Crypto Markets Continue Push for Yearly Highs as Small Caps Surge

Crypto markets are eyeing a return to yearly highs on Thursday, as bitcoin (BTC) found support above a key psychological level and small-cap altcoins continued to surge. The rise of the small caps is another important milestone for a market that has relied too heavily on bitcoin for direction.

Crypto Market Update

Most of the top cryptocurrencies reported gains through the morning session, with bitcoin finding renewed support above the $4,000 level. The leading digital currency traded as high as $4,141.10 on Bitfinex, which is the highest level in a month.

Bitcoin’s renewed stability has rubbed off on some of its large-cap peers. Ethereum (ETH), XRP (XRP), Litecoin (LTC) and EOS (EOS) continue to find support near key levels and all report sizable gains over the past week.

Bitcoin cash (BCH) edged up slightly on Thursday but it was enough to extend its weekly gain to a whopping 21.5%. The BCH price was last seen trading at $161.13.

Cardano (ADA), the 11th largest cryptocurrency by market cap, has returned 2.4% over the past 24 hours and 15.9% for the week. ADA is currently valued at $0.0546.

A contingency of small-cap cryptocurrencies led by Tezos (XTZ), Ontology (ONT) and VeChain (VET) continued to surge on Thursday. Tezos gained 19.4% to $0.7053, its highest since November. Ontology climbed 18.9% to $1.33, its best level in over four months. VeChain notched gains of 7.3% to reach $58.54. For a closer look at what’s moving these cryptocurrencies, read: Rise of the Small-Caps: Tezos, Zcash, VeChain Surge as Majors Stagnate.

The total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies approached $142 billion, some $2 billion short of the yearly high set on February 24. Trade volumes were a robust $32.9 billion.

Decoupling Effect

The rapid ascent of small-cap cryptocurrencies suggests that a bullish trend reversal is underway in the market. That’s because altcoins and tokens are slowly escaping bitcoin’s gravitational pull, a ‘decoupling effect’ that accompanied the last major bull market.

Proponents of digital assets have long held that greater price independence among cryptocurrencies was a sign of a healthy market. During the height of the bull market in December 2017 and January 2018, bitcoin’s share of the overall cryptocurrency market fell to just over a third. Nine months later, it was back around 55% as investors exited the cryptocurrency market entirely or shifted their positions to a more reliable store of value (in this case, bitcoin).

The next phase of the crypto revolution will likely see discerning investors choose their assets more wisely than in the past. This largely explains the recent run up in VeChain, Ontology and Tezos. It also explains the rapid ascent of Binance Coin (BNB) and the virtual doubling of Litecoin since the start of 2019. As these coins have surged, bitcoin’s market share has fallen back to around 50%. Earlier this month, it fell below the 50% mark for the first time since summer.

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