Update July 2018: Since the Indian government (RBI) seems hell-bent on making life difficult for crypto enthusiasts like us, most crypto exchanges in India are currently in the process of either shutting down or legally challenging RBI’s ban. While you cannot trade on Zebpay or Unocoin anymore, it is possible to trade on P2P platforms.
Koinex Loop comes recommended, but you have to be willing to take a risk (if you’re buying, there are chances that the seller will not give you your BTC even after paying, and the opposite is true for sellers!) You have the option of putting up “collateral” to prove that you are trustworthy. While these P2P platforms, the exchange becomes the arbitrators in case of dispute. Since KYC of both sides is done before any trades happen, there is a level of reliability.
Yes, the world is going bananas over Bitcoins, and you’re wondering how to buy some bitcoins in India? It’s become much easier for us Indians over the last couple of years with the advent of Bitcoin wallet companies like Zebpay and Unocoin. In this review, I will talk about my experiences with both companies over the last 6 months or so, as well as some basic grounding on Bitcoins.
What are Bitcoins?
Why should you invest in Bitcoins?
Why is Bitcoin going bananas?
Is there going to be a Bitcoin bubble? Is there going to be a repeat of 2013?
- 2013 was a definite bubble, related to the Mt Gox and Chinese inflows.
- 2016 has seen a very different growth pattern: slower and more sustainable. We even witnessed the Bitfinex issue mid-year, yet there is resilience in the market.
- It is only the last couple of months that we’ve seen a similar sort of bubble — price rising from US $700 to US $1100. This bubble is supposed to be related to Chinese outflows (I read that in the past week or so China has bought 5 million BTC vs 58,000 elsewhere). If the Chinese government clamps down on these outflows, then yes, we can expect to see a small crash. But I don’t expect it to go anywhere below US $800 and then gradually rise over the year.
- If there is another Bitfinex type security issue, then yes, we can expect a definite crash. But as Bitfinex has proved, the market marches on.
How to start buying Bitcoins in India?
- Pan Card copy
- Address proof copy
- Bank details
- Phone number
Zebpay Review – India
- It’s an app. So it is always in your pocket makes it easy to check the latest price and make a quick purchase.
You can place “buy orders”. This means you like a price, you can lock it for 2 hours, while you make the transfer online.(There was a mail update that Zebpay is going to stop doing this though. I don’t think that’s a good idea at all. I’m not going to keep Rs 1 lakh in my Zebpay wallet. ) Update: Jan 17, 2017 – You CANNOT place any “buy orders” on ZebPay. You need to FIRST put money into your ZebPay wallet through an online bank transfer. I tried this once and it was a big pain. It took 21 hours for the transfer to reflect in my account. The BTC price went up by Rs 1000 meanwhile. Unocoin was much faster.
- It gives you the value of your BTC investment in INR. I think that’s the big difference between Zebpay and Unocoin. Zebpay seems to be more geared towards long term investers, while Unocoin seems to be more of a janta BTC wallet.
- While I don’t use either Zebpay or Unocoin for making top-ups / recharges, Zebpay seems to have more partners who accept BTC.
Wide spreads: The difference between the buying and selling rates is usually quite wide on Zebpay. Currently, the buying rate is Rs 79,161 and selling rate is Rs 75,233. I think Rs 4000 is quite a ridiculous spread to have. While most Indian companies at the moment offer wide spreads, this will reduce as the amount they trade increases. Unocoin, at the exact same moment, is give a spread of Rs 2,000. However, these rates fluctuate a lot, so it would make sense to observe that rates for a longer period of time before jumping to conclusions. Having said that, most foreign BTC companies have much smaller spreads. This is something Zebpay must work towards.
You need to transfer money through online banking. Which means you have to log into your bank account and make the transfer. And since NEFT / RTGS transfers aren’t allowed at night (so silly), you can’t buy bitcoins at odd hours.
- Transfering from your bank account to your Zebpay wallet takes forever! 21 hours is ridiculous time period for any online purchase!
- There is a limit of transactions up to Rs 5 lakhs. You have to call someone to place higher purchases. Maybe you’ll get better rates? I don’t know.
- You can’t place any auto buy / sell orders based on cut off prices. (I think this used to exist but I no longer see it on the app).
- Security seems a little slacker than Unocoin. You have a pin lock and the ability to lock outgoing transactions which is great. They should also enable 2 factor authentication.
Zebpay Referral Code
Get free bitcoins worth Rs 100 on your first buy or sell by using the following code: REFTANV9422
Unocoin Review – India
- The spreads (difference between buying and selling rates) are usually less than Zebpay. However, these rates fluctuate a lot (in tandem with the market). Zebpay’s rates fluctuate a little less, so I prefer them.
- It’s a web app, meaning they have many more features than Zebpay, like you can set up standing instructions to deduct, for example, Rs 50 every day and deposit it into your BTC wallet.
- It’s also a phone app. Haven’t used it, so can’t comment.
- They allow transactions through credit card, debit cards via PayU money. This is a BIG bonus.
- They allow setting cut off to auto-sell (only for large order amounts. They should enable it for 1 BTC as well, and I don’t see an auto-buy?)
- Security seems quite strong: password, OTP, and you can enable Google 2 factor authorisation.
- Transfer from your bank account to your UnoCoin wallet are much faster than ZebPay.
- They don’t lock transactions even for a minute. I was trying to make a payment for a small amount of BTC, and by the time I tried to make the purchase, the rate had changed. So I had to make the purchase from scratch.
- Transferring payments is painful. If you don’t want to use your PayU wallet, you have to do a fund transfer from your account to the Unocoin wallet before you want to transact. You can hold this money in Unocoin’s account for 90 days. This doesn’t feel right to me. I don’t want to hold money in someone else’s account, but I want to be able to transact immediately. However, on the positive side, payment transfers to your Unocoin wallet are much faster than Zebpay.
- PayU money wallet limits apply. Meaning you can’t transact more than Rs 20,000 worth from your wallet.
CoinSecure Review – May 2017
Update 2018: Sigh, let’s rename this one CoinUnsecure. Turns out they got hacked and lost A LOT of money. On the positive side, it seems that they are making genuine attempts in refunding their customers. Lesson: never keep your cryptos on an online wallet!
Someone had mentioned CoinSecure.in to me as an alternative to Zebpay and Unocoin, especially good for those who are looking to trade rather than just having a Bitcoin wallet. And I have to say, I love Coinsecure!
The spreads on CoinSecure are the best, usually between Rs 500 – Rs 1000 between buying and selling price. This is a huge difference vs Zebpay or Unocoin (Rs 4000 – Rs 5000 spreads nowadays).
Then Coinsecure is a real time trading platform with open ledgers (the openness that Bitcoin is supposed to be!) — so you can see all live exchange trades (buying, selling, volumes, etc. This is something that is completely obfuscated in Zebpay and Unocoin, so you always wonder how they set their rates!
There is a 0.3% exchange trade fee on all transactions on Coinsecure, which is quite reasonable. You also have to transfer funds from your bank account via NEFT. This can sometimes take up to 12 hours to process. Also the negative side is the UI of the interface does get confusing somewhat, and it would be good for the Coinsecure team to refine it. and the signing up process is similar to Zebpay / Unocoin (there is a KYC process).
If you are looking to trade Bitcoin in India, look no further than Coinsecure.in!