Stock trading games & copy trading platforms in India?

May 25, 2024

Update 28th Oct 2022: This Yourstory article claims that NSE has issued cease and desist notices to stock gaming apps. As we mentioned in this post below, regulations don’t allow the exchange market data feed to be used for any fantasy or gaming app. 

Update 21st Apr 2023: NSE published a circular prohibiting the use of stock market data from the exchanges in gaming and virtual trading applications. 

Update 24th May 2024: As per SEBI’s circular, stock exchanges and related entities (MIIs) must not share live price data with third parties or platforms unless necessary for market functioning or regulatory compliance.

Retail participation in the stock markets across the world hasn’t been this high in a long time. Low interest rates, work-from-home giving more time and bandwidth to think about personal finance, and people looking for an alternate source of income are the factors contributing to this increased activity.

Historically, the startup community in India hasn’t focused on building products for the capital markets. Mainly because of the small TAM (Total Addressable Market) of around 70L Indians who invest once a year which makes it tougher for startups to justify high valuations. Compliance and regulatory requirements also act as a deterrent. But this rush of new investors over the last 4 months has set an expectation that the TAM can expand quite fast. While the people already investing in Indian stock markets are around 70L, there are at least 4 crore Indians who have the ability to invest. That sounds like a great opportunity, and there is sudden interest not just from startups, but also VCs looking to back companies who are going after this opportunity.

Instinctively, I guess we’d all think that the easiest way to address this audience is by bringing in elements of gamification to the stock market, where people can trade with demo/fake money while also learning how to trade. With the success of Dream11 and other fantasy leagues, the monetisation plan for this could also be the same — everyone pays a fee to play the game, the winner takes most and the platform takes a cut. Or maybe social trading where traders with good performance track records share their trades and it automatically gets copied to everyone who is following the user?

We have spoken to at least 5 startups in the last couple of months who are at different stages of building a product based on the above two ideas. I thought it would be a good idea to share with everyone what we shared with these startups — why this product isn’t feasible in India right now.

Regulations don’t allow for any competition/game/league

Check this document from SEBI from earlier this year (page 25).

No person shall organise or offer any scheme/competition/game/ league on securities or related to the securities market.

In a regulated business, you can’t do something that the regulator explicitly disallows. That said, SEBI has now opened up a regulatory sandbox where you can try getting approval for innovative ideas that can help retail investors while also growing the capital market ecosystem. But, there is another issue.

Exchange data feed cost

Exchanges have revenue from two sources — transaction costs and data feed. Internationally exchanges earn the majority of revenue from data feed. For example in the US, for the quality of data you receive on trading platforms in India for free (market depth, OHLCV, etc) you might have to pay over $15 per month. Majority of the retail trading platforms in the US give you only last traded price data — that too from small exchanges with inferior quality due to low trading volumes, who might be giving data for free to catch up with the larger ones (the US has over 12 exchanges). In India, exchanges earn mostly from the transaction fees generated from the trades executed — which is the right business model for an exchange, which doesn’t allow them to create an entry barrier for small investors.

But, data feed is free only for stock brokerage firms or members of the exchange to power trading platforms of customers registered on the exchange. Which means that if the data feed is being used for any other purpose, there is a cost to it. This cost is quite high for live data feeds, which makes it prohibitive to run a fantasy stock market game at scale. While the delayed data feed is cheaper, you can’t really run a game if the person playing it knows the price of the stock in advance.

Update as on 8th Aug 2020, we got to know from the exchanges that they are not allowed to provide data to any virtual trading or gaming platforms. Also that they would take action on those who scrape data from exchange website or other broking websites, and use it on the platform.

Social trading

Social or “copy” trading is where someone with a profitable track record, publishes his or her trades live on the platform. These trades are generally accompanied with the rationale for taking the trade, and/or a feature for subscribers to copy all such trades. The influencer gets a revenue share from the platform for the trades generated or gets to collect a fee directly from followers.
Platforms like Etoro, Zulu, etc. have made this concept popular in the CFD (Contract for difference) world. CFDs work in jurisdictions where regulations aren’t tough. They are banned in most countries, including India.

The reason such a platform can’t be built in India is again because of regulations. While you see a lot of people sharing trading ideas on Twitter, even that is grey. But it is still okay because there is no monetary consideration when you share an idea on social media. As soon as the person sharing the idea is collecting fees in some form, the Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) or Research Analyst (RA) requirements kick in. An RIA license is required if you give an idea specifically to a certain individual and an RA license if you give out broad trading ideas to an audience. While it is possible to build a platform where everyone trading is either an RIA or RA, it is very tough to scale it as the regulatory requirements to be an RA or RIA are quite steep. A recent circular from SEBI also bans RIAs or RAs from providing free trials, so even if there were RIAs or RAs, you can’t offer trials to first time users to try out the product. SEBI has also banned automated trading for retail, which means that the platform can’t allow a follower to automatically execute trades every time the influencer trades — which is the main attraction of the copy trading platforms, hence “copy” trading.

While the above article might sound pessimistic, we like the ideas. There is a way to execute these well with proper checks and balances to ensure retail investors’ interest is not compromised. For anyone working on this idea, I guess the starting point is to have an MVP (Minimum viable product) and apply to the SEBI regulatory sandbox and get the regulatory nod for this by proving that this will help investors and the ecosystem. If you get the necessary go-ahead, please do write to us on [email protected]. 🙂 We will not only be able to fund but more importantly, help you get access to an audience who can validate the idea and product quickly.


Founder & CEO @ Zerodha

Post a comment

  1. Yogesh Misal says:

    Zerodha Partnership programme commision march-2024

    This is all a lie, Zeroda does not value its partners, the company says one thing and does another and refuses to pay the partner’s commission. And asks for a declaration from the partner that the partner will not mind if we do not pay commission in future

  2. Tushar Kanta Dey says:

    I’m totally new comers.I want to earn money.But don’t want to lose.So kindly suggest me how can I find the best ways to proceed.


    The ACNT cannot be opened though paid pls do the needful. From Krishnankutty N V 9495390748

    • Shruthi says:

      Hi Krishnankutty, looks like you haven’t esigned yet; you need to complete the online process as explained here.

      Your process will continue from wherever you left off, and you need not make any payment again. Let us know if you face any issues.

  4. Gourav Kohli says:

    The Cult which runs SEBI all alone, does not want any party to try and teach trading to large scale of retailers because deep down everyone know the Cult makes the maximum profit form us (the large scale retailers) if by any means this large scale retail investors/traders learns trading or just even learns to take small losses the Cult will be in big danger.

  5. Kalam Sood says:

    Stock markets and the SEBI is a dinosaur. The real action is in cryptos and Di-Fi. If somebody is serious about fantasy stock gaming the action is in cryptos, US markets and FX. Platforms like TradingLeagues and coinfantasy are doing a wonderful job of innovating and creating such fun experiences. It’s beyond just trading, the community and games are innovative. Retail traders get hammered every day on the markets, that’s why these platforms are so good. Hat Har Mahadev

  6. New to market says:

    Does it mean Building a trading simulations, paper trading or backtesting trading strategies as an individual is under risk?

  7. Ayan says:


    If Sebi registered RA/RIA can not offer free trial then how they are offering free smallcases to investors on smallcase platform.Am I missing something?


  8. Dev says:

    The gamification of stock markets isn’t possible or isn’t feasible ?
    Because as far as I have done my homework – If its a Game of Skill (where all the required information will be provided to make an informed decision ) and Game of chance that distinguishes it from gambling.

    There are multiple stock stimulation apps that are currently operating in India, as well as fantasy stock games like Stock Try and etc.

  9. Broker Reviewfx says:

    Thanks for sharing best information about the stock trading .

  10. Duh says:

    We were in the same space about two years back. Figured out the extreme regulations and chose to shut it down. But it kinda irks to see other platforms that went ahead and kept offering ‘Social Trading’ in the guise of Algo Trading – without any impunity. Sebi has taken note recently and all it did was to issue a circular that prohibits members of the exchange from promoting these products-which make use of broker APIs.

  11. Shailesh Rajgolikar says:

    Hi Nitin Sir ,
    I got this idea in mind month ago. I was searching for the same on internet and I came across this article. I know how to do this. I know some loophole in system and I’m on it. I will make it happen in anyways and we’ll have first mover advantage in India so that will be huge success. I think I’ll need funds and your valuable help so we can together do this. Hope you’ll see this message and we can connect. I need your valuable time for this. The next unicorn is waiting.

  12. Jay tindwani says:

    Is it possible in India to one click in two acounts ??? I mean I just make a trade in one acount and same time there is automatically ordered in another acount ?
    Matlab me one click s two acount operate karna chahta hu . Is it possible , if yes then plz help me . And if no then may you work on it after regulatory approval …plz plz help me about this

    • Shubham says:

      Hey Jay, this is not possible. Regulations don’t allow one account to place orders on behalf of another, even if the other account belongs to a family member.

  13. AnjaliXtreamforex says:

    thanks for given the wonderful blog . this blog is very helpful in providing the information related copy tradinf

  14. Amanpreet kaur says:

    Your blog is unique. Your blog is very helpful in providing information on copy trading.

  15. Suresh Yadav says:

    Nice blog now i have much information about fantasy stock market app.Thank you for sharing this.

  16. Chetan says:


    Sensibull with whom you have a partnership is offering copy trading now. So what happened here? On top of that – the results of the traders being promoted by Sensibull are just laughable.

  17. Sanjeev Hegde says:

    Hi Nitin!
    Can you please provide any link to the resources relating SEBI regulatory sandbox rules on social trading? Or can you brief them please?

  18. Soumya says:

    How does Money Bhai work then?

  19. GP says:

    Dear Nithin,

    Will there be any regulatory hurdles if I livestream my trades in online platforms like youtube etc?

  20. AmSa says:

    Dear Nithin/Matti,
    Thanks for this post which was posted last year – Has anything pertaining to fantasy stocks leagues changed since this post?

    Also, you guys did not answer the question – are the stock fantasy games which involve money legit? We see so many these days.
    What about stock market games which just involve points/virtual points legal? There are many examples of these as well .

    Hope to hear from you guys on this one.

  21. Kiran kumar Kurra says:

    I downloaded your kite App and paid Rs 300, not able to complete KYC as images of signature, PAN, Cheq not uploading, App just stuck at uploading.
    Not able to login back as USER ID not given by me and it is not communicated to me.
    Where is support link in KITE Application or in your website ?

  22. Mehul says:

    Dear Nitihn and Matti,

    Are there any updates in SEBI regulations or still the same?
    Of fantasy sports is game of skills then why not fantasy stocks aree considered as game of skills too?
    Please guide.

  23. Vijay says:

    Hello Sir,
    Though it is tough for now as far as copy trade is concerned. In India most of the retail traders are being trapped by individuals and other groups (advisory service providers) in absence of proper regulatory framework and loopholes in the system. And of course, lack of knowledge which is the main reason behind.
    Now as the New Policy on Education advocates vocational education and skills based education, can we think of bridging this gap in between the capital markets and education in India? We are in discussion with few schools and an university in our area to explore this opportunity and looking forward to associate with you for your ample guidance as well.
    Though we are in stock market through some other broker for last few years, our main focus is on professional education to fill the gap as specified above which can’t be filled without industry participation in education. and That’s where PPP model will work out.

    Hope to hear your views and some guidance on the same.
    Thank you.

  24. Pratik Shah says:

    Hello Nithin

    The idea and concept is quite good and we in college use to to do mock trading but at that time it was decided based on EOD position….given the gamification trend increasing in the young population this will be a good concept provided it does not lead into gambling and is purely strategy driven. The risk of influencers manipulating a stock through copy trading also is high if they have followers in thousands and am sure the regulators will be wary of this. But i think if we can look at a mock trading environment like Dream11 and settle through virtual currency it can work and may be regulators can be open to this idea

  25. Kashyap says:

    If trading competition, games are not allowed, how come the below platforms exist? Moneybhai (by Moneycontrol), Trakinvest, Chart Mantra (Economic Times), BSE Stock Market Challenge (which is powered by BSE itself), etc.

  26. Kunal says:


    But do we require to take SEBI permission even for MVP?
    What if SEBI denies permission after MVP?

    Can we not first take permission from SEBI using innovation/regulatory sandbox and then start our project?

  27. Midhun T says:

    So StockTry is operating illegally in India?

  28. Hemanth says:

    hey, has this daily competitions to predict the good and bad stocks for next day. Is it legal to do?

  29. Jinendra Kumar says:

    Hi !! Mr. Nithin Kamath – idol, role model and inspiration for many….

    With regards to your wonderful article ‘Stock trading games & copy trading platforms in India?’
    I have a better idea which I think might benefit the small retail traders and wouldn’t have any regulatory issues.

    It might resemble the ‘Robinhood concept’, but with a more secure and profitable approach where the traders’ benefit is concerned.

    Please give me a small piece of your valuable time, so that I can explain my idea in detail and I would be overwhelmed with any advice you give me out of your vast experience.

    Jinendra Kumar
    Zerodha lover❤ & user 😃

  30. Raj says:

    Hi Nithin,

    Glad to read the comments. Can you plz let me know, how the SEBI / SCRA regulations will be violated if a platform similar to Dream 11 launched. Like, to select a team of 11 stocks and decide movement of stock for the day compared to the previous closing to today’s closing. Eventually, the leaderboard will be updated as per the teams (selected 11 shares aggregate percentage movement) performance for the day and participants leading will get rewarded with prizes. A similar app is already in the market named – “StockTry” registered at Mumbai. Any suggestions on the legality of this app.

    Also, If anyone has to comment on such games / contests, you are most welcome.

    Thanks in advance.

  31. rahul Bafna says:

    Hi Nithin,

    Thanks for this amazing article.

    Just had one doubt on the following extract from your article:

    “Update as on 8th Aug 2020, we got to know from the exchanges that they are not allowed to provide data to any virtual trading or gaming platforms. Also that they would take action on those who scrape data from exchange website or other broking websites, and use it on the platform.”

    If that’s the case then how is Sensibull’s virtual trading platform operational (paper trading).

    Rahul Bafna

  32. Vijay says:

    Nitin, can u tell us names of those startups which are in early stages of copy trade applications?

  33. Shailendra Singh says:

    Hey Nitin,
    Why doesn’t Zerodha hire fresh graduates from Tier 3 colleges?

  34. Ayush says:

    @nithin sir: i am a very successful trader & i want to create a blog/youtube/app to show my real trades.
    like what i am buying or selling and what sl and target i placed. (and i want to charge some money to show my trades)
    is there any regulatory requirements or i can freely share my trades with anyone?

  35. Pavan Jadhav says:

    Hi Nithin Sir,

    This is perfect what I was seeking as I have good number of audience READY for Copy Trading with the help of System built in and even Tested on Few Beta Testers as well.

    Can you help me if somehow I managed to get this Platform Up — What SEBI will do in that case? And anyway I can approach them or get help from your side?

    Let me know.

  36. chandrani says:

    Nice Article. Thanks a ton. I have a request to you. So many new investors are coming up now a days. And most of them are lacking knowledge of “Trading and Investment. It will be really helpful for them, if you introduce a virtual platform for Intra-day trading like “Option trading “in sensibull. I hope you ll pay attention to my request.

  37. Gaurav says:

    Well thought, well articulated!

  38. Harendra Singh says:

    True !

  39. Satya Vyas says:

    New to this, i have observed that there is a massive validation kicker for people to show live trades. This behaviour is very similar to what high quality gamers used to have long time back. Also a ton of videos & content (mostly to sell their seminars though) out there by these people. Makes me think how about – twitch for stock trading ? Obviously quite raw. But would love to hear your thoughts.

  40. Mahesh says:

    Hello Bro,

    The above ideas are wonderful to support 0dha and the copycat trading too.I love trading but this is not the way i trade………..!

  41. Suresh babu k says:

    Technical support required from your firm, no client interactions. Absolutely absent

  42. Sathya says:

    Hi Nithin,

    I’m planning to build a virtual trading platform for F&O segment. Specifically for intraday trading/expiry trading with SL-M, MIS order types. I understand from your article that the data feed cost will be high. Do you see any other regulatory issues here?


  43. Moinu says:

    You can consider a stimulator integrate to your varsity for trading practice with historical data like Chartmanthra(concept is good but the web platform not supporting well) for your cautomers. This will increase your clients and newbies also encouraged and educated. Thanks

  44. dinesh says:

    sir what about BINARY TRADE apps?..are they legal?..if they r illegal how it’s tat the apps so openly promoted on social media platforms?..

  45. Ak says:


    I missed one point, when i opened my account in zerodha i got 2-3 calls everyday and i scold zerodha several times. Then i opened an another account in Kotak and i got calls even more. Finally i opened one account more with one of my family member’s name in motilal and gave another no. After that that no. starts ringing. I thought every broking house like that. It’s a disaster come nightmare for newbies . I didn’t take any subscription but once i got distracted with one of the girls emotional appeal and tried a trade and lost. On the other hand if i switch off i can’t able access my account(because OTP .. banks and all other stuffs) so finally i made some arrangement to rescue that problem. So how we got lost is very problematic. But after changing everything i am in a good shape, do my studies and started investing properly. Can you tell me how those agencies got my no and email. I only gave my no to moneycotrol and some broking agencies.

    If possible delete my comments, as i can’t reach you directly i have to sent you like that in twitter it’s possible but massage from unknown in twitter you know..If possible send me an mail from your personal ID i don’t share with any one as i faced that type of problem. So that i can know the Dark knights batter..



    • When you open an account, your mobile/email details get updated on a bunch of places – KRA, Depositories, Exchanges, and CKYC. We are 100% sure that it leaks from one of these places and have been taking it up with the regulator to find a solution.

      • Ankit says:

        There are a bunch of groups on telegram which lure traders to open account in Zerodha using their referral link. Once done they then promise to add in premium groups where they deliver “premium tips”. Isnt that collecting fee in some form. Isnt Zerodha giving kickbacks to these influencers. Isnt Zerodha in some form making the investors fall prey to these influencers for trading tips in order to gain more volumes.

  46. SHREYANSH says:

    Hello sir. What is the future of indian penny stocks for day trading. When can we see major volatility in penny stocks like in US market. Just your views.


  47. Ak says:


    Free stock tips is like the bullet of a fake riffle which will kill you only which i had experienced in the beginning of my career. Can we stop media organisation from giving that foreign news agencies don’t give that (correct me if i am wrong nitin) like Bloombergquient, CNN etc. But its a trend started by some media houses of india (mainly you know about whom i am talking… clue-ze.b…)can we stop that . If yes how we can do that. These media organisation stop others who give stock tips in Telegram but they can’t able to see the hole in their operation. If fee based trade is there and he/ she is a registered RA/RIA then also SEBI restricted that to publish it in telegram channel.

    What the solution, What the path forward can you guide me to create an environment where only news and research is there not anything else. I had Complained regarding that but i got no response. so batter we can do something if you use some expertise your also.


  48. Rajesh says:

    Hey, Bro ) if You Can Recall I Was already on This.
    Can I get opportunity Here?

    • Hey Rajesh, you didn’t read the article properly? 🙂 I am giving reasons on why the idea is not feasible.

      • Rajesh patel says:

        Ahh, you were like starting point is to have MVP & apply Sebi regulatory sandbox and get the regulatory nod for copy Trading by proving that this will help investors and the ecosystem. If I get the necessary I can go-ahead,& come to you)

        Well, I’ll Try To Brief Via Mail. How I See Copy Trading & Why Regulatory May Approve.

    • Yashas says:

      I too am interested in converting this idea to a great business.. Would like to connect with you so that can work on it.

      How can I connect with you?

  49. Sagar M Barot says:

    Dude …good article..

    Check your Twitter …I waited for like 17 minutes on the phone to 0DHA holding to have someone answer my call .. improve your support first.
    I know 1200 people are working from home and we have Covid situation but still ….this was not expected from 0DHA…. improve your support

    • Abhishek Jain says:

      You are absolutely right, very poor customer service @zerodhaonline. You cant do anything except waiting in emergency.

    • Harinath K says:

      Yes! Even I experienced worst customer care which I never & ever faced before any.

  50. Taparia says:

    Wonderfully written article. loved your views regarding the future of copycat Trading. I am sure now that you are mentioned even the regulators would be looking to change the rules. cheers.