In this paper, the generalised extreme value distribution (GEVD) model is employed to estimate financial risk in the form of return levels and the value at risk (VaR) for the two exchange rates, BitCoin/US dollar (BTC/USD) and the South African rand/US dollar (ZAR/USD).
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In this paper, the generalised extreme value distribution (GEVD) model is employed to estimate financial risk in the form of return levels and the value at risk (VaR) for the two exchange rates, BitCoin/US dollar (BTC/USD) and the South African rand/US dollar (ZAR/USD). The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) responsible for developing supervisory guidelines for banks and financial trading desks recommended that VaR be computed and reported. The maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) method is used to estimate the parameters of the GEVD. The estimated risk values are used to compare the riskiness of the two exchange rates and help both traders and investors to define their position in forex trading. This is to helping understanding the risk they are taking when they convert their savings/investments to BitCoin instead of the South African currency, the rand. The high extreme value index associated with the BTC/USD compared to the ZAR/USD implies that BitCoin is riskier than the rand. The BTC/USD has higher values of expected extreme/tail losses of 13.44%, 18.02%, and 23.41% at short (6 months), medium (12 months), and long (24 months) terms, compared to the ZAR/USD expected extreme/tail losses of 2.40%, 2.84%, and 3.28%, respectively. The computed VaR estimates for losses of USD 0.17, USD 0.22, and USD 0.38 per dollar invested in BTC/USD at 90%, 95%, and 99%, compared to ZAR/USD’s USD 0.03, USD 0.03, and USD 0.04 at the respective confidence levels, confirm the high risk associated with BitCoin. The conclusion drawn from this study is that BTC/USD is riskier than ZAR/USD, despite the rand being a developing country’s currency, hence perceived as being risky. The perception is that the rand is riskier than BitCoin and perceptions do influence exchange rates. Kupiec’s backtest results confirmed the model’s adequacy. These findings are helpful to investors, traders, and risk managers when deciding on trading positions for the two currencies.