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While some altcoins have gained in Ethereum’s slipstream, others are plotting their own course while seeking to topple the front-runner itself.
Is alt season upon us? Many crypto commentators are predicting just that, after Ethereum (ETH) hit a record high of over $1,440 on January 19. Altcoins have traditionally taken a backseat when Bitcoin is in the ascendancy and appreciated only when BTC consolidates. At the time of publication, several top 40 cryptocurrencies have popped, while Bitcoin’s price is down over 10% since this time last week.
Although ETH’s price fell to around $1,265 on January 20, it’s since recovered, while defi tokens are making good running. So, what should we expect from altcoins in the near term?
Ethereum Price Pump Brings Altcoins with It
In noting that altcoin season may have arrived, analysts at Bybit observed that large and small caps are “outperforming Bitcoin by miles” and that traders should brace themselves for increased volatility in the near term.
In analysis published January 20, the platform’s researchers showed that Ether had outperformed Bitcoin by posting 35% growth in the previous seven days. One reason for this appears to be the upcoming ETH futures listing on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).
While some altcoins have gained in Ethereum’s slipstream, others are plotting their own course while seeking to topple the front-runner itself. Polkadot, for instance, has been heralded as a rival to the smart contract network thanks to its unique sharding architecture and parachains. In the past week, Polkadot’s DOT token has outperformed most of the crypto market, rising by over 28%.
Polkadot currently sits fourth in the league table of cryptocurrencies, with a market cap of $16.5 billion and 24-hour volume of $3.4 billion. Not bad for a project whose mainnet is less than a year old. A single DOT token is priced at just under $20 at present, up 450% since August and with plenty of room for growth given Polkadot’s expanding defi ecosystem. Created by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood, the blockchain has often been touted as an “Ethereum killer” due to its strong fundamentals, talented developer team and scalability.
2017 Feels Are Spreading Fast
As for other altcoins, it’s starting to feel like 2017 when curious investors began making enquiries about abstruse tokens issued by emerging (and often bizarre) projects. Hedera’s HBAR, for instance, has pumped by over 80% in the past week. Brave’s Basic Attention Token (BAT) is up 37.81% while Celo (CELO) is up over 45%.
It’s not just altcoins outside the top 30 either; some of the most liquid tokens are enjoying impressive rallies. Cardano (ADA), for instance, is up over 15% in the past week while Chainlink (LINK) is up 24%. The digital assets are ranked sixth and eighth respectively. Outside the top ten, Uniswap’s native UNI token is trading for close to $10, an increase of over 21% since seven days ago. Defi protocol Aave (AAVE) is performing even better, with one token costing around $240 after its value rose by almost a quarter in the same period.
A cursory glance at altcoin returns since December 1 shows that a handful (DCR, DOGE, ADA) have posted greater returns than Bitcoin, despite the latter more than doubling its previous all-time high with a run to $42,000 earlier this month.
Of course, it hasn’t been plain sailing for alts; the likes of Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Stellar (XLM) have all fallen in the past week. Monero (XMR) also slid by over 11%, following the news that digital asset exchange Bittrex was withdrawing support for all privacy coins.
Ultimately, it’s too early to say whether open season on altcoins has commenced – though many traders are already rubbing their paws at the prospect of green candles galore. As for Bitcoin, aggregated open interest indicates rising speculative interest in its next move. Even the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, wants to bet on its direction. To say the market is getting interesting is an understatement.