Amid the Crypto Selloff, Ethereum and XRP Battle for Second Spot
A flash crash in the cryptocurrency market on Wednesday saw bitcoin’s total value fall below $100 billion for the first time since October 2017. It also left major altcoins Ethereum and XRP battling for second spot in the market cap rankings after the latter managed to hold up slightly better than its peers.
Battle for Second Spot Intensifies
As has been the case for the last few months, Ethereum is no longer the clear-cut no. 2 cryptocurrency on the basis of overall market cap. Over the last 24 hours, ether has fallen 13.5% to $170, where it was threatening yearly lows.
XRP, meanwhile, has fallen 10.5% over the same span to reach $0.4363.
Earlier today XRP posted a total market capof $18.14 billion, slightly higher than ether’s $18.09 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. This so-called “flippening” was first observed back in September after XRP posted a sudden and dramatic surge on the back of fundamental news and expectations of wider institutional adoption.
Interestingly, at the time of the last flippening, Ethereum’s price was trading comfortably above $220. Earlier in September, ether had experienced multiple large selloffs over concerns that the smart-contract protocol was losing relevance.
A cooling ICO market has also diminished demand for ether in the wider market. The amount raised via initial coin offerings plummeted to a mere $63.2 million in October, the lowest since March 2017 just before the token boom began, according to ICOData.io.
Crypto Downturn Accelerates as Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork Looms
Steep losses in ether and XRP reflect a much wider downturn that is showing little sign of dissipating. The combined crypto market cap fell below $180 billion on Thursday for the first time since October 2017, as traders rushed to liquidate their positions on virtual exchanges. Trade volumes on these platforms reached a high near $25 billion on Thursday.
The sharp selloff can be partially attributed to uncertainty over the upcoming bitcoin cash hard fork, which has the potential to split the BCH community in half. The hard fork process is expected to begin at 16:40 UTC. Craig Steven Wright, the self-styled Satoshi Nakomoto and main backer of bitcoin SV, has threatened to sabotage the chain “if/when DSV… hits the ABC fork”.
Wright has also threatened to tank the bitcoin price should existing miners switch to BCH. In a Wednesday tweet directed at bitcoin miners, Wright said the following:
“If you switch to mine BCH, we may need to fund this with BTC, if we do, we sell for USD and, well… we think BTC market has no room… it tanks.
Think about it. We will sell A Lot!
And, have a nice day
(BTC to 1000 does not phase me)”
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.