Bitcoin Dominance Back Above 70% as Altcoins Unable to Find Positive Catalyst

Bitcoin’s price was range-bound on Thursday, as a lack of trading volumes kept the bulls and bears at bay.

The altcoin universe was equally moribund, with the majors failing to generate any sustained bids after months of lackluster performance.

BTC/USD Update

The bitcoin price traded within a $350 band on Thursday, bottoming near $10,027 and peaking at $10,375. At the time of writing, BTC/USD was up 2% at $10,354, according to Bitstamp. The largest digital currency is back above the 30-day exponential moving average (EMA), though price action remains choppy.

bitcoin price
Bitcoin (BTC/USD) maintains narrow trading range. | Image: TradingView.

Momentum has picked up slightly in recent hours, according to the relative strength index (RSI). However, the daily oscillator continues to show a lack of committed direction.

Bitcoin’s daily trade volumes were a paltry $519 million, according to Bitwise data. That’s a fraction of the levels observed over the past six months. Binance accounted for roughly half of the verified spot market.

With volumes so low, volatility has nowhere to go but down. The 30-day volatility index, which measures bitcoin’s daily price fluctuations over that period, fell to 3.09% on Thursday, according to bitvol.info.

Altcoins Continue to Lag

With bitcoin accounting for more than 70% of the cryptocurrency market, altcoins and tokens have had little room to maneuver. The top coins were trading mixed-to-higher on Thursday, but the magnitude of the price changes was minimal.

Ethereum’s price rose 1.4% to $180.47.  However, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap continued to decline relative to bitcoin, with the ETH/BTC exchange rate falling 0.7% to 0.0174.

ETHBTC
Ethereum’s performance against bitcoin has been truly abysmal this year. | Image: CoinMarketCap.

Bitcoin cash (BCH), Monero (XMR) and Cardano (ADA) produced notable gains on Thursday, rising between 1.4% and 2.8%.

Litecoin (LTC), EOS and Binance Coin (BNB) were little changed, based on latest available data.

Despite a strong start to the year for altcoins, demand has been virtually subdued since the tail end of the second quarter. Over that stretch, alts have failed to generate their own catalysts independent of bitcoin. The trend has intensified throughout 2019, pushing bitcoin’s dominance rate to more than two-year highs.

At current values, altcoins have a total market capitalization of $76.6 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. Bitcoin, meanwhile, has a total worth of $186.1 billion.

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. Chart via TradingView

Author:
Chief Editor to Hacked.com and Contributor to CCN.com, 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