Multi-Week Rally Continues as Cryptocurrency Market Surpasses $400 Billion; Bitcoin Cash Up 16%
The cryptocurrency market’s jaw-dropping rally continued on Monday, with the total value of all coins surpassing $400 billion for the first time since early March.
Bitcoin Cash Leads Market Higher
Bitcoin cash has dominated the headlines recently amid a series of oversized gains. BCH was the undisputed leader on Monday, surging 16.3% to $1,433, its highest since mid-February. The cryptocurrency added a staggering 87% over a five-day stretch, bringing its total market capitalization to $24.3 billion.
While there was no immediate catalyst for the rally, an upcoming hard fork of the BCH protocol has been cited as the most compelling force driving prices higher. BCH, the world’s fourth-largest cryptocurrency, will undergo a split on May 15. The update, known as Bitcoin ABC, will quadruple the BCH block size from eight megabytes to 32 megabytes. Advocates say this will heighten adoption in retail settings.
By comparison, bitcoin’s block size is a mere 1 megabyte, although efforts are underway to boost scalability. (Interestingly, Satoshi Nakamoto probably conceived of a maximum block size to keep the blockchain from splitting.)
However, others have accused BCH advocates of artificially inflating the cryptocurrency. Much of the criticism has been levied at Antpool, a large mining group that is burning bitcoin cash on a daily basis, potentially reducing its total supply.
The Antpool network announced last week that it confirms more than 8% of all bitcoin cash transactions. The announcement prompted a 25% surge in BCH prices heading into the weekend.
Bitcoin cash has been at the center of a much larger cryptocurrency rally that shifted into higher gear on Monday. Cryptocurrencies added more than $8 billion in market cap, bringing their total value to $401.7 billion.
The altcoin surge has diminished bitcoin’s market share to less than 38%, the lowest since mid-February. The total value of all coins not named BTC rose $7 billion on Monday to $249.8 billion. The total crypto market, including bitcoin, bottomed at almost exactly that level earlier this month.
Outside of BCH, most of the large gainers on Monday were cryptocurrencies ranked outside the top-ten by market cap. IOTA rose nearly 5% to $2.13, Dash added 7.4% to $503 and bitcoin gold gained 16.8% to reach $77.36.
Total trade volumes amounted to $22.1 billion, which is considerably lower than the most recent peak. However, volumes are up substantially compared to last month, when daily turnover was roughly half of the current level.
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.