Cryptocurrencies saw a slow start this year, mainly due to a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) order to banks telling them not to deal in crypto. The cryptocurrency trade accelerated after the Supreme Court in March reversed the RBI ban and allowed trading in coins such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, and others. Since then, several online exchanges such as CoinSwitch Kuber and CoinDCX have flourished. But investing in these virtual assets require due diligence, given the extreme volatility of most cryptocurrencies. One way to do that is by looking at historical data of these coins.
How cryptocurrencies have behaved in the past few weeks and months can give an idea of their potential in the near future and whether a person should invest now or wait.
Here’s how the top 5 digital coins have behaved so far since the start of this financial year (stating April 1):
Bitcoin is the oldest cryptocurrency in the world. Since its launch in 2009, it has remained an undisputed leader of the cryptocurrency market. On April 1 this year, it was trading around Rs. 42 lakhs but by May-end, around the time the market crashed massively because of a Chinese crackdown on mining operations, it hit a low of Rs. 22 lakhs. Bitcoin has, however, recovered. On September 17, it was trading around Rs. 37 lakhs.
Experts say this is the only virtual currency that has any chance of challenging Bitcoin’s dominance, but it is far from realising its true potential. At the beginning of this financial year, Ethereum was trading at Rs. 1.40 lakhs. By early August, it breached the Rs. 2-lakh barrier. This was the time when the Ethereum blockchain had the major London upgrade. Since then, it has continued to gain in value. On September 17, at the time of writing, it was trading at Rs. 2.76 lakhs.
Launched in 2017, Cardano is a relatively new cryptocurrency coin that has jumped the queue to find its place in the top five. Billed as a third-generation blockchain (Bitcoin and Ethereum being the first and second generations, respectively), Cardano gave returns of almost 150 percent in just one month. On July 20, it was trading at Rs. 79.71 but by August it had reached a high of Rs. 191.41. It registered more gains in the next few weeks, reaching an all-time high of Rs. 227 at the start of this month. But the gains have started to taper off since then. On September 17, at the time of writing, it was trading at Rs. 187.82.
Tether is a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar. Being the first one, it is the most popular stablecoin. Since it is pegged to the dollar, meaning every Tether coin should be backed by actual dollars in the reserves of Tether Limited, it is highly stable in comparison to other cryptocurrencies. If this stability is predictable, it also curbs the possibility of boosting wealth quickly. It has remained within the Rs. 73–75 range this financial year. It was trading around Rs. 77 on September 17.
It’s the fifth-placed cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalisation. Technically speaking, Ripple is not a cryptocurrency. It facilitates open-source payments and XRP is the cryptocurrency that runs on this network. Its price has doubled since April 1, from Rs. 41 to Rs. 80 now. But it has not seen a rally similar to that in late 2017 took it to its all-time high of Rs 242 in early January 2018. At the time of writing, it was trading around Rs. 84.