Since 10 December, the cryptocurrency market cap has soared by $160 billion, or 36 per cent, to reach a new all-time high just above $600 billion.
Last week, the cryptocurrency market cap rose to $440 billion after CBOE launched the first regulated bitcoin futures. That represented a seven-day gain of $100 billion—an astonishing feat—but the rapidity of this week’s rally has been even more meteoric.
The introduction of bitcoin futures contracts on regulated US exchanges CBOE and CME has, as expected, facilitated a comprehensive market rally, even as the futures products have been thinly-traded relative to the global cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Although bitcoin led the rally for much of the week, it was altcoins that carried the cryptocurrency market cap across the historic threshold. As of Monday morning, there were 29 cryptocurrencies with individual market caps exceeding $1 billion; on January 1, there was one.
At its present level, the cryptocurrency ecosystem is more valuable than Amazon. Like cryptocurrencies, the $568 billion tech giant has experienced a remarkable year-to-date rally, although its 60 percent advance has been eclipsed by the 3,400 percent explosion boasted by the cryptocurrency market cap.
Lest one attempt to downplay this achievement by remarking that Amazon is just one company, while cryptocurrencies represent an entire asset class, remember that—just six months ago—critics circulated this chart as evidence that cryptocurrency’s role in the economy had been overstated.
While cryptocurrency—and bitcoin in particular—still represents a very small percentage of the global money supply, its economic status is rapidly swelling. Bitcoin is currently the world’s 14th most-valuable liquid currency, as measured by notes in circulation and bank deposits, and cryptocurrencies as a whole would rank 11th.
If the bull market continues, it would not be at all surprising if the cryptocurrency ecosystem hits the $1 trillion mark before Apple, whose $893 billion market cap makes it the world’s most valuable company, can accomplish the same feat.