Why is Bitcoin dragging other cryptocurrencies higher?

The price of bitcoin has peaked to over $35,000 in the past 24 hours

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Pushish Images/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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The price of bitcoin has peaked to over $35,000 in the past 24 hours — upwards of a 13% rally on the expectation that bitcoin ETFs would be approved in the US.

At the time of publication, the price of the asset is sitting at roughly $33,000. Bitcoin is not alone in seeing its value rally, however, with the broader cryptocurrency market also benefiting from the price action. 

Between Oct. 16 and Oct. 24, Bitcoin’s market capitalization increased from $500 billion to $650 billion, Luke Nolan, a research associate for CoinShares, told Blockworks. In this same time frame, the crypto industry has seen its aggregate market cap increase by $180 billion, from $1.039 trillion to $1.219 trillion.

“This implies that approx. $540 [billion] of market cap has flown to the broader crypto market. Much like the saying a rising tide lifts all boats, it is extraordinarily rare to see Bitcoin move on its own,” Nolan said. 

Read more: Is bitcoin’s ETF-fueled rally to $35K premature? Well, maybe

Nolan notes that Bitcoin’s dominance has increased significantly between Oct. 15 and Oct. 24, from 50.5% to 53.9%, and other cryptocurrencies have since benefited from its price appreciation. 

Drawing comparisons between the S&P 500, Nolan explains that a general takeaway could be that Bitcoin represents the “health” of the wider crypto market, similar to how stocks often perform well when the S&P 500 is trending upwards, even if the stock itself is not part of the S&P.

“A more technical reason that contributes to this is the fact that it is very common to have altcoins on exchanges paired to bitcoin [BTC]. And so, when BTC prices increase, trading volumes increase across the board as traders flow into altcoins using these pairs,” he said. “This is a bit more nuanced than the above explanation, but the denomination of coins in BTC means that they generally move positively together.”

Read more: $325 million in shorts liquidated amid crypto-wide market rally

Peter Mitchell, co-founder of SEDA Protocol, shares a more optimistic view. Mitchell notes that the general price action is reflected in the advancement of cryptocurrency infrastructure. 

“The recent price trend could be a result of continued interest from existing players as well as from new stakeholders looking to join the crypto ecosystem,” Mitchell said. “The technology we’ve been diligently working on in the past few years is now producing new use cases that generate a sufficient foundation to draw users back into the crypto world and set us up for long-term success.”

Bitcoin’s relationship with traditional finance assets

Bitcoin does not have a direct impact on traditional finance assets, though it does impact companies that have blockchain and cryptocurrency exposure, Nolan said. For example, Coinbase has seen its share soar by 7% in the past 24 hours. 

There is also a correlation between the price of Bitcoin and gold. Drawing on perspective from Blackrock CEO Larry Fink, Nolan shares that it is possible that the increasingly tense geopolitical environment and broader political risks, have resulted in Bitcoin performing similarly to gold. 

Read more: AllianceBernstein calls bitcoin a ‘safe haven asset,’ more attractive than gold

“If investors increasingly view it as an asset that does not follow traditional markets, it can cement this status and present itself as a viable investment during times of geopolitical risk or broad market uncertainty,” he said. 

Nolan also notes that Bitcoin’s relationship with traditional finance markets has historically been ebbs and flows.

“I personally have little faith that this negative correlation will remain for the foreseeable future,” Nolan said. 


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