In terms of crypto’s market decline, no one is hurting more than altcoins. Despite predictions that 2018 would be the ‘Year of the Altcoin’, the altcoin market is down 85% in 8 months. Here’s what’s happening to the cryptocurrency market cap beyond bitcoin.
The Altcoin Boom of 2017
An altcoin is any cryptocurrency that isn’t bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency by market cap. Back in January 2018, the entire cryptocurrency market cap reached an unprecedented $829 billion. At the same time, bitcoin’s market share fell to a low of 33%.
Several altcoins, like Ripple, Ethereum, Litecoin Bitcoin Cash, Dash and Stellar grew at rates that far surpassed Bitcoin. Ripple, the fastest growing cryptocurrency of 2017, grew 36,000%. By comparison, bitcoin growth, hailed as astronomical at the time, was only $1,300%.
And in the first half of 2018, the ICO market doubled. Not only were currencies like Ripple and Ethereum growing at rates higher than bitcoin, but new coins backed by massive rounds of funding seemed to appear daily.
Altcoin Market Down 85% in 8 Months
On January 7, 2018, the altcoin market peaked at $547 billion. Today, its market cap is $79 billion. In a little over 8 months, the altcoin market cap is down over 85%. This is because most of the altcoins that contributed to the $79 billion market cap have experienced negative growth for some time.
Ethereum, which had a market cap of well over $135 billion on January 14, 2018, is down 85%. And Ripple, which peaked at over $130 billion market cap on January 8, hovers below $11 billion—a 91.7% decrease. As the graph above shows, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Stellar and Litecoin all have lower market caps in September 2018 compared to January 2018.
Considering that the SEC likens ICOs to securities, some people are comparing the altcoin market to the stock market. This begs the question: Was the altcoin boom of 2017 a stock market bubble?
Cryptocurrency Market Readjusts
Almost all cryptocurrencies except one are in the red. But this isn’t the first time that the altcoin market is down. Back in 2014, the altcoin market went down 86% over the course of 9 months. Afterward, the altcoin market experienced rapid growth, cumulating in almost 800% market growth in 2017.
However, the cryptocurrency market is very different today than it was in 2014. For instance, SEC regulations and big company announcements exert enormous influence, both positive and negative, on the market. But despite the crypto market’s size, the question, when it comes to crypto investment, remains the same: Do you HODL?