Ethereum and Lesser-Known ICON Lead Crypto Market Higher on Sunday

The cryptocurrency market is finishing off the weekend on firmer footing, with Ethereum, Ethereum Classic and lesser-known ICON leading the rally.


Ethereum’s native token climbed as much as $200 on Sunday, where it reached its highest level in nearly two weeks. At the time of writing, ether was up 16%, or $165, to $1,200.

With Sunday’s gain, ether’s market cap is back near $120 billion, based on a circulating supply of roughly 97.27 million tokens. The token continues to be one of the most frequently traded, with 24-hour volumes exceeding $5.1 billion.

The marked improvement in ether’s price comes after figurehead Vitalik Buterin announced the arrival of a much-needed scaling solution. The new protocol, called sharding, will split the main blockchain into smaller chains that can then be validated by different nodes. Various sources have reported that the sharding protocol will take several months to complete, with a second phase of developing continuing through April.

Ethereum Classic

Ethereum Classic was also among the cryptocurrency market’s top performers Sunday. The coin, which is based on the original Ethereum node, rose more than 17% to $32.98. That was its highest level in over a week, giving ETC a market cap of roughly $33 billion. That’s enough for 13th on the list of active cryptocurrencies.

The coin saw daily trade volumes of more than $341 million, with South Korean exchanges Bithumb and Upbit generating most of the turnover.

Earlier this month, ETC developers announced they were looking to address scalability challenges through a protocol called the Callisto sidechain. The separate blockchain will run its own cryptocurrency called CLO.


In terms of percentage gains, ICON was the one of the best performers on Sunday. The coin surged 19% to $9.63 on trade volumes of $125.1 million. The cryptocurrency continues to trade well off its all-time peak of $13.16, but has also rebounded some 26% from its recent trough.

ICON, which trades under the symbol ICX, successfully created its Genesis Block on Jan. 24. The project raised a total of 150,000 ETH during its token sale, which was cut short due to overwhelming demand.

In terms of scale, very few blockchain projects are as large as ICON. The platform seeks to implement decentralized applications, interchain capability and a decentralized exchange powered by artificial intelligence. The project has generated significant interest of late, catapulting the ICX coin to no. 15 on the list of cryptocurrency market caps.

The combined market cap for all cryptos peaked near $596 billion on Sunday, the highest in over a week. It was last seen holding steady near $587 billion. Bitcoin’s share of the total market has slipped to 33.5%, according to CoinMarketCap.

The rise of the altcoin class has eaten significantly into bitcoin’s market share over the last 12 months. At this point last year, bitcoin represented roughly 90% of the total market. The number of altcoins valued at $1 billion or more has also risen sharply, as has the total number of cryptocurrencies in circulation following successful ICOs.

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