$500 Billion: Ethereum, Ripple Prices Carry Crypto Market Cap to Historic Milestone

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Cryptocurrencies achieved another historic milestone this week, as their combined market caps leaped above the $500 billion mark on the heels of an altcoin rally led by the ethereum and ripple prices.

Cryptocurrencies Now Worth Half a Trillion Dollars

The cryptocurrency market cap had begun the day at $467 billion, and it seemed unlikely that it would reach the $500 billion mark this quickly — especially considering that bitcoin ended the day trading sideways. However, fueled by an altcoin surge, the crypto market cap leaped above the $500 billion barrier Tuesday evening and eventually rose as high as $505.9 billion before tapering to a present value of $504.3 billion.

ripple price
Source: CoinMarketCap

At this level, cryptocurrencies are now worth more than Berkshire-Hathaway, the holding company run by legendary investor — and bitcoin skeptic — Warren Buffett.

Bitcoin Price Holds Above $17,000

Ordinarily, one expects these market cap rallies to coincide with dramatic bitcoin price climbs, but that was not the case today. Although the bitcoin price hit an all-time high on bitcoin exchange Bitfinex, the global average topped out at $17,781, after which it fell back toward its previous-day level. At present, the bitcoin price is trading at $17,184, which represents a single-day increase of one percent and provides bitcoin with a $287.6 billion market cap.

bitcoin price
Bitcoin Price Chart | Source: CoinMarketCap

Ethereum Price Eyes $700

The ethereum price posted an impressive advance for the second-consecutive day, rising 25 percent and briefly extending as high as $686. At present, the ethereum price is trading at a global average of $681, which translates into a $65.6 billion market cap.

ethereum price
Ethereum Price Chart | Source: CoinMarketCap

Though several factors are at play, the primary one is likely the fact that ethereum continues to see increasing transaction volumes. Just yesterday, the Ethereum network processed an average of 10 transactions per second for the entire day, a new all-time high.

Ripple Headlines March Past $500 Billion

Wednesday was another banner day for altcoins, and — led by ethereum and ripple — the total altcoin market cap rose above the $200 billion mark for the first time.

ripple price
Source: CoinMarketCap

Bitcoin cash, the third-largest cryptocurrency, rose three percent for the day, but its closest rival is growing increasingly larger in its rearview mirror.

That’s because the ripple price exploded by 71 percent amid insatiable demand from Korean traders. Ripple now has a market cap of $18.4 billion, meaning that if it can replicate this single-day performance one more time, it will supplant bitcoin cash and rise to third in the rankings.

ripple price
Ripple Price Chart | Source: CoinMarketCap

Ripple’s surge enabled it to race back ahead of litecoin, whose breathtaking gains began to taper on Wednesday morning. At present, the litecoin price is trading at $310, which represents a single-day increase of 12 percent.

Sixth-ranked IOTA was the lone cryptocurrency in the top 10 to decline for the day, perhaps signaling that the bulls have run out of steam following last week’s incredible rally.

Dash and monero each crossed historic milestones after double-digit percentage price increases. They are currently valued at $916 and $330, respectively. Ninth-ranked NEM traded sideways, while bitcoin gold rose by about seven percent to round out the top 10.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Josiah is an assistant editor at CCN. A former ancient and medieval literature teacher, he has been reporting on cryptocurrency since 2014. He lives in rural North Carolina with his wife and children. He holds investment positions in bitcoin and other large-cap cryptocurrencies. Follow him on Twitter @Y3llowb1ackbird or email him directly at josiah.wilmoth(at)ccn.com.