Market Wrap: Altcoins Rally as Bitcoin Buyers Return

FTM, XLM and SHIB were all up over 10% over the past 24 hours, compared with a 2% rise in BTC.

AccessTimeIconJan 12, 2022 at 9:38 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:21 p.m. UTC

Bitcoin rose above $43,000 on Wednesday, suggesting that a recovery from a two month-long downtrend is underway.

Alternative cryptocurrencies (altcoins) such as FTM, XLM and the popular dog-themed shiba inu (SHIB) token led the way higher, all up more than 10% over the past 24 hours. The rally in altcoins, which typically outperform bitcoin in a rising market, reflects a greater appetite for risk among traders.

Still, there are signs that the rally in highly speculative altcoins is due for a pullback. "In the layer 1 scene, both FTM and NEAR see an open interest-to-market capitalization ratio substantially above the large-cap tokens," Arcane Research wrote in a report.

"FTM’s open interest growth has been accompanied by strong price action and substantially positive funding – at current levels, the FTM trade seems relatively crowded," Arcane wrote.

Meanwhile, option traders appear to be less bearish on bitcoin. The one-week put-call skew, which measures the cost of puts – or bearish bets – relative to calls, has fallen from 17% to nearly 0% since late Monday, according to data provided by the crypto derivatives research firm Skew.

Latest prices

  • Bitcoin (BTC): $43,905.25, +2.6%
  • Ether (ETH): $3381.68, +4.4%
  • S&P 500: $4762.35, 0.28%
  • Gold: $1827, +0.47%
  • 10-year Treasury yield daily close: $1.735

Some analysts maintain a long-term bullish outlook for BTC, suggesting the current sell-off is a mere dip in broader upcycle. For example, StackFunds, a Singapore-based crypto investment firm, has a price target of $120,000 BTC this year.

Still, investors will still have to brace themselves for volatility. "We are expecting crypto markets to be extremely disjointed the next few months, inducing choppiness that overflow from equities, as investors navigate a new era of inflation," Lennard Neo, head of research at Stack Funds, wrote in a report.

Is bitcoin entering a recovery phase?

"A byproduct of consistent downtrends in price are the liquidation of confident long traders trying to catch a falling knife," crypto data firm Glassnode wrote in a blog post. That could mean BTC is approaching a short-term bottom, especially given the recent downtrend in price and the subsequent rise in liquidations.

Liquidations occur when an exchange forcefully closes a trader’s leveraged position as a safety mechanism due to a partial or total loss of the trader’s initial margin. That happens primarily in futures trading.

The chart below suggests short traders, or those positioned for a price drop, could soon face liquidations if BTC enters a recovery phase, similar to what occurred last July.

Bitcoin long/short liquidations (Glassnode)
Bitcoin long/short liquidations (Glassnode)

Altcoin roundup

  • Near and other FOAN tokens are reaching all-time high: ​​While all major cryptocurrencies saw prices spike higher on Wednesday, a few popular tokens stood out. Fantom (FTM), harmony (ONE), cosmos (ATOM) and near (NEAR) surged as high as 21%. Traders in crypto circles colloquially refer to a basket of those tokens as “FOAN,” a set of tokens associated with layer 1 blockchains primed for decentralized finance (DeFi) activity with their cheap and fast networks. Fundamentals for the FOAN basket shows promise for traders, Shaurya Malwa and Lyllah Ledesma reported. Read more here.
  • Ethereum reaches a staking milestone: The top four staking entities on the Ethereum 2.0 Beacon Chain now cumulatively account for 47.5% of total deposits, with Lido making a significant jump. Over time, decentralized staking providers like Lido and RocketPool have closely aligned with the health of Ethereum, allowing the protocols to choose a variety of node operators that run different clients and diversify concentration risk, according to CoinDesk’s Edward Oosterbaan. Read more here.
  • Solana becoming Visa of the digital-asset world: The Solana blockchain could become the “Visa of the digital asset ecosystem” as it focuses on scalability, low transaction fees and ease of use. It could grab market share from the Ethereum blockchain over time, Bank of America said in a research note. Solana is optimized for consumer use cases such as micropayments and gaming. Read more here.

Relevant news

Other markets

Most digital assets in the CoinDesk 20 ended the day higher.

Largest winners:

Asset Ticker Returns Sector
Stellar XLM +10.8% Smart Contract Platform
Cardano ADA +9.5% Smart Contract Platform
Cosmos ATOM +8.8% Smart Contract Platform

Largest losers:

Asset Ticker Returns Sector
Internet Computer ICP −0.2% Computing

Sector classifications are provided via the Digital Asset Classification Standard (DACS), developed by CoinDesk Indices to provide a reliable, comprehensive, and standardized classification system for digital assets. The CoinDesk 20 is a ranking of the largest digital assets by volume on trusted exchanges.


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Damanick Dantes

Damanick was a crypto market analyst at CoinDesk where he wrote the daily Market Wrap and provided technical analysis. He is a Chartered Market Technician designation holder and member of the CMT Association. Damanick is also a portfolio strategist and does not invest in digital assets.

Angelique Chen

Angelique is a market contributor at CoinDesk.