HISTORY REPEATS: Altcoins surge follows Bitcoin price spike, just like in 2017

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What does this case mean for cryptocurrency?

Five of the top altcoins have now eclipsed Bitcoin’s pump over the past seven days. The altcoins surge mirrors what happened in December 2017 on the way to the all-time high.

Bitcoin may be above $8300 and have market dominance around 56.5%, but that has prevented the altcoins in the top ten all spiking between 29% and 57% over the past week.

The gains for Ethereum (45%), Ripple (51%), Bitcoin Cash (39%), Stellar (57%) and Cardano (51%) are even greater than the much-heralded spike in the Bitcoin price of 36%.

Most have seen double-digit gains in the past 24 hours, led by Stellar with a 30% spike.


The surge in altcoins and Bitcoin has seen the total cryptocurrency market cap top $255 billion, its highest point since August last year.

Litecoin, which had already seen massive gains this year ahead of the block reward ‘halving’ in August, increased a further 36% to $149. It began the year at $45.

Altcoins surge
Altcoins surge over the past seven days to May 16. Chart courtesy of CoinTracking.

Altcoins had a lot of catching up to do

To be fair to Bitcoin’s stellar run, altcoins had a considerable amount of catching up to do.

Between April 1 and May 12, the top 15 altcoins underperformed Bitcoin by around 31%, according to an analysis by Cryptobriefing.

But history appears to be repeating itself. The last time Bitcoin’s dominance hit 60% was on December 4 in 2017.

Within a month, Bitcoin’s dominance had slumped to just 35% as altcoins spiked in price.

In the past two days Bitcoin’s dominance has fallen from around 60% to 56.5%.

Altcoin investors are in it for “mad gainz”

The week’s massive gains come as a new poll on Twitter finds the overwhelming majority of altcoin investors are in it to make quick returns, and not due to some utopian technological vision.

The poll found that 80 percent of the 2886 respondents ticked “mad gainz (10x – 1000x)”, over ‘dApps’, ‘other’ or being a ‘Bitcoin maximalist’.

It’s worth mentioning that self-selected Twitter polls are not scientifically valid, though they are fun.

Bitcoin maximalists

The recent run-up in the price of Bitcoin has seen a swathe of commentary from Bitcoin maximalists to the effect that altcoins are being left behind.

One of the most famous pronouncements came from Heisenberg Capital – which invested in startups like Kraken, Bitfinex, and ShapeShift among others.

It tweeted recently that there was no future in altcoins: “We’re doubling down on Bitcoin Maximalism with new capital. As BTC climbs toward our 2011 target of $100,000, we believe everything except BTC will die-off.”

And respected veteran trader Peter Brandt – whose analysis of Bitcoin’s “unheard of” parabolic moves and predictions of a new all-time high of $50,000 did so much to restore confidence to the market – also said he was all in on Bitcoin.

“Bitcoin’s my only focus. I have no interest in altcoins,” he told delegates during a presentation at Consensus 2019 earlier today.

Last week he called altcoins “cheap pretenders”.

Altcoins offer chance for 1000x gains

But Crypto Twitter’s Catoshi told his almost 50,000 followers that Bitcoin maximalism wasn’t the smart play when altcoins have the potential for 1000x returns.

“I see a lot of Bitcoin maximalism on Twitter. Saying altcoins are not worth it. Don’t fool yourself with current sentiment. Most OG’s became rich because of altcoins. There will be alts that will go 1000x. Spread your bets besides trading the king of coins. But do it smartly.”

Nuggets News calls it

Over the weekend, Alex Saunders from Nuggets News emailed his private crypto community to tell them to keep an eye on altcoins. He predicted the majority of capital in the coming bull run would flow towards the large cap coins.

“These include Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), IOTA (MIOTA), OmiseGO (OMG), Cardano (ADA), EOS and XRP. Worth noting, I’ve also found these large-cap cryptocurrencies tend to be the best coins to trade, regardless of whether you’re a beginner or veteran trader.”

Since he made the call, most of the coins in his list increased 20% or more.

And TraderCobb posted this morning: “Characteristics of 2017 bull market showing. When Bitcoin slows, Altcoins move.”