Cryptocurrency market has been really hot this winter — just as it was last year. The scenario is pretty much the same: rapid growth in December and early January, a deep collapse in mid-January, and a cautious recovery by the end of winter.
While a year ago it was Bitcoin that became the center of attention, now there are some altcoins on the market that boast a comparable market capitalization, and each has its path to follow.
The total cryptocurrency market capitalization in the winter of 2017–2018
Since 2012, we have been offering trading in the EXANTE Bitcoin Fund, at a price equal to that of Bitcoin. Last year we launched 14 more similar cryptocurrency funds, of which 13 are focused on a single token each, and the last one, known as XAI.Fund, tracks a dedicated multi-currency index. Shares of these funds are easy to buy through the ‘Crypto’ section of the EXANTE terminal.
Let’s see how the rates of some of these currencies have changed this winter, and make cautious estimates of their investment attractiveness.
- Market cap rating position: 1
- 3-month change in the exchange rate: +12%
This winter Bitcoin has seen a breathtaking rally, followed by an unexpectedly long decline. The cryptocurrency doubled in price, rising from $10,000 to $20,000 within two weeks after the CBOE futures exchange announced it would begin offering Bitcoin futures trading. But the market turned out to be overheated: shortly after the trading started, the BTC price began to decline erratically, before stabilizing at around $11,000–12,000. However, the net three-month change in the exchange rate remained positive at 12%.
- Market cap rating position: 2
- 3-month change in the exchange rate: +87%
ETH appeared to be quite different from BTC. The currency had been rallying since December 12 until February 14 with just some minor setbacks. Despite a slight negative move in mid-January, ETH’s three-month growth turned out to be radically higher than that of BTC: 87%.
- Market cap rating position: 3
- 3-month change in the exchange rate: +284%
This currency has shown the highest price fluctuations among its peers, but also the highest growth rate. From December 12 to January 4, its price increased 15 times (!). Unfortunately for the investors who did not manage to lock in the profits at the peak, the XRP fell sharply, now trading four times below the record price. Nevertheless, the overall three-month growth amounted to a record of 284%.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Market cap rating position: 4
- 3-month change in the exchange rate: −28%
This Bitcoin look-alike was doing exceptionally well in November, and retained some of that momentum the next month, spiking from $1,600 to $4,100. But the rally turned out to be short-lived, and in January the BCH fell back almost to the December levels, having dropped even lower in February. BCH is the only cryptocurrency among EXANTE’s funds that have shown price decrease over the last three months. However, just as the BTC, the currency has probably reached the bottom, so this could be a good time for buying in.
- Market cap rating position: 5
- 3-month change in the exchange rate: +156%
Like many other altcoins, the LTC made a breakthrough in December, spiking fourfold and setting a new all-time high. Despite the fact that In January it lost positions, the resulting gain set in February is still pretty impressive at 156%.
- Market cap rating position: 8
- 3-month change in the exchange rate: +235%
NEO has shown a fairly stable positive trend with a slight adjustment by the end of the winter. The currency demonstrated a particularly high degree of independence from the BTC, which makes it somewhat of a safe harbor in the market. Its growth during the winter has just slightly fallen behind the one of XRP: 253%.
- Market cap rating position: 9
- 3-month change in the exchange rate: +240%
Unlike most of this list, the EOS is not a digital currency, but a tokenized share of the EOS.IO project, an enterprise-level smart contract platform for decentralized applications similar to Ethereum. The project started in 2017, but the platform won’t be launched before June 1, 2018. However, the EOS has shown a stable positive trend so far, ranking third in our review in terms of the three-month yield after the XRP and NEO. Like NEO, EOS didn’t get affected by BTC price change, which makes it a worthy asset for investment diversification.
- Market cap rating position: 10
- 3-month change in the exchange rate: +132%
This new currency seems to follow the general scenario: a sharp rise in December followed by a prolonged decline in January and bouncing back in February. However, the net three-months change in the exchange rate is still quite good at 132%.
- Market cap rating position: 11
- 3-month change in the exchange rate: +1%
This relatively old altcoin occupies a special niche due to its anonymity. But apparently, this did not prevent the currency from following the general pattern: rapid growth in early December followed by a correction around December 20, and eventually a collapse by the end of February. The resulting gain is modest, albeit positive at 28%.
- Market cap rating position: 12
- 3-month change in the exchange rate: +83%
Another anonymous altcoin, the XMR rallied threefold in December, but unlike most of this list, it seems to have retained relative stability. Having reached an all-time high on January 7, one month later XMR fell back to its initial positions. Then the currency experienced a slight correction, up to 83%.
Ethereum Classic (ETC)
- Market cap rating position: 14
- 3-month change in the exchange rate: +65%
The altcoin is set apart from all the currencies in the review in terms of its unusual stability. After the autumn rally, ETC stabilized in the winter and now remains relatively flat. The resulting yield is 65%.
- Market cap rating position: 21
- 3-month change in the exchange rate: +115%
OMG is not a typical cryptocurrency, but a utility token used by OmiseGO — a payment system and a decentralized exchange based on ETH smart contracts. The ICO took place in 2017, raising $25 million. Now the platform is still under development and is set to be launched in early 2018. If the project, which is supported by the ETH developer Vitalik Buterin and the Lightning Network technology developer Joseph Poon, turns out to be successful, the OMG price is likely to spike.
Basic Attention Token (BAT)
- Market cap rating position: 54
- 3-month change in the exchange rate: +107%
Yet another non-currency token in the EXANTE portfolio, the BAT will be used to obtain a variety of advertising and attention-based services on the Brave platform, in particular, allowing users to get paid for viewing ads. Its ICO took place in 2017, raising $35 million. In October, a beta version of the Brave browser was released, followed by a stable release in December. So far, the platform isn’t really popular, and it is unclear whether it will achieve its ambitious goal to disrupt the entire online advertising market. But if the project turns out to be successful, one should expect a significant increase in the token price.
Don’t put all eggs in one basket
As can be seen from the charts, each crypto asset has its distinct features in terms of market behavior. The popular notion of all altcoins following in the footsteps of Bitcoin, only with higher volatility, does not seem to be the case anymore. The modern investor understands the ideological and technical differences of these assets and considers them independently. The decline in the price of Bitcoin started on December 17 and lasted a month, but many other currencies and tokens continued to rise at that time.
Over the winter period, the assets were significantly different in terms of volatility, and their three-month profitability ranges from −28% for the BCH to 284% for the XRP. Except for BCH, all the coins in the ranking have shown an overall positive trend. Despite multiple market shocks, almost none of the investors who bought them in early December did remain in the red by the end of February. This fact speaks volumes about the high investment attractiveness of the EXANTE cryptocurrency funds, especially when investments are allocated among several funds at once.