These engineers created BuyUCoin, a crypto start-up that started out while they were still in college.
When crypto startsCo-founder Shivam Thakral was still a student at Harcourt Butler Technical University in Kanpur In 2015, he often carried out freelance website development assignments with foreign clients. One day, the same year, a customer asks him if he accepts the payment in Bitcoin.
Unaware of what that meant at the time, Shivam searched for it and realized that he could accept Bitcoin from the client and liquidate it to receive the INR in his Indian bank account. He agreed to accept his payment in Bitcoin, and soon enough, Shivam received the payment in less than six hours – much faster than the five to seven day turnaround time for foreign fiat currency payment transactions.
The engineer also realized that there weren’t many Indian companies actively working in the crypto space.
This inspired him to start and create a primed crypto startup BuyUCoin, India’s first multi-cryptocurrency exchange, based in Delhi-RCN, where traders and consumers can easily transact – buy, sell, and trade – or store Bitcoin, and several altcoins such as Ethereum, Ripple, and others.
In just nine days, Shivam built a “basic website” where users can buy and sell Bitcoin. Using this website as his minimum viable product, Shivam approached several of his engineering classmates. Two of them – Devesh aggrawal and Atoulia B – showed the most interest, and together they co-founded BuyUCoin in 2016 while he was still in college.
BuyUCoin Co-Founders (L to R) Shivam Thakral, Atulya B and Devesh Aggrawal
Elaborating on what their journey has been and the market opportunities ahead, Shivam said Your story Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma,
“Over the past five years, we’ve had some extreme ups and downs on our journey – from the highs of the crypto bull run of 2017 to the lows of the period following the RBI ban on crypto trading at the more recent Supreme Court ruling to ban. This industry is therefore here to survive, will continuously evolve and become the next name in the financial industry. ”
The BuyUCoin team
Simplicity – the key differentiator
Five years after its launch, BuyUCoin is today one of India’s leading crypto exchanges with over one million traders and holders investing in over one 130 pairs of cryptocurrencies such as BTC-INR, ETH-INR and DOGE-INR, among others.
But the trio faced challenges in the early years of building the product, as the Indian market was still in its infancy, with no real playbook to turn to.
Co-founder and CTO Devesh, who built the platform from Shivam’s website, says, “Now, building a crypto exchange seems easy. But when we first started, we found it difficult to partner with service providers and had to build the platform ourselves without a team or advice. Until 2018, we had no payment channel and had to rely on direct bank transfers. “
Still, the BuyUCoin co-founders worked early on to find differentiators in their product. The top priority for them was ensure simplicity, so that users can easily buy, sell, manage or store their cryptocurrencies on an intuitive and secure platform.
“Some Indian stock exchanges have copied the world stock exchanges by showing investors the order book in real time. But we wanted to keep our interface simple and intuitive by not showing the backlog to users. Instead, we showed a single rate at which an investor could buy a particular cryptocurrency, and the user could just complete the transaction with the click of a button, ”says Shivam.
Through March 2018, the feature helped BuyUCoin add two lakh users, and seeing this pull, other exchanges have started to introduce such functionality as well, say the founders.
Revenue model and scalability
BuyUCoin’s revenue model has two channels –percentage commissions on transactions and Quick and easy trading margins.
“The first is common to all exchanges. We earn commissions on transactions from buyers and sellers. The second involves a small margin on transactions on our OTC platform for cryptocurrency transactions, and the merchant sees the final transaction amount, including our margins. 80 percent of our traction comes from this second channel, ”says Shivam.
The BuyUCoin mobile interface
BuyUCoin’s OTC platform allows investors and traders with large transactions outside the range of open order books to buy and sell cryptos. His OTC office enables high volume transactions with easy, fast and secure payments, and the startup’s OTC agents provide highly personalized services to their users.
In anticipation of an increase in transaction volumes, which in the past caused crypto exchanges to crash, BuyUCoin is develop its systems as well as its support systems for customer service.
“To create a scalable crypto exchange that never crashes, our support systems must also be scalable. We therefore put in place processes that allow our support and operations teams to run smoothly alongside the exchange. We also build asmutual aid system where customers can use their transaction IDs to check the status of their deposits and withdrawals themselves without creating a ticket, ”Devesh adds.
Growth in a climate of regulatory uncertainty
BuyUCoin is playing in an Indian crypto industry rejuvenated by a recent RBI clarification that its Circular 2018 preventing banks from dealing in “virtual currencies” is invalid and can no longer be invoked after its annulment by the Supreme Court in 2020.
The cryptocurrency industry welcomed this RBI statement and viewed it as an endorsement of the use of bank accounts for such transactions.
“Previously, banks would show us the 2018 circular when it was put on hold. It made it difficult to work with them. Now, with the recent clarification, we are confident when talking to banks. However, we do not deal directly with banks for user deposits and withdrawals. Instead, we partner with payment gateways, aggregators, and processors that deal directly with banks. Mobikwik is an example.
Last year, BuyUCoin announced that it was partnering with Mobikwik to integrate the fintech startup’s payment gateway service with the crypto exchange platform to have Mobikwik as a payment option. This means that Mobikwik users can also directly buy cryptocurrencies on BuyUCoin using money from the Mobikwik wallet.
Yet despite the recent clarification from the RBI, there is still no clarity as to whether the RBI has approved the operation of the cryptocurrency (the bill titled “Cryptocurrency and the Regulation of the Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021“, is still pending in Parliament).
Nonetheless, blockchain innovation and crypto trading are slowly becoming mainstream in India, and exchanges like BuyUCoin, WazirX, CoinDCX and others are poised to capitalize on the influx of new investors and traders.