The combined market capitalizations of all cryptocurrencies hit a new all-time of $600 billion yesterday, December 18, according to market value data from coinmarketcap.com. To give you a better idea of just how much money that represents, earlier this year Google’s parent company, Alphabet, surpassed the $600 billion mark – becoming just the second company in history to do so.
The fact that cryptocurrencies as a whole have grown so much is even more astounding when considering the fact that just a month ago the sector was worth about $232 billion. In fact, the cryptocurrency market topped $500 billion less than a week ago.
At the moment, only three major corporations have market capitalizations that exceed the global cryptocurrency market: Apple with $873 billion, Alphabet with $716 billion, and Microsoft with $640 billion.
At this rate, a lot of cryptocurrency enthusiasts wouldn’t be surprised if the market value of all cryptocurrencies combined surpasses all three of those in just a matter of weeks. The sheer amount of growth that we’ve seen in the closing months of 2017 is unprecedented.
It seems like no matter how you look at it, this has been a tremendous year for cryptocurrencies – despite the nonstop anti-crypto chatter coming from the usual financial sector critics.
And it’s not just Bitcoin (BTC) that’s carrying the weight of the cryptocurrency market’s meteoric rise, there are a ton of strong digital coins out there that have been growing in value and becoming viable competitors to everyone’s go-to crypto-coin.
Top Coins like Ethereum (ETH) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Leading the Way
Bitcoin (BTC) obviously leads the pack when it comes to total market capitalization, with its value sitting just above $301 billion at the time of writing. The next closest in the ranking, Ethereum (ETH), is pretty far behind with just $80 billion in market value.
Bitcoin (BTC) itself has only grown by about four percent in value this week, but other top-ranked digital currencies have had pretty impressive rallies during the same period: Ethereum (ETH) is up by 44 percent, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has jumped by 51 percent, and Ripple (XRP) is up a whopping 188 percent.
Bitcoin (BTC) Futures Playing a Part
Most cryptocurrency analysts attribute the past week’s unbelievable gains to the launch of bitcoin futures contracts, which has been garnering a lot of buzz leading up to its introduction – which was just yesterday (Monday).
Bitcoin futures contracts are now officially listed on CME Group, which is the second-biggest options exchange on the market. According to Bloomberg, CME bitcoin futures saw about $35 million in trades on its first day in action – completing over 370 contracts.
As of yesterday, Bitcoin futures are also available to trade on Cboe, which is the largest options exchange out there with a market capitalization of about $51.4 billion. Even though Cboe is the more robust exchange, CME managed to process 45 percent more traders on the first day that bitcoin futures did.
These futures contracts are only a tiny fraction of the billions of dollars’ worth of bitcoin trades that take place every day, but the addition of the new type of investment instrument is a big event either way. The fact that bitcoin futures have been introduced means that the bitcoin market is now open to a population of investors that weren’t really accessing thee worldwide bitcoin exchange market until now.