Despite the hopes of some investors, the market had already priced in SegWit activation, so the bitcoin price remained mostly stable yesterday following the protocol upgrade’s deployment. However, the bitcoin price began to climb on Thursday, and despite a dipping hashrate, it appears bitcoin has $4,400 in its sights.
Bitcoin’s progress, combined with slight bumps to the bitcoin cash and ethereum prices, hoisted the total value of all cryptocurrencies to $155.3 billion, a new all-time high.
Since briefly dropping to $3,675 on August 22, the bitcoin price has strung together a three-day advance. That rally continued on Friday, as the bitcoin price rose 4% to $4,360. Bitcoin is now approaching $4,400 and is only $110 from surpassing its current CoinMarketCap record of $4,470. Bitcoin now has a $72 billion market cap.
Bitcoin is approaching record levels even as it deals with wild fluctuations in its network hashrate. This network volitility stems from miners moving back and forth from bitcoin to bitcoin cash to mine the most profitable blockchain.
Since the bitcoin cash network has the ability to frequently adjust mining difficulty, mining pools move their hashpower there when it is profitable to mine, and then quickly switch back to bitcoin when BCH difficulty increases. At present, bitcoin cash is about 14% more profitable, which is moving the two hashrates closer to parity.
The ethereum price continued its leisurely latter-week climb, rising another 2% to $332. This increased its market cap to $31.3 billion, although its daily trading volume has tapered below $1 billion.
Like ethereum, bitcoin cash volume has plummeted this week, mostly because Korean traders have moved on to other coins, such as Monero and Ripple. However, the bitcoin cash price has demonstrated that it has support above the $600 threshold. That pattern continued on Friday, as the bitcoin cash price recovered from a Thursday evening dip to return a 24-hour gain of 2%. At present, the bitcoin cash price is $665, resulting in a market cap of $11 billion.
Few top-tier altcoins saw significant movement on Friday, but there was one major exception. Ripple, the cryptocurrency with the fourth-largest market cap, plunged by 20% after rumors that it would make a major announcement regarding an Asia partnership did not pan out. The ripple price is still significantly higher than it was before this week’s rapid climb, but it has been reduced by nearly one-third since peaking at $0.30 earlier in the week.
The litecoin price also receded, declining 2% after crossing $50 for the first time in August. IOTA and NEM each rose about 4%, maintaining the $40 million distance between their two market caps. NEO and ethereum classic, on the other hand, each declined about 1.5%.
Dash and Monero, the two largest anonymity-centric altcoins, rose 6% and 14%, respectively. Both have seen significant movement this week, which is likely partially-related to the revelation that the U.S. Internal Revenue Service has been using transaction-tracing software since 2015 to unmask bitcoin users they suspect of tax evasion.
Featured image from Shutterstock.