Bitcoin's Dominance Rate Runs Into Familiar Resistance, Hints at 'Altcoin Season' Ahead

Bitcoin’s dominance may have peaked, one observer said.

AccessTimeIconApr 21, 2023 at 11:21 a.m. UTC
Updated Apr 21, 2023 at 7:13 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global event for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

The increase in bitcoin's (BTC) dominance rate, or the largest cryptocurrency's share of the overall crypto market, has halted, hinting at the potential outperformance of alternative tokens known as altcoins ahead.

Altcoins are any cryptocurrency other than bitcoin.

Data from TradingView show bitcoin's dominance rate rose to 48% from 42% during the first quarter and has struggled to surpass that level so far this month.

The metric has oscillated between 38% and 48% for almost two years, with declines from 46% to 48% coinciding with outsized gains in altcoins.

"Bitcoin’s dominance could peak out, this would signal that altcoins would outperform," Markus Thielen, head of research and strategy at crypto-services provider Matrixport, said in a note to clients on Thursday.

Bitcoin's dominance rate's previous declines from 48% coincided with the altcoin market boom. (CoinDesk/TradingView)
Bitcoin's dominance rate's previous declines from 48% coincided with the altcoin market boom. (CoinDesk/TradingView)

The chart shows that the total market cap of altcoins (white line, blue arrows) rose more than 60% to $1.39 trillion in the two months after the BTC dominance rate turned lower from 48% in July 2021. Similar bearish turnarounds in the dominance rate in mid-October 2021 and June 2022 also pushed altcoin valuations higher.

History could repeat itself, according to Thielen.

"Bitcoin’s dominance appears to be peaking out at similar levels as in 2022 – accounting for 45/46% of the total crypto market capitalization," Thielen said. "For bitcoin to continue outperforming the rest of the ecosystem would imply that only bitcoin matters, which appears to be unlikely considering the intellectual and financial firepower that is being deployed on other chains.

"Bitcoin benefited from U.S. liquidity, but going forward, this could change," he said.

Edited by Sheldon Reback.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Omkar Godbole

Omkar Godbole is a Co-Managing Editor on CoinDesk's Markets team.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.