Altcoins enter India: Trade in Litecoins on Zebpay; Ethereum coming soon

Photo: Reuters
Even as various government agencies and banks are tightening the screws around Bitcoin investors and other stakeholders, leading Bitcoin exchanges are launching trading in alternative coins or other cryptocurrencies. Last week, the country's leading exchange, Zebpay, launched trading in Litecoin, which is the eighth-largest cryptocurrency, following rising demand from Indian investors. The exchange already allows trading in Bitcoin cash.  

Next month, Zebpay is planning to introduce trading in Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency with a 25 per cent market share against Bitcoin's 34 per cent share. So far, investors interested in alternative coins like Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, and many others were registering in global exchanges and there were several options with them to make payment, including fund transfer from their bank, credit card, payment through overseas accounts or arrangements, and so on. 

Litecoin is a peer-to-peer internet currency that enables instant, near zero-cost payments to anyone in the world. Litecoin is an open source, global payment network that is fully decentralised like Bitcoin. Trading at $4 a year ago, Litecoin is now at $180. 

Source: Coinmarketcap; Compiled by BS Research Bureau

Domestic exchanges were considering introducing more currencies for quite some time. However, in between, there were two hard fork-splits in Bitcoin. 

The two new currencies are Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold. When those two new versions of Bitcoin settled, Zebpay allowed trading in Bitcoin Cash, which is already the fourth-largest cryptocurrency.

"Litecoin has been recently added on Zebpay and one can buy it using funds in Indian rupee in their wallet. Zebpay doesn't allow conversion of Bitcoin to Litecoin, though the customer is free to sell Bitcoin and convert to INR and then buy Litecoin. We are planning to add Ethereum in the next few weeks on our exchange. The customers are quite upbeat about cryptocurrencies in general and have been demanding more cryptocurrencies on Zebpay exchange. Therefore, we have added," said a Zebpay spokesperson.

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Another large cryptocurrency exchange, Unocoin, is also following suit. Unocoin co-founder & CEO Sathvik Vishwanath said, "We are listing multiple coins over the next couple of weeks. We will be adding Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple."

At present, the price of Litecoin is $180. But, on Zebpay, it is quoting at Rs 12,800, over 12 per cent premium to the international price. The prices of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash are quoting at around nine per cent premium.     

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