Bitcoin cracks above US$50,000 as more altcoins soar… now what?

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Bitcoin (CRYTPO: BTC) has again cracked through the psychologically important US$50,000 level.

The biggest crypto by market cap hit a high of US$50,343 about 6 hours ago and has since edged lower to US$49,308.

At the current price, Bitcoin has a market valuation of US$928.5 million (AU$1.25 trillion).

While a number of altcoins have been making headline news this week for their outsized gains, Bitcoin maintains a firm grip as the world’s the dominant token. Its value equates to roughly 42% of the total cryptocurrency market cap of some US$2.2 trillion.

That’s one of the reasons crypto investors in other tokens watch Bitcoin closely, as it tends to set the wider trend.

What’s supporting the Bitcoin price?

According to Petr Kozyakov, CEO of global-payment network Mercuryo (quoted by Bloomberg):

Two fundamental factors that are likely behind Bitcoin’s push: Twitter’s potential integration of the coin as a Tip Jar payment option, and the official launch of Bitcoin as a legal tender in El Salvador come September 7. While we are expecting the $50,000 price point to hold, Bitcoin buyers are exercising more optimism for even a bigger price gain by year-end.

As for altcoins, which are any digital token that’s not Bitcoin, JPMorgan Chase & Co strategist Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou sounds a note of caution:

The previous phase of retail investors’ ‘mania’ into cryptocurrency markets was between the beginning of January and mid-May when the share of altcoins had risen from 13% to 37.6%.

While far from the record high of 55% seen in January 2018, at 32.6%, the share of altcoins looks rather elevated by historical standards and, in our opinion, it is more likely to be a reflection of froth and retail investor ‘mania’ rather than a reflection of a structural uptrend.

Speaking of potential mania…

Today’s best performing altcoin

The best performing altcoin over the past 24 hours is IOTA (CRYPTO: MIOTA).

The 36th largest crypto by market valuation at US$4.2 billion, IOTA is up 37% since this time yesterday. One IOTA is currently worth US$1.54.

So, what the heck is IOTA?

CoinMarketCap tells us:

IOTA is a distributed ledger with one big difference: it isn’t actually a blockchain. Instead, its proprietary technology is known as Tangle, a system of nodes that confirm transactions. The foundation behind this platform says this offers far greater speeds than conventional blockchains — and an ideal footprint for the ever-expanding Internet of Things ecosystem.

While IOTA has been enjoying a great day, it’s worth noting that it’s still down 39% from 16 April, when it was trading for US$2.53.

As for Bitcoin, it’s still down 22% from its 16 April record highs.

Caveat emptor.

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The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and has recommended Bitcoin. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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