Shivam Thakral, 22, was so fascinated by bitcoin that, while studying for his undergraduate degree, the young entrepreneur decided to launch a cryptocurrency exchange in India. “Cryptocurrencies have been gaining a lot of traction in India because people who have invested have doubled, tripled their investment,” says Mr Thakral, the co-founder and chief executive of BuyUcoin, based in New Delhi and launched in 2016, which provides a platform to trade cryptocurrencies including bitcoin.

Despite mounting concerns expressed by authorities, the cryptocurrency frenzy in India seems to be showing no signs of abating. A flurry of cryptocurrency companies have been established in India, while existing firms are moving in on the rising interest in virtual currencies.

Demand for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in India has gathered pace amid surging prices that have generated interest worldwide. Demonetisation in particular has helped to fuel demand in India.

But, increasingly, authorities in the country have been trying to crack down on investment in cryptocurrencies, citing financial and security risks, which has prompted some Indian banks in recent weeks to block transactions related to exchanges such as BuyUcoin. This comes as governments globally are becoming concerned about speculative investments in bitcoin and similar currencies.

South Korea’s government said last week it planned to ban local cryptocurrency exchanges, which triggered a 12 per cent slump in bitcoin rates to $12,801. Regulators in China last year took steps to block such exchanges. Read more from…

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