Bitcoin’s dominance of the cryptocurrency market is at its lowest level ever

Key Points
  • Bitcoin's dominance of the entire cryptocurrency market is at its lowest level ever.
  • Bitcoin hit a record high of $19,783.21 in December before plunging, but still rallied by over 1,300 percent in 2017.
  • The fall in bitcoin's supremacy is due to the rise of other cryptocurrencies such as ethereum and ripple.
Bitcoin is off to a rough start in 2018

Bitcoin's dominance of the cryptocurrency market is at its lowest level ever thanks to rising interest in alternative digital coins.

On Tuesday, its market cap was $231.8 billion, or around 36.1 percent of the total value of all cryptocurrencies. This is the lowest share of the market that bitcoin has had in its history.

Bitcoin's previous low was 37.6 percent in June. By contrast, at the start of 2017, its market share stood at over 80 percent.

Dominance refers to the percentage a single virtual currency has of the market capitalization or value of every cryptocurrency in the world. The total market capitalization of the entire cryptocurrency world stood at $640.4 billion on Tuesday, according to data from

Bitcoin rallied by more than 1,300 percent in 2017. In December, it hit a record high of $19,783.21 before a sharp sell-off saw it plunge, closing the year at $13,889.99, according to CoinDesk's bitcoin price index, which tracks prices from digital currency exchanges Bitstamp, Coinbase, itBit and Bitfinex.

The decline of bitcoin's dominance, which on Dec. 1 stood at around 55 percent, is due to the pullback in price, but also rising interest in other cryptocurrencies such as ethereum, ripple and litecoin.

On Dec. 1, for example, ripple's value stood at around 3 percent of the entire market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies. On Tuesday, it was over 14 percent. Ripple's price rose over 36,000 percent in 2017 and it is now the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap.

Investors appear to be taking a breather from bitcoin for now and looking at alternative cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin has divided the financial and business world. Last year, J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon famously called bitcoin a "fraud." And last week, The Gartman Letter editor and publisher Dennis Gartman told CNBC that bitcoin would trade under $5,000.

But many in the industry are also bullish on the cryptocurrency. Dave Chapman, managing director at cryptocurrency trading firm Octagon Strategy, sees the price of bitcoin exceeding $100,000 before the end of 2018.

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