Crypto bourses offer tokens to satiate investors’ risk appetite

Indian cryptocurrency exchanges are offering a larger portfolio of digital assets – tokens – to satiate a growing investor class seeking higher returns.

WazirX launched 12 tokens in December, while CoinSwitch Kuber added five, named Mana, Sand, Gala, Req, and Coti. Unocoin onboarded five new coins recently, while CoinDCX brought in a bunch like DappRadar, Highstreet, Convex Finance and ConstitutionDao.

Investors in search of outsized returns are exploring options other than the tried-and-tested Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether, Solana and Shiba Inu. To keep pace, these exchanges are strengthening their portfolios to better compete with global crypto exchanges.

The new tokens help crypto exchanges increase transaction volume, which means they generate more commission per transaction. Some platforms also charge a fee for onboarding a little-known token. Most important, these new offerings keep an investor within their ecosystem.

Top global crypto exchanges like Binance, Coinbase, FTX3, Mandala Exchange, and Huobi Global have hundreds of coins on their platforms. A few Indian investors also trade on these platforms to access new tokens.

“The exchanges are looking to diversify their portfolios, and we have noticed that Indian investors are now experimenting with new tokens,” said Sathvik Vishwanath, cofounder and CEO of Unocoin.

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While coins like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin and Litecoin are digital financial assets that can be exchanged or used for trading, tokens like Tether, Uniswap and Chainlink are representations of actual digital assets that are fungible – a unit that is equivalent to another – as well as tradeable.

Gaining traction

Due to a steady rise in cryptocurrency usage around the world, plenty of crypto businesses are gaining traction, experts said. The Indian crypto community is seeing steady demand to invest in these currencies as they become more popular due to the varied use cases.

“As a result, Indian exchanges like ours will continue to introduce additional tokens for investment after completing thorough research on the tokens in order to match the expectations of users,” said Sumit Gupta, CEO of CoinDCX.

As a customer gets locked in, crypto exchanges can also cross-sell other services such as wallets, said Praveen Kumar, founder and CEO of blockchain company Belfrics Group.

Indian crypto players have seen record user subscriptions in 2021. CoinSwitch Kuber, for example, started the year with one million users, but that has gone up to 14 million currently.

Investors have also started deploying a portion of their risk capital in the new tokens, industry insiders said.

“Indian investors who started investing in Bitcoin and Ethereum are now searching for a new Shiba Inu or Dogecoin that gives abnormal profits in a span of a few days or months,” said Vishal Gupta, a leading social media commentator on all things crypto.

Rigorous onboarding

There have been numerous scams involving new tokens and coins globally, with cryptocurrency investors left in the lurch after putting in sizable sums.

To curb that risk, the top Indian crypto platforms are following rigorous onboarding criteria. These include evaluating a token’s model, its management, use case, price movement, developer support, and volumes on major exchanges, among others.

“Every coin goes through a rigorous evaluation cycle before we onboard it on our platform,” said Ashish Singhal, founder and CEO of CoinSwitch Kuber. “We are looking at evaluating more projects faster and better. We have added more people to that team to help evaluate coins better. It will help us get more coins faster into our ecosystem,” he said.

New coins like Shiba Inu and Dogecoin were the most viewed cryptocurrencies in 2021, according to cryptocurrency price-tracking website CoinMarketCap.com.

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