We’ll soon be coming up on the eighth anniversary of the launch of Bitcoin. Since first appearing in 2009, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have disrupted the financial ecosystem in unexpected and unforeseen ways. Today, with the price of Bitcoins surging to new heights and multiple other currencies entering the market, the world has seen a massive uptick in interest in cryptocurrency trading, including in India.
In response, multiple Indian startups have emerged to make trading, buying and selling, and storage easy and safe for those trading in not just bitcoins, but other cryptocurrencies too. We take a look at a few of them:
Started in 2014, this Delhi-based startup is a real-time bitcoin trading platform. It offers a bitcoin wallet and exchange along with trading merchant services and blockchain-based services. Started by Benson Samuel and Mohit Kalra, the company raised $ 1.2 million from an undisclosed group of angel investors in 2016.
Launched in 2012, BuySellBitco.in was renamed as Zeb IT Service Pvt. Ltd. in 2014 and the company was registered in Singapore. Its app is called Zebpay. The company’s headquarters are in Ahmedabad. Founded by Sumit Thakur in 2012, the company acquired two more partners – Sandeep Goenka and Saurabh Agrawal – in the 2014 rebranding, becoming a mobile bitcoin company.
In 2016, Zebpay raised Series A funding of around $1 million led by Arjun Handa, CMD and VP of Claris Lifesciences, along with Amit Jindal, MD of Jindal Worldwide, and other investors.
The platform’s aim is to make the revolutionary bitcoin technology simple so that the average Indian can be a proud owner and user of bitcoins.
Bitxoxo was started in 2016 by Hesham Rehman, who is the CEO and Co-founder of the Warangal-based Bitcoin exchange. The company provides services to buy, sell, hold, gift, and use bitcoin for bitcoin users in India and across the globe. They also offer a pre-paid gift card option.
This Hyderabad-based company is a crypto-token exchange company. It has an XRP (Ripple) wallet and exchange for real-time trading for crypto-tokens and rupees, along with added blanket security and reliability. It was started in 2013 by Kamesh Mupparaju, a commodity markets trader. Soon after, the exchange was forced to temporarily shut shop because of the RBI’s clampdown on bitcoin exchanges; however, it reopened for trade earlier this year through a partnership with Ripple Labs Inc.
This buy-sell-trade platform for bitcoin and ether in India was started in 2016 by Abhishek Gopal, Mohammed Roshan, and Anandaprabhu Rajendran. This Bengaluru-based blockchain startup lets you buy, sell, send, receive, and trade Bitcoin, Ether, and INR Falcon.
So how does it work? ThroughBit allows you to trade 24×7 by using an intermediary currency, INR Falcon, which is pegged to the Indian Rupee. ThroughBit users can purchase Indian Rupee Falcon (INRF), the ThroughBit-exclusive cryptocurrency at the rate of 1 INR = 1 INRF, and then use their INRF tokens to make purchases for Ether and Bitcoin. Thus, users can log-on at any time of the day and make instantaneous transactions without having to wait for “regular banking hours”.
Started in 2013, Bengaluru-based Unocoin allows customers to buy, sell, store, use and accept bitcoins. Sathvik Vishwanath is the CEO of the company; he met his partners Harish BV, Abhinand Kaseti, and Sunny Ray at a bitcoin meetup. All believed in the potential of the market for bitcoins and that’s how they came together to work on Unocoin.
Mumbai-based Coinome is a venture of Hatio Innovations Pvt. Ltd., which is a fully owned subsidiary of BillDesk, a 17-year-old fintech and online payments leader in India. Vivek Steve Francis is the CEO of Coinome, which facilitates simple on-boarding with instant e-KYC and enables users to instantly start transacting in their preferred cryptocurrency. The platform allows for cryptocurrency transactions round-the-clock, including instant deposits using payment gateways and instant withdrawals, thereby allowing transactions even on weekends or business holidays. The exchange aims to further support 20 mainstream cryptocurrencies by 2018.
Started by IIT graduates in 2017, Pune-based Coindelta is an exchange that provides 24/7 live support for queries users may face. It has markets with INR and Bitcoin as base currencies. Its CEO Rajdeep Singh and the team aim to educate society about blockchain and are looking to build a strong community of blockchain enthusiasts.
Bangalore-based Belfrics is a Bitcoin exchange startup that launched in India with Praveen Kumar as its CEO in 2014. The original Malaysian parent company launched an exchange in India to capitalise on the market’s growing appetite for trading in cryptocurrencies. They plan to introduce PoS and Bitcoin payment gateways for online and retail merchants.
Delhi-based BuyUCoin allows users to trade, store, use, and accept cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, etc. Co-founder and CEO Shivam Thakral, and Co-founder and CTO Devesh Aggarwal started the platform in 2014.
This Bangalore-based cryptocurrency exchange was founded by Ashish Singhal in 2017. CoinSwitch supports over 100 cryptocurrencies and more than 5,000 potential exchange options.
Started this year, Mumbai-based Koinex was set up by co-founders Rakesh Yadav, Aditya Naik, and Rahul Raj, who is the platform’s current CEO. A digital assets exchange supporting trades in a wide variety of cryptocurrencies, including the most popular ones Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ripple, Koinex aims to use its platform to showcase the power of blockchain technology to India and lead the push for more blockchain-powered services across the country.
Nasik-based PocketBits was founded by Saif Khan in August 2016. Operated by Defacto Technologies Pvt Ltd., it is a digital currency wallet and platform where merchants and consumers can undertake transactions with new digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ether.
As is evident, cryptocurrency trading and associated services offer a lot of potential in the coming few months, and Indian startups and entrepreneurs are scrambling to cash in on this opportunity. But is this a new proverbial golden goose, or simply a fragile bubble that will soon burst? Only time will tell. In the meantime, if you’re looking to start trading in cryptocurrencies, there is no dearth of options and platforms to try out. Good luck!