Altcoin Season Arrives: Stellar (XLM) and Cardano (ADA) Take the Reigns

This week saw a further decoupling between bitcoin (BTC) and its altcoin peers, as discerning investors prioritized value over correlation. This broad decoupling has left bitcoin with slightly more than half of the total cryptocurrency market capitalization, with the likes of Stellar (XLM) and Cardano (ADA) seeing an upsurge in activity and interest. They join Litecoin (LTC), Binance Coin (BNB) and EOS (EOS) as a small but important group of assets slowly escaping bitcoin’s gravitational pull.

Those of us who were around during the height of the bull market saw bitcoin’s share of total crypto capitalization fall to around 36%. At the time, the ‘decoupling effect’ was said to be necessary for the market to reach full maturity.

Also read Crypto Price Analysis: Cardano and Stellar Preparing for Pumps.

Stellar Surges

A new logo, growing adoption and a coveted listing on Coinbase Pro highlight an extravagant week for Stellar. Lumens rose more than 22% between Fridays to reach the highest level since January. On Monday, daily trade volumes peaked north of $265 million, levels not seen this year.

In the eight days through Thursday, XLM had risen some 35% and was eyeing its first big resistance test north of the 11-cent mark. The cryptocurrency is currently trading just below that level but looks poised to extend its breakout thanks to growing mainstream attention and a major adoption drive involving SatoshiPay. Earlier this week, German financial media company Börsenmedien AG announced a stake in the Stellar-backed micropayment service, opening the door to greater XLM integration.

Later in the week, Coinbase officially confirmed that XLM would now be offered on its professional trading suite. Stellar is now available for trading on Coinbase Pro against the U.S. dollar, euro and bitcoin. Read more: XLM/USD Surges 35% Over Eight Days; First Big Barrier Being Broken Down by Bulls.

Cardano in the Spotlight

Like Stellar, Cardano’s ADA was propelled higher this week by a combination of technical and fundamental forces. The Cardano Foundation is not only a founding member of the International Association for Trusted Blockchain Application (INATBA), a group that is looking to spearhead cryptocurrency adoption in Europe, it recently integrated the Ledger wallet within the ADA ecosystem. The latter initiative was first announced in February but appears to have been completed this week after Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson tweeted a picture of the Ledger hardware wallet with a Cardano logo.

Cardano, now the world’s eleventh-largest cryptocurrency after leapfrogging Bitcoin SV (BSV), has gained more than 16% this week. This follows a prolonged accumulation period that has given ADA a bullish bias.

ADA is currently trading just north of the 5-cent mark, having gained 6.4% in the last 24 hours.

Altcoin Season Arrives

With bitcoin’s price further consolidating near $4,000, altcoins have seen renewed interest among retail traders and casual market observers – at least, that’s what Google search trends reveal.

As Hacked reported earlier this week, Google searches for the term “altcoins” spiked this week to the highest level since October. “Altcoins” now has a Google trend score of 34, well above last week’s reading of 9. Basically, Google trend scores range from zero to 100, with higher numbers reflecting greater search traffic.

“Google trends offer an indirect measure of investor interest in digital assets. During the height of the crypto bull market, “bitcoin” and “cryptocurrency” had a perfect trend score of 100, highlighting peak interest in these keywords.” – (March 14).

The cryptocurrency market added $3 billion this week to reach $136.9 billion. Altcoins and tokens accounted for 49.2% of the overall market, according to CoinMarketCap. Earlier this month, their market share briefly surpassed 50% for the first time since the summer.

The Week Ahead

An upsurge in trading volume and the decoupling effect between bitcoin and its major peers point to brighter days ahead for digital assets. The cryptocurrency market as a whole is trading some $36 billion off its December low and the continued defense of critical supports suggest that the worst of ‘crypto winter’ had passed. It remains to be seen whether bitcoin and its major peers can extend their recovery in March. So far, trading conditions have been tepid with a few notable exceptions.

Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi