Crypto Traders Flock to Altcoins Amid Bitcoin Price Malaise
Cryptocurrency traders have been flocking to altcoins as of late, seeking to benefit from their volatility as bitcoin prices remain stagnant.
With many crypto traders sitting on the sidelines and awaiting news from China, volumes for bitcoin, the market's most highly traded asset, have seen a decline.
Market participants traded 6,670 bitcoins through Bitfinex, one of the world's largest exchanges by volume, in the 24 hours through roughly 21:30 UTC today, more than 50% less than the daily average of 17,900 bitcoins over the last week.
Likewise, volume has declined at major Chinese exchanges Huobi, OKCoin and BTCC, all exchanges whose policies have been affected by directives from that country's central bank.
Against this backdrop, bitcoin's price has stabilized, fluctuating between a daily high of $1,011 reached at 01:15 UTC and a session low of $1,001.00 hit at 07:00 UTC, CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (BPI).
The 14th February session provided a similar story, as bitcoin prices moved within a slightly larger range between $987.33 and $1,106.44, additional BPI figures reveal.
The rangebound trading that bitcoin has experienced may form part of a broader trend, according to Vinny Lingham, market analyst and CEO of identity startup Civic.
Lingham told CoinDesk:
While some might embrace such a period of lower volatility, this reduction in price movement also results in fewer opportunities for traders to profit from the cryptocurrency's price swings.
But while bitcoin's market has settled, many other cryptographic assets have received tailwinds from the development.
At the time of report, eight out of the top 10 cryptocurrencies on CoinMarketCap (listed in terms of market capitalization) were higher for the day, with monero and dash having experienced the most notable gains.
Monero, a token that powers a blockchain that leverages digital signatures to help preserve the privacy of its users, rose to $13.74 during the session, more than 5.6% higher than the currency's price of $13.01 at 12:04 UTC, CoinMarketCap figures reveal.
At the time of report, monero's token, XMR, was trading at $13.61, 4.6% higher for the session.
Data provided by cryptocurrency trading platform Whaleclub shows the benefit that this particular altcoin has derived as a result of traders' lack of interest in bitcoin.
"We've seen lower volume (both shorts and longs) in the past few days on BTC/USD, with traders moving on to other markets which offer greater volatility," Petar Zivkovski, COO for Whaleclub, told CoinDesk.
He singled out monero's XMR token in particular, indicating that "we see some volume flocking" to this privacy-oriented digital currency.
Dash, a digital currency that offers users privacy and instant transactions, also pushed higher in 15th February. The cryptocurrency climbed to $19.66 during the session, 8.6% higher than the currency’s price of $18.10 at 12:04 UTC, according to CoinMarketCap.
At the time of report, dash had fallen to $19.23, representing a 6.2% increase for the day.
Tim Enneking, chairman of Crypto Asset Management, offered similar sentiment.
"We are also moving a bit of money into altcoins," he told CoinDesk.
His take is that this is just the latest example of traders investing in smaller digital currencies when bitcoin prices remain rangebound.
Penguin image via Shutterstock
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