Cryptocurrency markets hit 2018 low, bitcoin share hits 2018 high
The total cryptocurrency market cap has hit a new 2018 low following some pronounced recent drops across the board. At the time of writing the total market cap is down to about US$221.2 billion, putting the last couple of days squarely in the bounds of the worst days for cryptocurrency markets this year.
At the same time bitcoin dominance has hit a new yearly high at 49%.
The coinciding isn't coincidence, with bitcoin typically being perceived as a low risk option by cryptocurrency standards. The usual pattern is for non-bitcoin cryptocurrencies to be much more volatile in both directions, and the altcoin market share has tended to grow whenever the bulls are running in the streets. Conversely, bitcoin's market share usually grows whenever prices are hurting.
Part of this is the general perception of bitcoin as an accessible safe haven in market slumps.
Another part might be institutional investors' combined preference for bitcoin and eagerness to buy when prices are down. Put together, these two factors see people trade their altcoins for bitcoin, as well as a new stream of fiat entering bitcoin, whenever the crypto markets get mauled by bears.
The money doesn't just flow to bitcoin though, and demand for stablecoins also tends to form price outcropping when the markets are down, metaphorically almost exactly like how mesas are formed when the softer ground around the solid stone is eroded over time.
Despite everything, Tether is still the plateau of choice for many, and it swung especially widely today on high volumes as some people tether (as a verb) out the market slump and others go the other way while prices are low.
Not all altcoins dropped equally, and some have taken a special double digit routing in the 15-20% range over the last 24 hours. Today's biggest masochists are naturally those which saw larger gains recently, including Aeternity (down 18%) and PundiX (down 17%), both of which saw gains relative to the market norm in recent days.
EOS prices also received a pronounced drubbing today, perhaps because the all-clickbait-no-cattle Weiss ratings agency insisted on re-endorsing it as their number one favourite cryptocurrency.
IOTA prices have similarly been suffering following the combination of an internal leak, and IOTA competitors serving re-reheated technical criticisms at the BlackHat security conference in Las Vegas.
Disclosure: At the time of writing the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VET, XLM, BTC, ADA