BTC Revives, ETH Reclaims Second Place – Crypto New Year

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2019 with Bitcoin logo inside zero

Although the Grinch stole Christmas from the crypto crew, the New Year has been a much happier affair. Thanks to some positive news regarding Bakkt and Ethereum’s Constantinople hard fork, the market saw a slight recovery.

Even though the previous week wasn’t great for the traditional stock market, cryptos showed resilience. The total market cap grew by $3.8 billion, reaching $133.3 billion on January 3. The majority of cryptocurrencies have been trading with low volatility during that time.

Total market cap chart, December 26 – January 03. Source: CoinMarketCap

A happy crypto New Year to all!

Bitcoin (BTC) led the way, growing from $3,770 on December 26 to $3,900 on January 3, 2019.

Bitcoin (BTC) price chart, December 26 – January 03. Source: CoinMarketCap

However, the real winner was Ethereum (ETH), which finally retook second position in terms of market capitalization. The crypto surged by 17 percent in anticipation of its Constantinople upgrade. It passed the $150 level and pushed Ripple down to third place.

Ethereum (ETH) price chart, December 26 – January 03. Source: CoinMarketCap

On the other hand, Ripple (XRP) missed the crypto New Year rush and remained around $0.37. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) also saw a slight increase of 2.6 percent and is currently trading at $170. Litecoin experienced more moderate growth, improving its value by 7 percent to reach $33.10.

Litecoin (LTC) price chart, December 26 – January 03. Source: CoinMarketCap

After falling for several weeks, Bitcoin’s mining difficulty increased with the arrival of the crypto New Year. According to data from Blockchain.com, BTC’s mining difficulty grew by 10 percent on January 2, 2019.

Bitcoin (BTC) mining difficulty. Source: Blockchain.com

Bitcoin’s hash rate also increased by 4.4 percent from 39.853 EH/s to 41.615 EH/s.

Bitcoin (BTC) mining hash rate power. Source: Blockchain.com

Did Bakkt and Novogratz push the market forward?

The arrival of 2019 marked an unsteady few days in traditional stock markets. There was a large points deduction amid futures selloffs. However, on January 1, 2019, most of the major stock exchanges, including the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq, recovered their index rates. Despite this chaotic movement in traditional markets, crypto managed to rise above and enter 2019 in the green.

Several pieces of positive news helped the crypto New Year off to a bright start. Bakkt announced that on December 31, it had managed to secure $182.5 million worth of funds. Major backers include Boston Consulting Group, Galaxy Digital, Intercontinental Exchange, Microsoft’s M12, and eight others. Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler reiterated the organization’s goals:

…we are focused on opportunities to provide new infrastructure, including the industry’s first institutional grade regulated exchange, clearing and warehousing services for physical delivery and storage.

Michael Novogratz also helped the crypto New Year recovery. He did this by making an additional $5 million investment in his venture fund, Galaxy Digital Holdings. With the company’s 7.5 million ordinary shares purchased, this additional funding is primarily to counter last year’s $76 million loss. As a result, the value of the company’s stock rose by 31.3 percent on January 2.

Ethereum wins its position back

Although the date has been pushed back several times, it seems Ethereum’s Constantinople hard fork will occur soon. According to several analysts, anticipation of Constantinople seems to have sparked ETH’s price recovery. Constantinople is set to take place on January 16 and will reduce ETH’s block size from three to two.

Economist Alex Krüger said the upcoming fork will help the crypto rise above the competition in the long run.

…once mining is past the initial (painful) adjustment period, less mining supply mined by fewer miners will be decidedly bullish.

With the Nasdaq’s Bitcoin futures and Ethereum’s Constantinople incoming, many believe digital currencies will recover in 2019. The start certainly looks promising, with most major cryptos spreading the New Year cheer.

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