THE FALL FROM GRACE of Sam Bankman-Fried, who once lorded over the world’s biggest crypto exchange, FTX meant that the buzz around cryptocurrencies and tokens would fizzle out as Bankman-Fried faced charges of embezzlement of over $8 billion of client funds. But numbers tells a different story. Thus far in 2023, cryptocurrencies have seen a major uptick, largely Bitcoin, which is up 163% YTD (December 9) at $43,519, on the back of the upcoming SEC approval for the first Bitcoin spot ETF, opening up the near $40 trillion retirement fund market to the crypto asset class, possible rate cuts in 2024 and the impending halving that will reduce the rate at which new Bitcoins enter into circulation. Ethereum saw two declines in value during August and September, dipping to a low of $1,540 on September 11. It has since seen a rebound to $2,266. The two currencies continue to corner a chunk of the overall crypto market cap at $851 billion and $272 billion, respectively. Back home, with the introduction of 30% tax along with 1% TDS on crypto investment, the government has delivered a body blow to the frenzy that Indians had shown towards digital currencies. With the Prevention of Money Laundering Act coming into play as well, the crypto story for Indian investors is as good as over. The interest shown by HNIs, too, has waned with most wealth managers not officially advocating cryptos, and instead encouraging Indians to invest in U.S. equities.

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