Bitcoin cash is the only forked cryptocurrency underperforming bitcoin in 2020, according to data from Messari. The inaugural fork is only up 9% year to date. 

Although most alternate cryptocurrencies (or “altcoins”) have rallied over the past few months, bitcoin cash – the only fork around today that traded throughout the 2017 cryptocurrency bull market – has been left behind. Bitcoin cash only started underperforming bitcoin in May, but two months was enough time for the forked cryptocurrency to underperform bitcoin by 18 percentage points so far this year.

It’s common for altcoins to outperform bitcoin during bullish market cycles. Altcoins with low or medium market capitalizations often experience higher volatility than bitcoin, which may yield higher returns should bitcoin’s price also appreciate.

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Year-to-date dollar-denominated returns for bitcoin and top bitcoin forks
Source: Messari, CoinDesk Research

Bitcoin cash, on the other hand, has simply experienced more of a volatility compression compared to the other forks, especially bitcoin sv, which has a market capitalization closest to bitcoin cash, said Dan Koehler, liquidity manager at OKCoin.

“Bitcoin gold and bitcoin diamond remain in a much smaller market cap bucket and thus could be experiencing higher volatility and returns as a result,” he added.

See also: With Bitcoin Stuck in the Doldrums, Altcoins Continue to Rally

Another, more fundamental possible explanation for bitcoin cash’s lackluster performance is that the protocol’s ecosystem – including developers, investors and entrepreneurs – has “unraveled,” according to Zach Resnick, managing partner at Unbounded Capital, a BSV-long fund. Bitcoin underperforming other forks like bitcoin gold and bitcoin diamond is not surprising due to their characteristically high volatility, he told CoinDesk. 

Regardless of the reason, bitcoin sv, bitcoin gold and bitcoin diamond have all outperformed bitcoin by more than 40 percentage points in 2020.

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