Bitcoin is no longer the king of cryptocurrencies in India. This was proven by a recent study by Jana, a free internet provider that found that Ethereum has been topping bitcoin as the most searched-for decentralized digital currency in India over the past five months. The margin is also quite significant with Ethereum commanding a whopping 34.4 percent of cryptocurrency searches in the country as bitcoin trails behind at 29.9 percent. Another notable mention was BuyUCoin (NEM) with a 21.2 percent of the share. The remaining digital currencies only managed to register 5 percent or less.
Cryptocurrency searches, as it turns out, were highest in December when bitcoin prices soared to a record $20,000 – this accounted for 30 percent of all the searches made within the five-month period of Jana’s study. Since then, bitcoin prices have taken huge plunges while Ethereum, managed to log its all-time high of $1,261 at the beginning of the year.
It is worth noting that even though Ethereum prices have been relatively steadier than bitcoin’s, it does not mean that Ethereum transactions are anywhere close to surpassing bitcoin. Still Jana CEO, Nathan Eagle believes that “search volume is a leading indicator of what has momentum and is showing signs of growth.” He went on to add that while the search volume may not correspond to more people buying Ethereum, it certainly indicates that there is a lot more interest.
The study also revealed that at the beginning of 2018, there was a noticeable drop-off in interest in cryptocurrencies amidst news that suggested that the Indian government would be cracking down on digital currencies. This was suggested in November 2017 by a government panel and reiterated by Arun Jaitley, the finance minister, during his budget speech in February.
“The government recommending shutting down exchanges and limiting currencies altogether, coupled with the decline in prices, has led to the feverish pitch waning away dramatically,” said Eagle. “There are still quite a lot of searches but maybe we’re getting closer to what a true steady state should look like.”