Bitcoin Flexes Dominance Again as Altcoins Suffer Bigger Losses
Bitcoin might be having a tough time of late, but it’s holding up much better than other cryptocurrencies, showcasing its ability to stay dominant during rough spells.
The coin’s market-cap dominance has risen “sharply” during the latest selloff, reaching 45%, the highest level this year, according to data compiled by Babel Finance. It suggests “altcoins are at their worst,” the firm’s strategists wrote in a note.
Even last week, as prices plunged amid the TerraUSD implosion, crypto fans added $299 million to products focused on Bitcoin, with market-watchers suggesting that investors have been flocking to it as a better bet.
“Bitcoin is the best-known and most-liquid cryptocurrency, so it is seen as the safest one,” said Matt Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak + Co. “With massive drops of some members of this asset class in the past week, it’s no surprise that those who think it’s a good buying opportunity are focusing on the safest one.”
It’s an idea that emerges whenever cryptocurrencies suffer through challenging times. Bitcoin is the oldest digital asset and has name recognition. It also has a devoted group of fans, who often refer to themselves as Bitcoin maximalists, betting the coin is the currency of the future.
That’s not to say it’s seeing stellar returns. Like the rest of the market, it’s mired in a bear market, but is just holding up much better than altcoins are. Bitcoin has lost 27% over the past two weeks, while Ether has shed more than 33%. Other coins have fared even worse, with Solana falling 44% and Avalanche dropping more than 50%. As of 3:17 p.m. in New York on Wednesday, Bitcoin was down 3%, compared wit Ether’s 4% decline.
“Altcoin investors also became fearful of the developments in the market,” said Oleksandr Lutskevych, founder and CEO of CEX.IO, citing aggressive moves by the Federal Reserve.
Cryptocurrencies are in the gutter this year. Most central banks have done away with loose monetary policy and are hiking interest rates to cool down inflation. It’s created an unpleasant environment for all manner of risk assets, including US equities.
“Markets have become convinced that rate hikes will continue for the foreseeable future,” said Lutskevych. “This has expedited exits from riskier assets such as stocks and cryptocurrencies.”
When the selloff will abate is anyone’s guess. Lori Calvasina at RBC Capital Markets says she’s been monitoring the crypto-stocks correlation. Bitcoin has, in the past, been a leading indicator for when the market might bottom, though it’s less so such a predictor now.