The recent outperformance of smaller digital currencies, or altcoins, is setting the tone for what could be a sustained rally in the overall cryptocurrency market, industry experts believe.
Much like traditional assets, the smaller, “riskier” coins move at the whim of general market sentiment and generally exhibit more significant price swings, similar to small-cap stocks. Bigger coins, namely bitcoin
, are more steady on a relative basis. So as the altcoin market rallies, signs are pointing to an improvement in the overall market.
“It’s a great sign,” said Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst at eToro. “When investors are willing to take on more risk and buy the alts, the overall market benefits.”
And buy the alts they are.
After tumbling in the first quarter of 2018, the altcoin market made a steady start to April before surging higher last week. Bitcoin cash, Ripple and EOS all added more than 20% last week, Litecoin gained 13.2% and Ether 9.7%.
And on the other hand, bitcoin has added just 1.9% over the same time. “As bitcoin goes, it’s the safe haven of the cryptos, as long as there is a risk-on attitude the riskier assets [altcoins] will outperform,” Greenspan added.
One altcoin that appears set up for a move higher is Ripple. The San Francisco-based payment protocol recently announced a partnership with Banco Santander. The Spanish banking giant will use Ripple’s xCurrent blockchain technology to run its new One Pay FX payment platform that allows customers in the U.K. to transfer money across Europe and the United States.
“XRP is Ripple’s cryptocurrency that can be used as a payment method making it much easier for banks and other institutions to send money around the world. It can help reduce the cost of moving large sums of money on a global scale,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets U.K.
“According to Ripple, XRP should be thought of as a bridge currency between various fiat currencies,” Aslam said.
However, it might take more than a one-week rally to convince some that the bottom is in place. It was only a month ago that investors in altcoins were teetering on the edge of crypto bankruptcy. Reddit threads were inundated with horror stories of alt investors’ portfolios disintegrating.
One Reddit thread began with the question: “Let’s play a game called ‘How much down is your (alt) portfolio?’”
“Can we get a support group or something,” one user asked.
Whatever the outlook for the digital currency market, proponents are delighted to see the move in altcoins. Just like riskier high-yielding currencies perform better in a buoyant market, altcoins will do the same. With last week’s moves whispers of an end of the bear market are growing.
“The talk on social media is that it’s altcoin season again,” said Greenspan.