Decentralized oracle network Chainlink's LINK token and other prominent alternative cryptocurrencies (dubbed altcoins) are charting solid gains as the crypto market leader bitcoin takes a bull breather.
LINK set a new record price of $23.68 overnight and is changing hands near $21.73 at press time, a 7.3% gain on a 24-hour basis. The previous lifetime high of $19.90 was reached in August, according to CoinDesk 20 data.
The cryptocurrency has nearly doubled in the first two weeks of the year in a strong follow-through to last year's 530% rise. Chainlink's oracles act as a bridge between cryptocurrency smart contracts and off-chain data feeds.
Bitcoin is currently trading near $36,900, representing a 5% gain in 24 hours, but remains trapped in a week-long tightening range of $30,000 to $40,000. The period of consolidation looks to be paving the way for the rotation of money into the relatively cheap altcoins.
The switch to alts began last week with Polkadot blockchain's DOT token rallying sharply to become the fourth-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, according to Alex Melikhov, CEO and founder of cryptocurrency framework Equilibrium and the EOSDT stablecoin. "Other coins now seem to be following Polkadot higher," he said.
The record ether-bitcoin implied volatility spread seen earlier this month had suggested a rally in ether and alternative cryptocurrencies in general may be on the way.
LINK may receive an additional boost from Ethereum's impending switch to the staking model, which would allow node operators to stake their collateral in order to gain access to certain data jobs that require collateral.
The altcoin rally may pause if bitcoin's recent narrowing price range ends with a bullish breakout, opening doors for stronger gains. "If bitcoin breaks $42,000, it's going to run to test $50,000 pretty quickly," Vinny Lingham, investor and founder of crypto wallet and identity verification firm Civic, tweeted Thursday.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.