How a stipend in Bitcoin inspired this engineer to start own crypto exchange
Mint spoke with him about what motivated him to get into crypto and launch one of India’s first crypto exchanges. He also discussed the company’s future plans. Extracts edited:
Q.Please tell us about your past.
Hapur (Delhi/NCR) was where I was born. My family is full of engineers, which motivated me to study engineering. In 2014, I studied chemical engineering at Harcourt Butler Technical University Kanpur. During college, I worked as a web developer for clients. This helped me to sharpen my coding skills. I was able to create many digital properties thanks to my programming skills. This also allowed me to see beyond what is already available in the world.
Q.How did you become interested in cryptography?
My summer internship was during college break. I received a stipend of Bitcoin in 2016. The payment was instantly credited to my account via a local exchange using Bitcoin. It used to take around 5-7 days for the same payment to be credited to my bank account. I became interested in crypto ecosystems after receiving a Bitcoin payment instantly.
I spent the next fifteen days researching crypto online, gathering vital information about the operation of the cryptocurrency economy around the globe.
Q.Why did you decide to create BuyUcoin?
Bitcoin was more fascinating to me than any other thing, so I decided to purchase the cryptocurrency asset online using my savings. I looked online, but could not find any platform that allowed me to purchase such crypto assets in India. So I set out to create a cryptocurrency exchange in India so that Indians could also enjoy the benefits of crypto.
Atulya Bhat (co-founders), and Devesh Aggarwal (cofounders) liked my idea. It was a great feeling to meet like-minded people so early in my career. In just nine days, I created the BuyUcoin platform. On the 10th day, we executed the first trade. This was done by a friend who had used the platform to test it in July 2016.
We were the first to learn blockchain technology in India.
Q.How was it to set up a cryptocurrency exchange in 2016?
BuyUcoin began with an initial investment in Rs40,000. Our personal savings and freelancing income provided the initial funds. We spent the majority of this money on travel and company registration. All the setup including email, server and SMS was arranged by free trial of service providers. Our cash flow began to grow as the platform gained more traction.
While most exchanges followed a standard pattern set by foreign exchanges, we created our platform with Indian investors in mind. By allowing purchase in INR, you can buy cryptocurrencies. We also made it possible to buy bitcoin using debit and credit cards. This generated lots of interest on BuyUcoin.
Q.Let us know about BuyUcoin’s first days
In just six months, BuyUcoin had 0 to 1 lakh users. This was a huge inspiration to us to keep working hard. We felt validated by the support we received from users and knew we were on the right track. Since the launch of BuyUcoin, there has not been a dull moment.
We worked hard to simplify the process of buying and selling cryptocurrency. We have removed the order book from our interface. This would cause confusion for many new investors. Investors still love the multiple payment options, simplified interface, and easy payout option via wallet.
Q.What are your expansion plans?
In the current financial year, we plan to expand our reach to Southeast Asian countries like the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Vietnam. We believe South Asia has many opportunities for crypto industry growth and can be a major driver for global crypto economic growth.
We are currently a bootstrapped startup that is profitable. We will continue to grow. We plan to use both organic and inorganic growth, and will seek out funding for global expansion.
Q.Why is India so desperate for crypto?
The global trading of crypto assets is possible 24x7x365. Stocks as an asset class are only now available. This was due to evolution in the financial industry. Similar crypto assets exist. They represent the greatest disruption in the financial industry and have tremendous potential to create wealth.
Blockchain and crypto are inseparable. Crypto assets will be part of any deal if the world is prepared to embrace blockchain tech. India must join other major economies around the globe in accepting blockchain technology to be part of the largest financial revolution in history.