Price rallies for cryptocurrencies besides bitcoin (BTC) has helped push the digital-asset industry’s total market capitalization to about $2 trillion, doubling in just a few months.
These “alternative cryptocurrencies,” also known as altcoins, include ether (ETH) along with the likes of bittorrent (BTT), xrp (XRP), tron (TRX) and stellar (XLM). They have all logged double-digit percentage growth in the past 24 hours, according to data from Messari.
Prices for bitcoin have doubled this year, for a market value of $1.1 trillion, but the rally has paused in recent weeks, allowing altcoins to seize the market leadership. Bitcoin’s market dominance, or its share of the overall industry capitalization, has slid to about 57%, from around 73% at the start of the year, according to TradingView.
Ether, the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain and the second-biggest overall, recorded an all-time high near $2,100 last week. The digital asset has benefited from speculation that the Ethereum blockchain could see growing use as the network of choice for decentralized finance, or DeFi, consisting of automated, blockchain-based software protocols that might someday replace banks and Wall Street trading firms.
Galen Moore, CoinDesk Research’s director of data and indexes, wrote in an analysis that the outstanding performance during the latest “altcoin season” has come from digital tokens belonging to so-called smart-contract platforms that could compete with Ethereum or complement it.
These alternative blockchains also have benefited from increased usage of stablecoins, which are digital tokens whose value is pegged to real-world currencies, primarily the U.S. dollar.
“I feel like the real value and application of stablecoin, decentralized finance on Tron, and BitTorrent has been identified,” Justin Sun, the founder of the Tron blockchain and CEO of BitTorrent, told CoinDesk via a WeChat message.
As of 16:50 coordinated universal time (12:50 p.m. ET), the 9,115 cryptocurrencies tracked by the website CoinMarketCap.com, had a combined market value of $1.996 trillion, up about 2.6% over the past 24 hours.
Daily transaction counts on Tron have been consistently surpassing the transactions on Ethereum, according to data from CoinDesk and CoinMetrics. The number of tether stablecoin transactions on the Tron blockchain also has beaten Ethereum’s count, as CoinDesk reported.
Yet for Ethereum, the success has come at a cost: the network’s popularity has resulted in congestion, driving up transactional rates known as “gas fees.”
“The competition between public blockchains is a good thing,” Tron’s Sun said. “It is true that it is nearly impossible to launch new projects on Ethereum because no one want to use projects that come with hundreds of dollars of mining cost at a slow…