Cryptocurrencies are now worth more than half a trillion dollars, marking yet another historic milestone in what has already been a year of unprecedented growth for the crypto ecosystem.
Cryptocurrency Market Cap Hits $500 Billion
Since beginning the year at less than $18 billion, the cryptocurrency market cap has exploded to a 2,700 percent gain, and the bulk of that advance has occurred since mid-November when the markets crossed the $200 billion level for the first time.
As a matter of fact, the cryptocurrency market cap had attained the $400 billion mark just six days ago, but its meteoric rise continued during the second week of December. Against this backdrop, the crypto market cap raced past the $500 billion threshold on Tuesday evening at approximately 22:00 UTC.
Altcoins Headline the Advance
Tuesday’s rally was the product of comprehensive market advance. Of the 25 largest cryptocurrencies by market cap, 17 posted single-day gains in excess of 10 percent against the dollar, and eight rose at least 20 percent.
The day’s most impressive returns did not come from bitcoin, although the crypto patriarch did post a day-over-day increase of four percent. Rather, they came from ethereum, litecoin, and ripple — three altcoin heavyweights that had climbed throughout the year but had been unable to prevent bitcoin from eating into their market shares during the fourth quarter.
Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency, rose 24 percent to $634, while Litecoin capped its breakneck rally with a single-day advance of 43 percent that brought its price to a present value of $325.
But while these two coins garnered most of the attention, fifth-ranked ripple quietly mounted a 57% surge, which constituted the best performance of any top 100 coin or token.
The Road to $1 Trillion
There are few people who could have predicted the course that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies would take in 2017. Last year, for instance, Saxo Bank made the “outrageous prediction” that the bitcoin price would rise as high as $2,100 before 2018.
Now — just one year later — a Saxo strategist believes $100,000 is a “prudent” price target for the next six to 18 months — a mark that would raise bitcoin’s market cap above $1.5 trillion and most likely place the total cryptocurrency market cap well above the $2 trillion mark.
Taking a step back, it’s difficult for many long-term cryptocurrency investors to fathom that a $1 trillion market cap is actually within reach. But while we celebrate the achievement, it’s also important to recognize the obstacles that still await the nascent ecosystem and prepare for the journey that lies ahead.
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