The Digital Coin Collectors Guide: Your seven day cryptocurrency rundown

If ever you needed some proof of the logic that altcoin fluctuations follow Bitcoin’s fate, you have it this week. The only exception to this rule is Tether, which is a stable coin tied to the U.S. dollar, and while we’re normally exclude it primarily for that reason, it works in capacity as the exception that probes the rule.

Here are the top five cryptocurrencies by market cap.

Bitcoin (BTC)

market cap: $160,786,360,981


When bitcoin started to run earlier this week, our chief chart wrangler Vishal Toora took it and ran with it.

Here’s what he had to say:

“We have been watching the Bitcoin chart these past few weeks and last week over on the discord channel I spoke about the breakout which occurred. This zone that we broke out of was new highs on the 4 hour chart, but also was a very important zone on the daily chart. The daily chart almost formed a somewhat dirty looking cup and handle. However, the pattern does not have to be textbook, they rarely are. What the pattern tells us is the confirmation of a higher low swing on the breakout, which is what we got, and that because of this, we are in an uptrend.”

And if you look closely at the shape of their seven-day chart, you’ll notice that it bears a general reflection to the rest of the charts (minus Tether), and that’s not a coincidence. What happens to Bitcoin, tends to follow with the rest of the alts—regardless of the news.

Ethereum (ETH)

market cap: $23,331,141,010


Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin released big news last weekend about a multiple phase change from Ethereum to Ethereum 2.0, including more security, and a consensus protocol shift from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake, and the best potential resolution for ethereum’s scaling problem to date. Chart response? Nothing. Not even a slight blip. But if Bitcoin goes on a run, then you see the same mid-week jump.

There are people out there who think Bitcoin is finished—that it’s built on outdated technology and it’ll be surpassed in a few years by a stronger, more viable coin, with more storage capacity. That might be true—who knows? But it isn’t here yet. Consider that Bitcoin right now is just under $9,000 at the time of writing and its closest competitor (by market cap) can’t break four digits. It says a lot about who rules the coin market.

Ripple/XRP (XRP)

market cap: $9,571,868,045


In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve never been a fan of Ripple or XRP. Ripple Labs, if you’re confused, is the company behind XRP. They’re used interchangeably because on some level, wherein Ripple presently owns the majority of the XRP coin and releases 1 billion XRP a month “to grow the team, business and ecosystem” they basically are. If you’re buying XRP, you’re buying into Ripple. So if the company is mismanaged, then the cryptocurrency will be worthless.

While they use a consensus protocol to maintain some semblance of decentralization, the above fact remains. If the company goes, XRP basically goes with it. Not stable enough for me. Hard pass.

Tether (USDT)

market cap: $7,793,187,766


Tether is a different beast altogether. It’s technically the fourth largest crypto by market cap, but is it, really? There are plenty of dissenting voices in the cryptosphere who want tether investigated for fraud. Remember that Tether is supposed to be backed up one-to-one with USD, which means that for every virtual $1 coin in the $7.7 billion market cap, they have $1 in real, hard cash. They’re not a bank, though, and they’re not insured by the FDIC, so how could that be possible? Long story short – it probably isn’t.

But their market cap still hit $6 billion on March 27 and then $7 billion by April 19.

An even bigger question could be:

Why would a pandemic lead to institutional investors flocking to Tether (USDT) — the same entity that was accused of using its digital dollar to hide $850M of ‘missing’ funds?

Bitcoin Cash (BCH)

market cap: $4,698,160,509


Last month while we settled in for our quarantine-dinner, Bitcoin Cash halved. Don’t feel left out or otherwise bad if you didn’t know that.

Honestly, I didn’t either.

Bitcoin Cash is the redheaded stepchild of Bitcoin that nobody really gives any attention. I don’t own any and I probably never will, and its performance post-halving can’t really be mined for any nuggets of insight as to how Bitcoin’s halving will proceed. It’s not like it’s got Bitcoin’s profile in terms of attention or penetration.

It seems mostly to be the home for the certain type of former Bitcoin enthusiast for whom decentralization, and protection from government overreach, were a big drawing point in the beginning. But now are driven off by the arrival of institutional investors. Still, after the halving, the bump must be a welcome addition. Even if Roger Ver, one of the minds behind Bitcoin Cash, doesn’t think much of Bitcoin’s chances anymore, he can’t help but recognize that sometimes papa throws him a bone every once in awhile.

—Joseph Morton

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