The cryptocurrency markets ended the week on a high note following Korea’s ICO ban, indicating that, at least for now, traders are not worried about the government’s posture toward cryptocurrency. The markets were buttressed by positive news from the Japanese government, enabling the ethereum price to climb to $300 and the bitcoin price to approach $4,300.
Earlier this week, Korean regulators announced a ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs). While some reports indicated the prohibition was a blanket ban — such as the one enacted by China — residents still appear to be able to contribute to foreign ICOs and trade for those tokens on exchanges. Consequently, news of the ban only had a minor effect on the markets, and they quickly recovered from that dip.
Hastening the recovery was an announcement by Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) that 11 Japanese bitcoin exchanges — including bitFlyer, one of the highest-volume bitcoin exchanges — had received licensure to continue to operate within the country. Japan has positioned itself as a central hub within the Asian cryptocurrency ecosystem, and this announcement reaffirms that the country will play a prominent role moving forward.
These developments contributed to the total cryptocurrency market cap’s continued recovery. After beginning the week at $131 billion, the total value of all cryptocurrencies steadily climbed throughout the week. Despite a brief dip immediately following the announcement of the Korea ICO ban, the markets continued to rise leading into the weekend. At present, the total crypto market cap is $146.6 billion, which is a 7-day increase of more than $15 billion.
The bitcoin price headlined the week-long rally with a 14% climb. On September 23, the bitcoin price was trading below $3,800, but it gradually scaled the charts throughout the week. At present, the bitcoin price is $4,284 — this is its highest mark since September 12. Bitcoin now has a market cap of $71.1 billion.
The ethereum price did not quite keep up with the pace of bitcoin’s rally, but it did manage a weekly gain of 8%. This was quite significant, especially considering that Korea’s ICO ban has a much deeper impact on ethereum than bitcoin and most altcoins. Altogether, the ethereum price gained nearly $20 for the week and is now valued at a global average of $300. This translates into a market cap of $28.5 billion.
The majority of top-tier altcoins followed the path blazed by bitcoin and ethereum, and several returned gains greater than 10%.
The Ripple price rose 12% over the course of the week, enabling it to maintain the 3rd-place ranking on the market cap charts. Bitcoin cash ended the week with a 3% bump and is now priced at $438.
The litecoin price rose 12% to $54 and has widened the market cap gap between it and 6th-place Dash to $400 million. Dash, meanwhile, had a disappointing week that culminated in a 7% decline. NEM rose 8%, while IOTA increased by 15%.
The NEO price was far and away the top 10’s most impressive performer, surging 57% to $31 and the 9th place on the charts. Monero returned a moderate gain of 5% to round out the top 10, but it may soon face a challenge from ethereum classic, which, after falling to 11th, soared 24% for the week and is now priced at $13.