Several altcoins notched notable gains this week, providing a stark contrast to the relative stagnation of bitcoin prices.
Cardano and stellar, some of the better-known alternative protocol assets, rose 17.1% and 23% during the seven-day period through roughly 09:00 UTC today, CoinMarketCap data shows.
Some lesser-known altcoins, for example KuCoin, experienced more robust returns, with this particular digital asset rising nearly 35%, additional CoinMarketCap figures reveal.
Bitcoin, on the other hand, provided a relatively flat performance, spending the week between $3,800 and $4,000.
[Ed note: Investing in cryptocoins or tokens is highly speculative and the market is largely unregulated. Anyone considering it should be prepared to lose their entire investment.]
This stark contrast fits in with a broader narrative, as certain altcoins have been separating from the broader market and charting their own path.
He emphasized in the last six weeks, lesser-known digital currencies have driven the cryptocurrency market’s gains.
“Most of the ‘legacy’ large-cap tokens have been stagnant compared to the new up and comers in crypto, as 12 of the top 100 tokens by market cap rallied 20% or more last week, and only 1 was in the top 10 (Binance Coin — BNB).”
The Next Big Thing
As for why investors have been flocking to small-cap cryptocurrencies, it could simply be that they are looking for the next digital asset that will deliver compelling returns.
Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst for social trading platform eToro, recently stated that as bitcoin stagnates and altcoins spike, it seems we have entered a so-called alt season.
“Global volume across crypto exchanges is holding steady at around $30 billion per day, yet bitcoin’s volume is less than a third of that figure,” he wrote in Monday’s newsletter.
“Sure, bitcoin exchange volumes are still about double what they were in early February, but some coins like Litecoin, EOS, and BNB have more than tripled their daily volumes in the same time frame,” said Greenspan.
“As most coins are traded against BTC, with bitcoin being the base currency for most altcoins, the fact that volumes are down is very telling of the current market environment.”
A New Era
Digital currency markets may be entering a whole new era, where individual cryptocurrencies don’t move in tandem as much as they have in the past.
For more than a year, digital assets have endured a harsh bear market, causing them to suffer sharp losses.
While these cryptocurrencies crashed together, any recovery they experience may be rather uneven.
In fact, some of these digital tokens may never make up for the value they lost, noted Dorman.
“We may never see an official end to the ‘crypto winter,’ as many tokens that have traded down should stay down and probably will never recover.”
“Instead, I think we will see a renaissance where some select tokens start to gain real adoption,” “and other new entrants come into the picture that displace existing tokens that never gained traction.”
Disclosure: I own some bitcoin, bitcoin cash and ether.
This article originally appeared on Forbes