Cryptocurrency Market Cap Approaches $300 Billion as Bitcoin, Altcoins Continue Surging

Cryptocurrencies were nearing an important psychological milestone Wednesday, as surging trade volumes propelled the market to its highest level in five weeks.

Market Update

The digital asset market has tacked on over $26 billion in the last 24 hours to reach $296.1 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. At this pace, $300 billion is likely within reach in the coming day. Total market prices have been capped below that level since June 12.

Daily trade volumes on global exchanges now exceed $20 billion for the first time since May. Three exchanges processed more than $1 billion worth of trades.

Bitcoin, which was the main catalyst for the rally, has retained a 43% share of the total market. The largest cryptocurrency by trading volumes and market cap is up nearly 11% over the past 24 hours to trade at $7,741. The bitcoin price peaked just below 7,500 overnight.

Altcoins have also picked up the pace, with all the majors reporting solid gains. Ethereum was up 6% as prices approached $500. Ripple XRP gained almost 9% to $0.513.

Stellar Lumens led the double-digit gainers with returns of 28.4% over the last 24 hours. XLM now sits at $0.296.

Cardano’s ADA coin jumped 19.6% to $0.181. Bitcoin cash, the no. 5 currency, rose 10.1% to $872.

Bitcoin Volumes Double

Bitcoin’s trading volumes have virtually doubled over the past week, as positive headlines surrounding adoption and regulation triggered renewed interest in the cryptocurrency. Hacked previously reported that daily trade volumes of $4 billion or greater are needed to sustain a meaningful rally for the bitcoin price. On Wednesday, bitcoin turned over nearly $6.6 billion.

Tether – a cryptocurrency pegged to the dollar that is often traded against bitcoin – continues to exhibit higher than normal trade volumes. On Wednesday, USDT trades generated $4.2 billion in volume, which is an all-time high.

Unlike previous rallies that appeared technical in nature, the latest uptrend was sparked by news that a trillion-dollar asset manager was exploring ways to enter the cryptocurrency market.

BlackRock, which controls over $6 trillion in assets, has assembled a working group to explore crypto adoption. In an interview, CEO Larry Fink said his firm is a “big student of blockchain” but that he does not see “huge demand for cryptocurrencies” at the moment.

Fink has changed his tune compared to last year, when he called crypto assets “an index for money laundering.”

Coinbase, a large and influential digital currency exchange, has also fueled positive sentiment after the firm said it had gained regulatory approval to begin listing security tokens. Last week, Coinbase also said it had short-listed five cryptocurrencies for future consideration on its exchange.

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