How to buy Bitcoins in India: A simple DIY approach to Bitcoin investment

How to buy Bitcoins in India? If you have asked this question, wondered how to invest in Bitcoins with INR, here is a simple DIY approach. This is not a recommendation to buy bitcoins and I do not hold any. The reason I am writing this is that the bitcoin and cryptocurrency community is filled with unsavoury pump and dump characters who can easily fool and misguide new investors. So I think it is is better for interested new investors to DIY their bitcoin buying.

How to buy Bitcoins in India: 1 who should buy or invest?

First of all, this post is not a recommendation to buy bitcoins. I do not hold any and do not intend to. I have written this with inputs from a student at IIT, Madras who values her anonymity.

Second of all, I would strongly discourage anyone above the age of 35 to fool around with their hard earned money at this stage in their life. Younger Indians have the youth, and the time to play with Bitcoin.

Are you suffering from a fear of missing out?

As I have explained here, there is no need for that: If Bitcoin becomes expensive and popular in future, should I buy some now?! (it has become expensive since I wrote that, but that does not matter).

How to buy Bitcoins in India: 2 Buy for the right reasons

The reason I read about bitcoins and write about it as often as I can is that  I desire to learn new technology.  Otherwise, the world will bulldoze us aside. One does not need to buy to learn, but if you must invest, then do so because you wish to understand the technology and think it can change the way you operate. Do not buy because of fear, do not buy because of greed. It can blind you.

How to buy Bitcoins in India: 3 Small capital, small dreams

If you wish to buy bitcoins do so with money that you can afford to lose completely. Put some money and leave it alone for a few months. If it increases, pull it out and buy yourself something fancy or go on a trek. Always put in a small capital and fund your small dreams. That way you will not get hurt.

Bitcoins are not suitable for serious investing. If want to be a Bitcoin hodler (slang for long-term bitcoin investor or hoarder) then do so at your own risk. Hope that bitcoin price will always be higher in future is not a strategy.

If Bitcoins are too expensive to buy even in 0.001 fractions (and they are), you can try other cryptocurrencies – see below.

Is Bitcoin a scam? Is it not a bubble?

Bitcoin does not fit into the usual definition of a financial asset and therefore cannot be called a bubble. I have written at this at length: Bitcoin: Is it a Ponzi Scheme? A Pyramid Scheme? Or a Bubble?

Is Buying Bitcoins legal in India

The Indian government has warned that it is too risky to be used as an investment but has not banned its usage. However, it could make buying bitcoins or any other form or cryptocurrency illegal. Once it does, you will have to say goodbye to your investments. So be prepared for that.

How is Bitcoin taxed in India?

Since there is no official ruling in this matter, you will have to add the income as “income from other sources” and pay tax as per slab. Bitcoin profits are not capital gains. This means, whether you redeem or not, even notional profits must be shown as income and tax paid (like FDs) each financial year. Needless to say, there is a lot of unsavoury jugaad going on here.

Where to buy Bitcoins in India

If you wish to directly buy cryptocurrency in India with INR, then your choices are limited.  There are two exchanges which have decent feedback in social media: Zebpay and Koinex.

Zebpay is available only as an app. I have not used it, but if they are going to send double authentication sms to login, then it makes no sense to have that sent to the same device. Double authentication requires two different sources and two different devices to be secure.

Koinex has a desktop version and the difference between INR-Bitcoin-buy-price and INR-bitcoin-sell-price is not too much compared to Zebapy (during the periods I saw – one can see this on their front page). So I will discuss the basic steps to buy bitcoins in India via Koinex.

Are you not encouraging Bitcoin buying via this kinda post?

I have made my case for not investing: Three Reasons to avoid Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency. Whether I write about it or not, people are going to search for “how to buy bitcoins in India”. So I see no harm in writing about relevant information with all necessary disclaimers. Only those who wish to read disclaimers will bother to read them. My conscience in this matter is clear: better to DIY Bitcoin buying (if interested) rather than listen to bad advice and lose money in initial coin offerings in an hope to gain big and then shift to Bitcoin.

I will again repeat the disclaimer: I do not hold any kind of cryptocurrency. I do not recommend buying any kind of cryptocurrency. This post is only for those who have already made up their minds to buy bitcoins with INR. It is possible that this post may inspire some more. Well, that cannot be helped.

How do I know which cryptocurrency to buy?

I am no expert, but coingecko has an easy-to-understand screener in terms of develop strength, community interest and public opinion. This is a snapshot of the top ten from a huge list.

A list of cryptocurrencies listed at coingecko

If you must buy cryptocurrency, stick to the top ten in terms of “total” score with a high “developer” strength.

Which cryptocurrencies can I buy in India?

Only a handful and that is more than enough. At Koinex you can buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash. You can buy Neo from an exchanged called BuyUcoin, but I do not know about it.

How to buy Bitcoins in India from Koinex

Step 1: Understand the risks, read the disclaimer in this post and never ever put big money. Play with it if you must, but do not mix business and pleasure.

Step 2: Go to: Koinex armed with photographs of yourself, Pan card, front and back Aadhaar, bank passbook and sign up. Stay away from people who post referral links that promise you a welcome gift (petty change in INR). They will also be paid the same petty change.

Step 3: Wait for KYC to be verified. In this time cool down and remember step 1.

Step 4: Once your account is approved, you can transfer money from your approved bank account via NEFT or via online transfer (for a fee).

Step 5: Buy the cryptocoin of your choice.

Step 6: Logout for the sake your mental health.

Step 7: Login again after a month and check your luck. If must invest again, do so with only money that you afford to lose. You will know the meaning of that sooner or later.

How to buy bitcoins in India with Koinex: a snapshot

What are the disadvantages of buying Bitcoins in India

1: The buy/sell traffic is low.

2: The buy price and sell price could differ a lot. Even if they are they the same, they are still much much higher than the price you will get by Googling “Bitcoin in INR”. This is a major downside, but the only alternative is to convert INR to USD, sign up at a foreign exchange and then work there. If you want the lowdown on this, search in Quora and DIY.

3: There may be frequent disruptions in trading, payment delivery and redemptions. (see yellow box above)

4: There is no regulation. They may run away with your money.

5: They may run away with your money after regulations are announced.

6: You cannot do proper trading with them, but frequent buy/sell is possible

7: We do not know how secure they are. Someone can hack into them and take out all your coins.

Should I trade in Bitcoin or buy and hold?

You don’t need to do day trading but be a nimble buyer/seller. That is, if you see good profits, don’t hesitate to book them and buy small delights. If Bitcoin moves up 20-30% on the weight of good news it moved down twice as much on the weight of bad news (eg. somebody ran away, or hacked an exchange).

Do not buy and hold assuming 1 bitcoin will be worth millions in the future. Bitcoin investments are subject to time value of money. They can go for years around a price range and not provide any sizeable return. See: Investing in Cryptocoin vs Trading in Cryptocoin.

Make hay while the sun shines (this means it wil not shine for long)

Only those who shake the tree get the fruit

Have you seen how James Bond operates? If he suspects someone, he would go straight to their home or office and threaten them without actually doing so. That is he would ruffle a few feathers. Only those who take risks can make gains.  So I salute those who have taken the risk to invest in Bitcoins.  I have no sadistic desire for it all come crashing down so that I can say, “I told you it is a scam”. Live long and prosper.

Disclaimer

None of the above contents or any post in this site should be construed as investment advice. Proceed with extreme caution when it comes to bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies. I will not be responsible for your losses and therefore I am not responsible for your gains either.


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