Bitcoin Price Hits New All-Time High, Overall Market Cap Crosses $100 Billion
As Bitcoin and Ethereum – the engines driving the recent cryptocurrency surge
– neared new all-time price highs, the overall market capitalization crossed the $100 billion mark. Bitcoin was trading just short of the $3,000 mark, while Ethereum touched a high of $256. For the first time, cryptocurrencies together crossed $100 billion in market capitalization. The year has witnessed a lot of movement in the virtual currency space, primarily led by a string of positive news and sentiment around Bitcoin and Ethereum. This resulted in a multiplier effect for most cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin continues to dominate
the market and alone accounts for 46% of it given its market capitalization is a little over $46 billion. The virtual currency has tripled in value from around $950 in the beginning of 2017, to a price hovering around $2900. This rise hasn't been without volatility. Bitcoin prices took a hit, dropping to $900 levels from $1300, when the SEC disapproved of the Bitcoin ETF promoted by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. It eventually recovered on a positive statement by SEC about the future course.
Further, the growing recognition of Bitcoin as a legal mode of payment and the evolving positions of regulators in certain countries have been major drivers of its movement during the year. Japan and Philippines have recognized the cryptocurrency as a legal method of payment. The Ministry of Finance in India has constituted a committee to examine the existing framework around Virtual Currencies (VCs) while Russia, which has been particularly hawkish, is expected to legalize Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as financial instruments in 2018 to combat issues related to money laundering. Bitcoin corrected to the sub $2000 mark during the last week of May. However, strong demand from China, Japan, Philippines and South Korea continues to fuel its price rally. Greater use of Bitcoin for facilitating remittances is one of the major factors behind the high demand for it in these countries where it continues to trade at a premium.
Ethereum (ETH) the second-largest cryptocurrency
also hit its lifetime high at $256 on the back of upbeat atmosphere in the segment. Ethereum commands almost one-fourth of the overall market capitalization. The rise of Ethereum has been spectacular in the year and driven by the rising enterprise interest and strong use case. (See also: Understanding the Reasons Behind Ethereum's Price Rise) The other cryptocurrencies in the top seven are Ripple, NEM, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin and Dash. Ripple, the third-largest cryptocurrency, currently has a market capitalization of around $11 billion, while the remaining have a minor share in the overall market. Despite the smaller share, events like the successful activation of SegWit in Litecoin have strengthen the confidence of traders across the market.