Cryptocurrency Mania Goes Beyond Bitcoin as Altcoins Lead Gains
(Bloomberg) -- Think bitcoin’s surge of more than 30 percent in the last week is impressive? Check out what some of its cousins are up to.
The market capitalization of digital currencies has soared over 50 percent to more than $90 billion in the past seven days as the frenzy around cryptocurrencies reaches a fever pitch. Demand is swelling as more companies embrace the technology backing the method of exchange and some investors see it as a haven from political uncertainty across the globe.
Numerous alternative cryptocurrencies, or "altcoins," have emerged since bitcoin broke into public consciousness in 2013. Companies can sell new tokens through initial coin offerings, or ICOs. Ether, a digital currency linked to the Ethereum blockchain, has more than doubled its worth in the last week and is currently the second most valuable cryptocurrency, behind bitcoin. The value of zcash, the cryptocurrency that announced a partnership with JPMorgan Chase & Co. on Monday, has grown by nearly 200 percent.
Bitcoin’s slice of the pie has shrunk recently as its peers have gained share. It now dominates about 45 percent of the overall digital currency market, down from around 85 percent in February, according to data from CoinMarketCap.com. Meanwhile, Ethereum’s share has increased to more than 20 percent from 7 percent in February.