Indians dumping Bitcoin to buy cryptocurrency that jumped 400% this yr


Indians are flocking to Ethereum (ETH), which has seen a surge this year. The past few days have seen a spurt in Indian investors and traders buying the cryptocurrency on local exchanges and those that offer services in the country. Many investors are buying it after partially or fully liquidating their bitcoin portfolio, experts said.

Ethereum has jumped from around $1,300 (about Rs 1 lakh) to $3,900 in the past few months. Not that Bitcoin has been a slouch-it’s risen to $52,000 from $35,000 in July. To be sure, both were down during early US trade on Tuesday along with other cryptocurrencies.

Over the last few years,
Indians have mostly bought bitcoin, the biggest and the most well-known of the cryptocurrencies. They are now hedging bets and buying others, leading to a spurt in volumes at exchanges. The top exchanges say that of the money pumped into cryptocurrencies, about 70% has been directed to Ethereum in the last 15 days.

“Long-term buyers and highly vested traders were the first ones to liquidate their positions in other assets to buy ETH, following new-age millennial and new investors,” said Shivam Thakral, CEO, BuyUcoin, a cryptocurrency exchange.

Much of the interest in crypto assets is due to increased hype in the last one month or so, experts said.

“We have seen a growth of over 150% in the number of ETH orders placed in the last six months on our platform,” said Nischal Shetty, CEO, WazirX, a cryptocurrency exchange.

“With its upgrade and hard fork, plus with emerging DeFi (decentralised finance) and NFT (non-fungible token) projects, ETH is becoming more and more popular.” DeFI refers to financial products and services that are accessible to anyone who owns ETH. NFT is a unique digital token that’s being used to sell art and other collectables. Buyers entering the market are more bullish on Ethereum than Bitcoin, said exchanges. “This may show that new users seem more confident in ETH than BTC at the moment because of all the DeFi and GameFi (game finance) hype,” said Jay Hao, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange

Indians have been upbeat about cryptocurrencies in the past few months, and have been on a buying spree since the global bitcoin rally, said industry trackers. Indians have rushed to buy crypto assets as Bitcoin touched $50,000 last month amid a global crypto surge. In the second half of August, crypto exchanges and foreign exchanges that cater to Indians have
seen a spurt in trading volumes and values-in most cases at least 50% to 100%, respectively, ET reported on August 25.

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