Litecoin, Stellar Lead Crypto Market Past $800 Billion on Saturday

Saturday was another record-setting session for global cryptocurrencies, as double-digit gains for Litecoin and Stellar pushed the global market north of $800 billion for the first time.

Altcoins Surge

After a brief dip, the altcoin market was back on the offensive Saturday. By midday, 12 of the top 14 altcoins had reported gains, according to CoinMarketCap, with Litecoin and Stellar leading the rally.

Litecoin surged more than 20% to $303 before paring gains later to settle around $286. The upswing gave the LTC token a total market cap of $16.5 billion, placing it sixth among active cryptocurrencies. Daily turnover in Litecoin was $2.3 billion, with Coinbase’s GDAX processing more than 13% of the transactions. South Korean exchange Bithumb saw 11.5% of the daily turnover.

Stellar Lumens also had a big session, with the XLM token rising more than 16% to to $74 cents. Stellar peaked around 92 cents on Thursday before a sharp correction slammed the breaks on the altcoin rally. Before Friday’s correction, the cryptocurrency essentially doubled in value over a three-day period.

At present values, Stellar has a market cap of $13.2 billion, with daily trade volumes approaching $600 million. Stellar transactions were mostly spread across three exchanges – Binance, Poloniex and Bittrex.

Meanwhile, bitcoin prices continued higher on Saturday after posting double-digit percentage gains during the previous session. The worlds’ no. 1 digital asset was last seen trading above $17,100 for a market cap of roughly $288 billion. Bitcoin’s trade volumes over the last 24 hours amounted to $19.5 billion, latest data show.

Crypto Market Reaches New Milestone

The total value of cryptocurrencies in circulation climbed above $800 billion on Saturday for the first time ever. At last check, the market was capitalized at $803.5 billion for a gain of 44% over the past seven days.

About 64% of the market cap is altcoins, with Ripple, Ethereum and bitcoin cash accounting for the largest share.

The altcoin universe has been drawing more attention as of late, as investors seek to diversify their basket of digital assets. Many of the leading altcoins offer unique advantages over bitcoin, but all face significant volatility and uncertainty. This means investors should grow accustomed to wild swings in the digital asset class, even as the trajectory remains overwhelmingly positive.

The shift away from a bitcoin-centric market is also reflected in the daily volume rankings of cryptocurrencies themselves. Over the past 24 hours, bitcoin accounted for roughly 39% of transactions. The rest was made up of altcoins.

Over the past 30 days, bitcoin’s trade volumes have amounted to $435 billion. Ethereum’s 30-day volumes came in at nearly $99 billion and Ripple XRP saw roughly $86 billion in transactions.

Lesser known cryptocurrencies like Tether, Qtum, Tron and EOS also cracked the top-ten volume rankings, according to CoinMarketCap.

Rising market valuations for cryptos have put high net worth investors on notice. Head of UBS Sergio Ermotti told Bloomberg back in October that the wealthy were more curious about cryptocurrencies  – and that was before the most recent surge.

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