Earlier this month, 19-year-old Sumit Dewan (name changed) borrowed Rs 2,000 from his elder sister to “stack” on his initial investment in various virtual currencies. Within two hours, he had earned Rs 100 on it. In the five months that Dewan has been investing in cryptocurrencies, he has seen a good 12.5 per cent profit on his investments. The money usually comes from his monthly allowance.
With reports of the government venturing to prohibit private cryptocurrencies in the country through a Bill in the upcoming winter session of Parliament, Ghaziabad-based Dewan is holding out on selling off his investments. “The Bill is not out yet and I don’t want to panic without knowing anything for sure. I know this market is volatile and was prepared for such a fall. It is like seeing a market correction after a bull run,” says the second-year BCom student.
Trading and investing in cryptocurrency has had a firm grip on youngsters for a while now. A horde of advertisements, many of them featuring Bollywood celebrities including Ranveer Singh and Ayushmann Khurrana, have added to the excitement and chatter around digital currencies and, by extension, their pitfalls.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had chaired a high-level meeting on the way forward to manage the cryptocurrency sector. And at the Sydney Dialogue last week, he said that international order should ensure regulating cryptocurrency to prevent any harmful impact on youth.
Sharan Nair, chief business officer, CoinSwitch Kuber, a crypto exchange that crossed 11 million users in 15 months, says, “Most Indian crypto enthusiasts are digital natives, usually first-time investors from non-metro cities and less than 28 years of age.”
With no amount too small to begin with, many youngsters like Dewan have been experimenting with investment in digital portfolios.
“I went down a YouTube rabbit hole around May this year, when Bitcoin was trading at around $48,000. From my savings, I invested only a nominal amount, which I was not scared to lose, just to test the temperature of this market,” says 23-year-old Madhuri Guleria (name changed).
Guleria, who used to invest in Ethereum, Solana and Bitcoin, says she has seen a 75 per cent return on her investment in a matter of six months.
Chaitanyaa Tiwari, 19, has been investing in cryptocurrency — his choice being Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Polymatic — for the past seven months. “Bitcoin was obviously the first choice and I moved to Ethereum, but it seemed dicey. I eventually started trading in smaller currencies as I think they give more returns. I also go after smaller returns — buying at 126 and selling it off at 130, then buying again at a decreased price,” he says, adding that he has earned a profit of Rs 10,000 on an initial investment of Rs 15,000 since he started trading.
Riya Seth (name changed) started…