While the price of Bitcoin is going through the roof – soaring past $15,000 today (Thursday) – other digital currencies, or ‘altcoins’, are falling.
Etherium, Dash, Ripple and Litecoin are in steady decline, even as Bitcoin (BTC) reaches prices some experts regard as sheer lunacy – and heading for a crash.
Etherium is currently trading at $408, down from $506 on 29 November, a drop of 24% – but having recovered from a fall below the critical $300 mark at the beginning of November.
Ripple is at $0.21, down from $0.28 on 28 November, a fall of 33%; Dash is at $636, down from $686 pm 28 November, a drop of nearly 8%; Litecoin is at $95, down from $103 on 4 December, a fall of 8.5%.
Selling to buy Bitcoin
So why are these alternative digital currencies falling, while Bitcoin has risen by more than 1,000% since the start of 2017 – rather than riding on its shoulders?
Analyst JP Buntinx, writing on specialist crypto and tech news site themerkle.com, says “Altcoins are bleeding value left, right, and centre right now”.
“It is evident there are plenty of people selling Ethereum in favour of Bitcoin,” said Buntinx. “This course of action is set to reverse sooner or later, though.
“The bigger question is how long this trend will last overall. Right now, it is evident Bitcoin’s run is far from done, as a new all-time high is seemingly being set every few hours.
“At the same time, the Ethereum price has continued to go down accordingly, especially in BTC terms… Sadly for them, most altcoins will continue to bleed for some time to come.”
Vlad Smerkis, writing in cointelegraph.com, agrees that speculators are moving out of etherium and other altcoins into Bitcoin to ride the wave.
“Bitcoin is growing as altcoins are going down and many players are shifting to the growing asset, which results in the continuous growth of Bitcoin,” he says.
“The ethereum price continues to go down, while the whole market, and especially the speculators, are giving all their attention to BTC/USD.”
He cites one reason for the huge Bitcoin surge as being the rumours that China will soon lift its ban on cryptocurrency sales.