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How a Bitcoin stipend prompted one engineer to launch his own cryptocurrency exchange

Shivam Thakral, chief executive officer, BuyUcoin, lives his life by Steve Jobs’ motto, “If you don’t love it, you are going to fail". In India, he considers Zerodha’s Nitin Kamath as his idol because of his simple approach to business and ability to think like a customer for creating products


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Devendra Singh Khati

3 years ago | 3 min read

  • BuyUcoin is a profitable, bootstrapped company that intends to grow. It seeks to expand through a combination of organic and inorganic ways, raising funds for future global expansion.

Shivam Thakral, CEO of BuyUcoin, lives by Steve Jobs' proverb, "If you don't love it, you will fail." In India, he admires Nitin Kamath of Zerodha for his clear commercial strategy and ability to develop things by thinking like a client.

He spoke with Mint about what inspired him to enter the world of cryptocurrencies, the establishment of one of India's first cryptocurrency exchanges, and the company's future plans. Excerpts that have been modified include:

Q: Please tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and nurtured in Hapur (Delhi/NCR). I grew up in an engineering family, which influenced my decision to pursue a career in engineering. I joined at Harcourt Butler Technical University Kanpur in 2014 to study chemical engineering, and while there, I worked on website development for a few clients, which helped me refine my coding skills. Because of my skill to code, I was able to create a myriad of digital properties and think beyond what was previously available in the globe.

Q: What sparked your interest in cryptocurrency?

During my summer internship during college break in 2016, I was paid in Bitcoin. I received the payment swiftly in my bank account via Bitcoin via a local exchange. Previously, it took 5–7 days for the same amount of money to be credited to my account. Instant payment via Bitcoin aroused my interest in the crypto environment.

I spent the next 15 days researching crypto online and acquiring crucial information on how the global crypto economy operates.

Q: What prompted you to create BuyUcoin?

Bitcoin captivated me more than anything else, and I wished to purchase the crypto asset with my internet funds. I looked online, but there was no site in India where I could purchase such cryptocurrencies. I resolved to rectify this by establishing a cryptocurrency exchange for the Indian market, allowing Indians to benefit from the promise of cryptocurrencies as well.

My proposal was well received by co-founders Atulya Bhat and Devesh Agarwal. I was relieved to meet like-minded people at such an early stage. In July 2016, I built the BuyUcoin platform in nine days, and on the tenth day, we completed our first transaction, which was executed by a buddy to test the platform.

Because there were no blockchain developers in India, we had to learn the technology and apply it to the exchange backend and user interface.

Q: How did you feel about launching a bitcoin exchange in 2016?

BuyUcoin started with a $40,000 investment. The initial funds came from our personal money, which we acquired through freelance work. This money did not last long because we spent the most of it on vacation and business registration, among other things. The entire setup, including the server, emails, and SMS, was made possible by using free service provider trials. As trading on our platform grew in popularity, so did our cash flow.

Most exchanges followed a predetermined structure established by overseas exchanges, but we built our platform with Indian investors in mind. We made it easier to buy bitcoins by offering purchases in Indian rupees. We also added the ability to purchase bitcoin using debit and credit cards, which improved BuyUcoin's popularity.

Q: Tell us about the early days of BuyUcoin.

In just six months, BuyUcoin went from zero to one lakh users, inspiring us to strive even more. We knew we were on the right route after receiving user feedback that validated our decision. There has never been a dull time in our lives since we founded BuyUcoin.

We worked hard to make the process of purchasing and selling cryptocurrencies as simple as possible. To prevent misleading new investors, we removed the order book from our user interface. Many payment options, a simpler user interface, and an instant payout option via wallet are among the features that investors continue to choose.

Q: Why is cryptocurrency required in India?

Crypto assets are global in nature, and they are traded on a global scale 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Stocks as an asset class became available only in the modern era as a result of financial evolution. Cryptocurrency assets are comparable. They are the most major financial upheavals in history, with great potential for wealth creation. Because crypto and blockchain are closely intertwined, crypto assets will be included if the world is ready to adopt blockchain technology. India must accept blockchain technology and join the world's leading economies in order to be at the forefront of the greatest financial transformation in human history.

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Devendra Singh Khati

As a writer and copywriter, I've recently focused on making blockchain more accessible to those who are unfamiliar with the technology. As someone who has been around for a while, I understand how difficult it can be to avoid technical jargon when explaining any blockchain concept.


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