Bitcoin and Ether head for worst second-quarter on record for the world’s No. 1 and 2 crypto – MarketWatch

Bitcoin and Ether’s second-quarter performances are shaping up to be one for the history books.

At least, in the relatively thin annals of the world’s most prominent crypto, which was staring down the barrel at the worst second-quarter performance in their history, going back to records from 2010, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

Bitcoin BTCUSD, -3.58% was engineered by a person or persons referred to as Satoshi Nakamoto around 2009 and has been one of the more volatile assets in its brief existence. Ether ETHUSD, +0.60% on the Ethereum blockchain was created in 2015 by a group including Vitalik Buterin.

But what started out to be a stellar 2021 for bitcoin has turned out to be anything-but for the crypto, which is down 41.98%, in the second quarter, at last check.

Meanwhile, Ether is looking at its weakest second-quarter on file after a sizzling start to the year. That said, Ether is still on pace for its best first half since 2017, boasting a roughly 185% rise.

For the first half, bitcoin is looking at its weakest first-half performance since 2018.

On Wednesday midday bitcoin was changing hands at $34,324, down over 5% for the day, while Ether was changing hands, down 5%, at $2,118.34. Bitcoin had enjoyed a gain of over 100% before a mid-April slump.

Meanwhile, equity markets in the quarter have seen strong returns as the economy recovers from COVID-19 lockdowns and stay-at-home protocols.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.55% was up over 4% in the second quarter and on track for its fifth straight quarterly gain. The S&P 500 SPX, +0.08% was looking at a quarterly rise of more than 8%, and the Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.12% was headed up 9.5%, which would represent the best quarterly performance for both indexes since the fourth quarter of last year as the economy rebounded from the coronavirus pandemic.

Dogecoin DOGEUSD, -5.20% was up 380% in the second quarter but that pales against its 980% return in the first three months of 2021. The meme coin, which originated in 2013, was changing hands at 24.3 cents and headed for a first-half gain of over 5,000%, however. The asset is far off its early May peak at 74.07 cents.

A crackdown in China, which has banned bitcoin mining activity and trading, has been partially blamed for the recent slump in crypto.

—Ken Jimenez and Abhirami Shrinivas contributed to this article