Bitcoin Leads Crypto Market to Record Highs After New Year

It was gains across the board for the world’s top-15 cryptocurrencies, with the likes of bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin leading the rally.

BTC/USD Price Levels

The value of a single bitcoin spiked more than 10% on Tuesday to $15,022 for a market cap of $255 billion. The cryptocurrency reached a session high of $15,222.

More than $16.4 billion worth of bitcoin was transacted over the last 24 hours, according to CoinMarketCap. Binance emerged as the biggest processor, with TRX/BTC trades accounting for 6.5% of the daily transactions. ETH/BTC trades on Binance also accounted for 2.5% of the daily turnover.

Bitcoin has had a wild ride the past five days, with prices fluctuating between today’s highs and lows near $12,000. The coin’s dominance of the digital currency market has slowly faded, with less than 38% of the total market cap allocated to bitcoin. That’s down from nearly 90% a year ago.

Altcoins Surge

Alternatives to bitcoin have picked up the slack in recent months, as investors continue to be drawn to assets with higher transaction capacity. The latest altcoin surge has brought assets such as Litecoin, Ripple and even Cardano to the forefront. Each of these cryptocurrencies seeks to become a lighter, more transaction-friendly bitcoin.

According to CoinMarketCap, the top 15 cryptocurrencies by market cap were trading higher on Tuesday.

Ripple held on to the no. 2 spot with a market cap of $90 billion. Prices were up more than 11% to $2.13. Meanwhile, Ethereum spiked 12% to $858 for a total market value of $85 billion.

The ever popular Litecoin posted gains of nearly 10% to trade at $251. The coin has declined sharply over the past week as markets corrected from their most recent highs.

The recently forked bitcoin cash rose more than 10% to $2,601. Bitcoin cash has experienced significant volatility ever since Coinbase announced it would support the cryptocurrency. Allegations of insider trading triggered a sharp reversal in BCH tokens, which likely explains the sharp drop from record highs north of $4,100.

At the time of writing, the total value of all cryptocurrencies in circulation was $669 billion, the highest level on record. A total of 1,380 coins make up the market.

The number of coins in circulation is expected to rise steadily through the first quarter as more businesses issue token raises. ICOs generated more than $5 billion in funding last year, according to one estimate, and are poised to continue their streak at the start of 2018. Growth will likely continue until regulators intervene.

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