Crypto coins are a beast of its own. Attempts have been made to classify Bitcoin and other peer-to-peer decentralized Crypto coins into one asset class or the other. Some analysts (and alongside them, a number of online trading platforms) believe Crypto coins should be seen as part of the Forex market. Others would like to see Bitcoin and Alt coins as a tangible asset and part of the precious metals market. Neither of these attempts are convincing though. The truth is that, while having some similarities with others, Crypto coins are an asset class of their own.
With other coins beyond the original Bitcoin establishing themselves firmly in the overall market and gaining increasingly significant market share, the argument for seeing Crypto coins as an entire “asset class” becomes more convincing by the week. Besides Bitcoin itself, circulating since early 2009, other peer-to-peer Crypto coins have appeared. The first to follow was Litecoin (ticker: LTC) launched in 2010 and improving on a number of Bitcoins experimental features; most importantly faster confirmation (total transaction) time, a better block size capable of processing a sufficiently high number of transactions, lower energy consumption, and a dedicated and publicly known development team and lead developer. Similar things can also be said about DASH, the innovative and privacy-conscious digital cash (ticker: DASH), Z-Cash (ticker: ZEC), Ethereum (ticker: ETH), Monero (XMR), or Ethereum Classic (ticker: ETC) — all of which have gained significant market share and range from around $300m to $4bn in market capitalization. This is additional to Bitcoin itself (ticker: BTC) which has a market capitalization of over $19bn at the time of writing.
While these market capitalization figures vary widely for specific coins in the top-15 of today’s peer-to-peer decentralized Crypto coins (or simply that new “Bitcoin world”), the most significant aspect is that the overall capitalization of those top-15 Crypto coins is a combined $27.5 billion, and counting. (This figure of the top-15 Crypto coins is up from roughly $7.8bn year-on-year.)
Ripple as a rather proprietary and not truly decentralized token with its $1.2bn market value is not even included in this figure because, unlike the other Alt coins above, Ripple does not really count as a “Bitcoin flavor”. (It remains to be seen if Vitalik Buterin’s policies for Ethereum will lead ETH in a similar direction and exclusion from “real” Crypto coins.)
With Bitcoin (BTC) having increased in price for most of the current year and currently trading above $1250, price gains of all the other coins are even more impressive as they clearly do not come from movements between Bitcoin and other Crypto coins but rather from an influx of new money into the Crypto coin asset class.
This includes current demand from investors following more conventional investment styles and accompanying newsletters. It appears to be time for them to jump on the Crypto coin bandwagon in order to profit from possible price gains as this overall asset class evolves and matures. The resulting increase in demand for at least the ten or twenty top-tier Crypto coins has resulted in significant price gains against all fiat currencies like dollars, pounds or euros over the last weeks and months.
Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum (ETH), and DASH (DASH) have seen the highest price increases while proving to be most stable and not as extremely volatile as some other smaller-cap Crypto coins.
Additional fundamental factors for these coins are adding to market expectations of further price increases as these coins are set to fill an increasing number of market niches opening for coins with special features going beyond Bitcoin’s original abilities and uses.