. LocalBitcoins;
  2. Paxful;
  3. xCoins;
  4. VirWox.

How to buy bitcoin in India using cash

It is quite difficult to buy Bitcoin with cash in India. In the country there is no Bitcoin-ATM, which you can use for buying BTC with cash. Although, Indians may enter LocalBitcoins website and try to find a person, physically selling cryptocurrency in the country.

Top 3 Bitcoin exchanges in India

And now we are going to present you three most popular and trusted cryptocurrency exchanges, today operating in India.

  1. WazirX. This exchange is something that citizens of India should all appreciate. It came after Koinex and Bitbns and creates his separated fan-base due to ease to trade. That’s something really difficult, as everyone is struggling with the new RBI guidelines. They created an error-less automated trading platform which makes the trading way easier with respect to other exchanges available. With some few clicks you can just sell any of your assets easily;
  2. Koinex. Koinex is something people can trust and rely on, it came when Zebpay and Unocoin had already penetrated the market. They came as different, they are the first reliable Indian exchange to let you buy multiple crypto assets like Ripple, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin directly from Debit cards, e-wallets. At start, they only provided 5 cryptocurrencies. There is a reason it is on №2 due to its semi-automated process of buying or selling cryptocurrency;
  3. BitBNS. BitBNS started like a star, at the start it let you purchase 20+ digital currencies directly with UPI, E-wallets. That is really a big deal as all other exchanges are either let you purchase only Bitcoin or less than 5–6 cryptos. It is first Indian exchange to include margin trading. Currently, it let you trade 67 cryptocurrencies so far. They also have option to lend or borrow cryptos.

From 2015 till now, these three mentioned exchanges survived and proved that they can be relied on. By the way, numerous other services, working in India, just stopped their functioning in the country.  

How to Sell Bitcoin in India

The question “how to sell bitcoin in India” has only one answer – cryptocurrency exchanges. Above in the article you can find the list of reliable exchanges, operating now in India, where you have an opportunity to sell your crypto.

In addition, to sell bitcoin in India for cash you should use LocalBitcoins service. Try to find a person in your location, who wants to buy BTC for cash.

How to Trade Bitcoin in India

Despite a vague situation in the field of cryptocurrency regulation, bitcoin still can be traded in India. There are some broker platforms, which are available for Indians:

  • BitMEX. It has become the most well-known professional Bitcoin broker in relatively short time. The reason might be that the platform is fairly uncomplicated – signups are quick and without ID verification. Also, the platform has a highly professional trading engine providing all advanced order types. By the way, withdrawals are not limited at all;
  • PrimeXBT. This resource is a relatively new but highly professional Bitcoin margin broker which gained popularity very quickly. Their trading platform is easy to use and very intuitive and they do not ask for any ID verification at all. Their live chat customer support is very helpful and responds within a couple of minutes;
  • Binance. It is the number one altcoin trading website. They have a big altcoin portfolio. All altcoins can be traded against Bitcoin or Ether. Binance allows deposits or withdrawals for all listed cryptocurrencies but no INR or any other fiat currency;
  • Bitfinex. This platform belongs to the largest international crypto brokers. Their altcoin portfolio is constantly growing, and they have a professional trading engine with advanced order types and an intuitive user interface. Altcoins can be traded against Bitcoin or Ether. Indian citizens can open an account and deposit and withdrawal cryptocurrencies only, like at all unregulated crypto brokers.

Today trading in Bitcoin sphere is convenient enough. For traders` comfort were created apps for smartphones and other gadgets, what greatly ease life of Bitcoin traders.

Is Bitcoin Trading in India Legal or Not?

Bitcoin trading in India cannot be called legal, as till now the fate of the first cryptocurrency is still uncertain in legal sense. As a result, any citizen of India, who decides to trade BTC, may meet issues while signing up at an exchange and while money withdrawal to his bank card or another account in India.

So, to do bitcoin trading in India, you should use cryptocurrency exchanges, whose terms of use do not prohibit access from your country. Above in this article you can see the lists of such exchanges and broker services, if you are not satisfied with them – you can search for other variants on the Internet.

Bitcoin in India – Price in Rupees (₹)

In 2008 was registered domain name bitcoin.org. The same year the beta-test of Bitcoin was held for all comers in order to experience mining technology. In 2008 was no Bitcoin rate at all, as well as Bitcoin itself.

Bitcoin in India – Price in Rupees (₹)

How much did Bitcoin value in 2009? October 5 at the exchange New Liberty Standard was published the first Bitcoin rate to US dollar (USD): $1 = 1,309.03 BTC. Interesting fact, there was one transaction of 10 000 BTC, which was used for purchase of 2 pizzas Papa Johns.

Bitcoin price in Indian rupees (₹). Now it is possible to buy Bitcoin in India through online cryptocurrency exchanges. At the moment of this article writing (10.01.2020) 1 BTC values 574 050 rupees (₹).

Bitcoin Mining in India

Today, mining is very popular business. Miners have an opportunity to make significant profit. On the other hand, a common person without thousands of dollars cannot afford to start mining activity.

It is not profitable to mine cryptocurrency in India, even if you have resources for this. Legal uncertainty of the first cryptocurrency in the country endangers any mining business. However, if you have taken a decision to mine in India, you should buy a miner (mining farm), which will make calculations. You will install software on this equipment, and then connect to a pool.

Also, you can mine cryptocurrency on your smartphone. We advise you to learn information about mining on Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitcoin#Mining.

How to Invest in Bitcoin in India

Bitcoin is easy to invest in. You can buy it and sell whenever you want to. You do not have to sign an agreement, and you can do it all by yourself!

Bitcoin itself is an investment. There are many ways to invest and earn with BTC, namely:

  • Buy low, sell high;
  • Stay up-to-date on Bitcoin market trends;
  • Use Bitcoin wealth to purchase more stable investments;
  • Bitcoin mining (purchasing needed equipment for cryptocurrency mining).

Before investing in Bitcoin, you might be interested in getting it for free.

How to Get Bitcoin in India for Free

It is quite easy to get free cryptocurrency in India. You may earn free BTC in India by working at bitcoin faucets, making trading or implementing some work for a fee in bitcoins. We give you an example of earning free bitcoins at the well-known faucet freebitcoi.in:

  1. Create an account at freebitco.in;
  2. Get some free Satoshi (bitcoin);
  3. Multiply these Satoshi;
  4. Exchange it for money.

Create free account on the freebitco.in website

This is one of the easiest steps. Enter freebitco.in, type your email and password and go to your account.

Time to claim your free bitcoins on freebitco.in.

This is probably the hardest step. Why? Because you will be tempted to start the Hi-Lo game after you got some satoshis. Do not do it. Again: DO NOT start gambling prematurely! You will lose everything, believe me.

Just go to the “Free BTC” page every hour, click on the “I’m no robot” captcha and click the “Roll” button. That’s not so hard. After that, a 5-digit number will be rolled and displayed. You will always get some Satoshi. And with some luck you will win even more coins by getting a roll over 9886. As soon as you hit 8192 Satoshi (= 0.00008192 BitCoins) you can proceed with the next step.

Multiply your free satoshi (BTC) by playing the Hi-Lo game.

Next step is playing the game: freebitco.in provides a Hi-Lo game. And there is a simple strategy to beat such games: When you win, return to your base set; when you lose, double your set. This way you will always win your base bet (if you do not run out of money while betting).

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