Are XRP and Cardano Really Just “Cult Memecoins”? Bitcoin Maximalist Sparks Debate

Hedge fund veteran Murad Mahmudov has sparked controversy by labeling established cryptocurrencies XRP and Cardano as “cult meme coins.” Mahmudov, a former Goldman Sachs analyst and self-proclaimed Bitcoin maximalist, made the comments on his social media platform on July 5th, 2024.

This critique comes amidst a broader market downturn, with many altcoins (alternative cryptocurrencies to Bitcoin) experiencing significant price drops compared to their all-time highs. Mahmudov suggests this decline exposes the true nature of XRP and Cardano, portraying them as overhyped projects lacking real value.

A History of Boom and Bust?

Mahmudov’s comments hold weight when considering the past performance of XRP and Cardano. Both tokens saw explosive growth during the 2017 bull market, generating substantial profits for early investors. XRP, championed by Ripple Labs for facilitating cross-border payments, reached a peak of $3.40 in January 2018, propelling its founders to immense wealth. However, XRP currently sits at a price point reflecting an 87.6% decline from that all-time high, despite achieving some regulatory clarity in July 2023. Similarly, Cardano’s ADA token, lauded for its technological advancements, has suffered a comparable fate. ADA’s value has plummeted by a staggering 88.8% since its September 2021 peak of $3.09.

Memecoins vs. Altcoins: A Battle for Retail Investor Attention?

Mahmudov’s view extends beyond criticizing XRP and Cardano. He anticipates memecoins, known for their association with internet jokes and trends, to outperform other sectors within the cryptocurrency market during the current cycle. Interestingly, he previously advised investors venturing into the memecoin space to target projects with a market capitalization between $5 million and $200 million. In his view, any memecoin that hasn’t experienced sideways trading for several weeks below a $10 million market cap is likely a fraudulent scheme.

However, Mahmudov tempers his optimism about a significant altcoin season, citing the erosion of U.S. household savings as a dampener on investor enthusiasm. He believes institutional investors will primarily focus on Bitcoin and potentially Ethereum (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency. Retail investors, on the other hand, are more likely to gravitate towards memecoins due to their cultural relevance and potentially explosive returns. This dynamic, according to Mahmudov, explains the current underperformance of established altcoins like XRP and Cardano.

Murky Waters: Criticisms and the Mahmudov Factor

Mahmudov’s pronouncements are not without their critics. His past association with the defunct crypto hedge fund Adaptive Capital, which closed its doors after incurring substantial losses during the 2020 market crash, raises questions about the objectivity of his current views. Some observers suggest his Bitcoin maximalist stance might cloud his judgment regarding other cryptocurrencies with legitimate use cases.

The Takeaway: A Market in Flux

The cryptocurrency market remains a dynamic and often volatile landscape. Mahmudov’s comments, while provocative, highlight the ongoing debate about the long-term viability of various cryptocurrency projects. While established altcoins like XRP and Cardano grapple with price stagnation, the memecoin sector continues to attract a significant following. Ultimately, time will tell which projects can weather market fluctuations and deliver sustainable value for investors.