The cryptocurrency markets achieved another comprehensive advance on Tuesday, but — breaking from recent norms — the bitcoin price was not leading the rally. That honor belonged to the ethereum price and litecoin price, each of whom surged to all-time highs and helped catalyze a record day for the altcoin markets.
Nevertheless, bitcoin did make a slight advance and coupled with the $20 billion altcoin rally, the total cryptocurrency market cap soared from $444.3 billion to $467.8 billion.
This, incidentally, makes the combined value of all cryptocurrencies worth more than Chinese technology conglomerate Alibaba, whose founder, Jack Ma recently said that bitcoin is “not for me.”
The bitcoin price rallied after U.S. exchange CBOE launched regulated bitcoin futures contracts on Sunday, but the most prominent cryptocurrency’s performance was a bit more tepid during the first full day of trading. After briefly rising above $17,500, the bitcoin price settled down to a present value of $16,906. This represents a daily increase of one percent and translates into a $283 billion market cap. January futures, meanwhile, were priced at $17,730 at the time of writing.
Notably, bitcoin futures trading currently represents little more than a blip in the market. While CBOE’s $50 million in first-day volume was respectable for a nascent asset class, it pales in comparison to the $12 billion in trades that bitcoin exchanges processed during the same period.
Although ethereum has been in a sustained uptrend throughout the year, it has been unable to match bitcoin’s gains during the fourth quarter. Consequently, it has gradually lost market share, and at one point its corner of the market dropped below 10 percent.
Tuesday brought investors a welcome change. The ethereum price leaped by 16 percent, punching through the $500 barrier and briefly extending as high as $553 — a new record — before ebbing back to a present value of $540. Ethereum now has a market cap of $52.1 billion, raising its market share to 11 percent.
More than three-quarters of the top 100 cryptocurrencies rose against the dollar on Tuesday, including every coin and token within the top 10. Many of these gains constituted double-digit percentage increases, which was all the more impressive considering that bitcoin only rose one percent.
The bitcoin cash price rose nearly seven percent, bringing the third-largest cryptocurrency back close to the $1,500 mark, but its performance was eclipsed by the new fourth-largest cryptocurrency: litecoin.
Just days ago, litecoin was trading in the bottom half of the top 10, but it has assembled a breathtaking rally since the weekend. In the past day alone, the litecoin price has soared more than 58 percent to a new all-time high of $260. Litecoin now has a market cap of $14.1 billion, placing it ahead of both IOTA and ripple in the rankings.
Despite losing a spot in the rankings, IOTA did post a double-digit percentage increase for the day, rising more than 13 percent to $4.90. Ripple, meanwhile, increased 11 percent to $0.275. The dash price climbed by 10 percent, bringing it within striking distance of $800, and monero posted a similar movement to bring its price near $300. Next to litecoin, the NEM price returned the best performance of any top 10 coin or token, leaping by 27 percent to $0.546. Bitcoin gold, however, rounded out the top 10 with an increase of just two percent.
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