On April 23, the crypto markets took a turn that have some questioning the outlook on altcoins. While the altcoin market has been holding its own against Bitcoin, with currencies like Binance Coin posting 300 percent gains since the start of the year, the market appears to be swaying in favor of Bitcoin.
Long time cryptocurrency investors will be familiar with the the tug-of-war price movement between Bitcoin and altcoins. At times, the entire cryptocurrency marketplace buoys on positive sentiment and increased investment. However, a shifting between the pool of capital in alts and Bitcoin is also a common occurrence. For one, investors avoid the headache generated by taxes and capital gains by trading between currencies.
But for the most part, investors have recognized that Bitcoin tends to be a more price stable currency relative to the rest of the market, while also offering the ability to appreciate during periods of positive price movement–a feature that stablecoins are unable to offer. In times of bullish market sentiment, such as what is brewing for the industry at present, investors grow fearful of missing out on massive BTC leaps, such as the epic run which took Bitcoin to $20,000 in December 2017.
Despite the development interest and growth into platform currencies such as Ethereum, EOS and TRON, the marketplace for cryptocurrency continues to flow through the original cryptocurrency. Bitcoin holds a wide margin in market capitalization over the second highest coin Ethereum, a gap that is greater than $80 billion. In addition, Bitcoin market dominance has continued to climb throughout 2019, up from 51 percent at the start of the year to over 53 percent. Today’s price action has taken BTC dominance to just under 54 percent, its highest point since September 2018.
In fact, Bitcoin dominance has largely been on the rise over the last 12 months, with the coin reaching a relative low of 35 percent dominance in May 2018. While BTC experienced a slight retraction during the market fall of last December, the coin is making a recovery that could be trending towards the >80 percent dominance the coin historically experienced prior to early-2017.
More than likely, Bitcoin will not be able to eclipse its 2017 dominance of 85 percent, given the changing landscape of cryptocurrency. While BTC is by far the most recognizable currency in the industry, with Bitcoin holding household-name status familiarity (the coin is largely synonymous with cryptocurrency in mainstream markets), altcoin projects like Ethereum and EOS have carved out a substantial amount of developer interest. With Bitcoin yet to overcome the hurdle of scalability, its price is likely to stall again at upper limits in the absence of a solution like Lightning Network.
Cryptocurrency, assuming it can gain price traction again as in 2017, is still in need of proven usability. Investors and speculators may continue to drive up the price of Bitcoin and contribute to its market share dominance, but the entire landscape of currencies have to generate scalability in order to become an accepted technology.