What do all of cryptocurrency’s biggest winners of the last week have in common?
Privacy coins and forks dominate cryptocurrency's biggest winners of the last week.
There are two kinds of cryptocurrencies in the market right now: those that rose 50% or more in the last week and those that didn't.
But why are those cryptocurrencies rising? And what do they all have in common?
The chart below shows a tasting platter of recently high-performing cryptocurrencies in black, contrasted with the less-exciting mainstays of Bitcoin, Ethereum and XRP in gold, blue and green respectively.
The full list of top 50 market cap cryptocurrencies with gains of ~50% or more in the last 7 days includes the following:
News-wise, a few of them have their own reasons to rise. One is Bitcoin SV, whose founder has renewed his claims of being Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto and reportedly delivered 16,000 Bitcoin public addresses to support the claim. It's too soon to say whether the claims have anything to them, but the developments could be compelling people to take a punt on BSV.
As for Ethereum Classic, its big rise corresponded with the launch of its Agharta fork, intended to bring better compatibility with Ethereum (ETH), and it loosely corresponded to the launch of Binance ETC margin trading. However, updates typically don't have much price impact and the other coins Binance added to its margin trading didn't see similar rises. As such, it's tough to attribute ETC's rise to either of those pieces of news.
In the same vein, none of the rest have any clear and obvious explanations for the rise.
Privacy coins are over-represented among the biggest winners of the last week, with Dash, Zcash and Bitcoin Diamond all offering various privacy features of varying quality. It's possible that these rises represent a new surge of investment into privacy cryptocurrencies. Supporting this, is the fact that Zcoin (another privacy coin ranked ~100 by market cap) has also experienced rises in the field of 50% over the last week.
But Monero, the best-known privacy coin out there, has been comparatively stagnant over the same period. The Mimblewimble-based Grin and Beam privacy coins have similarly been running somewhat flat. If the rises of the last week have been disproportionately concentrated on privacy coins, they certainly haven't been equally distributed among all the coins.
Forks are also well over-represented among last week's winners.
Between Bitcoin SV, Ethereum Classic, Bitcoin Gold and Bitcoin Diamond, you have a solid array of second and third-string forks. Dash also began life as a fork of Litecoin, although it has since moved on.
It's tough to guess what, if anything, this means. It could perhaps represent a new wave of entrants to the market though as people come into Bitcoin and then chase the familiar-sounding forks that promise incremental upgrades relative to Bitcoin. It could also be that someone's working on deliberately engineering price pumps on prominent-yet-illiquid forks such as BTG and BCD in an effort to catch more of the money entering the space.
It's also clear to see that many of the biggest winning cryptocurrencies of last week enjoyed an early price rise compared to Bitcoin, around 11 January, which was then followed by a much larger surge around 15 January. This could indicate multiple waves of buyers entering the markets, consisting of front-runners and then a subsequent group chasing the previous rise.
If none of these theories seem especially compelling or well-substantiated, that might be because they aren't. But regardless of whether there's any kind of rhyme or reason behind these price movements, it's nice that some coins are making moves other than simply mirroring Bitcoin prices.
Disclosure: The author holds BNB and BTC at the time of writing.