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Diminishing returns: Is Bitcoin underperforming compared to altcoins?

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Diminishing returns: Is Bitcoin underperforming compared to altcoins?

The first half of 2021 in the crypto markets brought many comparisons to 2017. Bitcoin (BTC) was on a tear to its all-time high, the new frontier of decentralized finance emerged, and nonfungible tokens were gaining myriad celebrity endorsements. 

But after the initial months of euphoria and a subsequent sell-off, BTC’s performance has been far more lackluster. The recent market sell-off resulting from the Evergrande crisis has compounded fears. However, it can’t be ignored that many altcoins, particularly platform tokens, have undergone impressive runs and, in some cases, even bucked broader market trends. 

With hopes still high that another bull run is likely during this halving cycle, should BTC holders be worried that the flagship asset is underperforming? 

2021 by the numbers

Between January and reaching its all-time high (ATH) of nearly $65,000 in April, BTC posted gains of 113%. Based on current prices, the year-to-date (YTD) gains are around 45%. 

By comparison, Ether (ETH) gained 497% between January and its ATH in May, while its year-to-date rose over 300% despite taking a recent battering

However, even ETH’s impressive gains are nothing compared to rival platform tokens. Cardano (ADA) has posted a staggering YTD increase above 1,000% while barely yet supporting any real activity. Solana’s SOL has even dwarfed that figure by rising over 8,000% since January. This comes after dropping from its all-time high above $200. Honorable mentions go to Polygon (MATIC), Avalanche (AVAX) and Terra (LUNA), all of which have undergone impressive rallies in 2021. 

Stephen Gregory, CEO of Currency.com, told Cointelegraph:

“Generally, there is a lot of enthusiasm for Web 3.0, whether that’s powering the metaverse with ETH, or much faster transaction times with SOL, or whatever the future holds for ADA. People see holding layer-one protocols as strong value picks for the future. Investing in sound tech and following the momentum and progression of the asset class following real-world use cases seems to be prudent.”

Why are altcoins outperforming BTC? 

On the face of it, the numbers do indeed seem to indicate that BTC is underperforming compared to other coins. One factor that could explain this is the law of diminishing returns. BTC is the oldest asset and twice the age of Ether. Although Bitcoin has delivered eye-popping returns during its lifetime — making billionaires out of early adopters — is it possible that the flagship asset can continue to deliver three- or four-figure returns as it ages? Given that Bitcoin’s entire economic model is based around the principle of diminishing returns, with block rewards halving every four years or so, it seems plausible. 

Moreover, as Cointelegraph has previously reported, as more investors and institutions pile in, Bitcoin has begun to mirror other assets. We can note this effect in the dampening of Bitcoin’s volatility over time. 

Arguably, the only reason that markets continue to grow is that investors continually seek out new assets of value. Therefore, while BTC appears to be delivering lower returns, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that investors are interested in more volatile assets to profit from price movements. 

But that leads to other questions: Is there a risk of creating a self-fulfilling negative cycle from BTC? As investors look to other assets to earn large gains, will BTC inevitably become less attractive? 

Or, if we dare to imagine it, does the current appetite for platform tokens indicate that investors’ sentiment toward Bitcoin is gravitating to the “no intrinsic value” argument? After all, stronger fundamentals and potential for adoption is perhaps the one big selling point that platform tokens have over Bitcoin. 

Micha Benoliel, co-founder and CEO of decentralized Internet-of-Things network Nodle, believes that platform tokens have a bright future ahead, but perhaps not at the expense of BTC. He told Cointelegraph:

“I think the market is just beginning to understand the value of blockchain ecosystems and services. That’s why altcoins are performing so well. Bitcoin, which is more a store of value, is on its trajectory and is becoming a crypto asset class with less risk and for people with a long-term investment strategy.”

Is $100,000 Bitcoin still realistic?

From another angle, even if Bitcoin returns are diminishing compared to their historical highs, gains continue to outstrip other assets, such as stocks and gold, by far. At the current rate of diminishment, BTC will continue to deliver superior performance for quite some time to come. As such, it seems unlikely that an exodus is imminent. Daniele Bernardi, CEO of investing firm Diaman Group, told Cointelegraph:

“Of course, Bitcoin appears to be underperforming compared to small- and medium-cap coins in percentage terms. But don’t forget the large difference in capitalization. If BTC prices increase by 10%, it would raise the market cap by $80 billion. If Solana, for example, increases by 100%, the real value in market cap goes up by $40 billion. For this reason, I don’t think there’s any basis for doubting Bitcoin or its position as the market-leading asset.”

As far as the bull trajectory goes, it’s also worth noting that in 2017, Bitcoin gained 1,900% between January and December. However, until now in 2021, it’s only up around 450%. If prices do follow the same pattern, that will put us on track for a year-end BTC price of around $138,000. 

That estimate is eerily close to the $135,000 year-end price predicted by the stock-to-flow (S2F) model, which continues to be the most accurate forecast of Bitcoin prices. Indeed, August’s BTC closing price is, give or take, exactly as predicted by S2F creator PlanB back in June, and September’s could be on track to follow suit. 

Bitcoin stands firm

The numbers illustrate that BTC’s returns are indeed diminishing over time across consecutive bull cycles. But this shouldn’t be surprising to anyone, considering Bitcoin’s economic model. Michaël van de Poppe, Cointelegraph contributor and full-time trader, agrees, telling Cointelegraph: 

“Investors shouldn’t be worried. It’s actually a natural habit of the markets to slow down and have lengthening cycles. This is something we will see more often in the future and will actually open up the gates for more investors. The less Bitcoin will be swinging around with their performance and daily movements, the better as an asset in your portfolio.”

However, gradually decreasing returns should not detract from the fact that Bitcoin is, by any measure, delivering a healthy performance in line with even the most bullish forecasts. According to Igneus Terrenus, head of communications at Bybit, BTC is still by far the go-to coin for newcomers — institutions or individuals — entering the space. He told Cointelegraph:

“Bitcoin remains the best investment-grade crypto asset for institutional investors. And a relatively more stable ranging pattern may actually help Bitcoin’s case as an alternative to gold and add fuel to its long-term rise. When one zooms out to five years or 10 years — horizons familiar to whales and institutional investors — Bitcoin returns beat everything.”

It’s also impossible to say whether any of the recent platform token rallies would have happened if BTC had been languishing in long-term bear territory, as money tends to flow down from BTC. 

What’s more, the models show that there’s still every reason to believe in a year-end BTC price above six figures. Currency.com’s Gregory agreed despite the increasing demand for platform tokens. He told Cointelegraph, “BTC is outperforming the market but is currently being held back by macro market trends and events on Wall Street. However, historically, Q4 has been the strongest for BTC, and it is likely history repeats itself before the end of 2021.”

Nevertheless, while BTC is in no danger of losing its status as crypto’s flagship asset, soaring altcoins undeniably offer bigger opportunities right now for those who believe they can time the markets.

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Price analysis 10/15: BTC, ETH, BNB, ADA, XRP, SOL, DOT, DOGE, LUNA, UNI

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Price analysis 10/15: BTC, ETH, BNB, ADA, XRP, SOL, DOT, DOGE, LUNA, UNI

Bitcoin (BTC) rose within a few steps of $63,000 today for the first time since April 18. The recent surge in the price may have been caused after various documents pointed to the eventual approval of a futures-based BTC ETF by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. According to these documents, the regulator may be close to green lighting the application to list Valkyrie’s Bitcoin Strategy exchange-traded fund ETF for listing on Nasdaq. 

Analysts pointed out that gold’s price had risen sharply leading up to the launch of the first U.S.-based gold ETF in 2004. Thereafter, the rally continued and gold’s price rose more than 300% since the ETF was approved, before forming a major top. The similarity between gold and Bitcoin being stores of value appear to have generated huge excitement for the launch of a Bitcoin ETF.

Daily cryptocurrency market performance. Source: Coin360

Traders seem to have aggressively accumulated Bitcoin before the announcement of a Bitcoin ETF. The Bitcoin futures open interest in the Chicago Mercantile Exchange hit a new all-time high on Oct. 14, surpassing the previous high of $3.02 billion made on April 14.

Could Bitcoin break above the all-time high and continue its northward journey and will altcoins also join the party? Let’s study the charts of the top-10 cryptocurrencies to find out.

BTC/USDT

Bitcoin formed a Doji candlestick pattern on Oct. 14, indicating indecision among the bulls and the bears above the $58,000 level. This uncertainty resolved to the upside today and the rally has resumed.

BTC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

The 20-day exponential moving average ($52,868) is sloping up and the relative strength index (RSI) is in the overbought zone, suggesting that bulls are in control. However, the all-time high at $64,854 may prove to be a difficult hurdle to cross.

If the BTC/USDT pair turns down from this resistance, the first support to watch on the downside is the 20-day EMA. A strong rebound off this support will suggest that sentiment remains positive and traders are buying the dips.

That will increase the possibility of the resumption of the uptrend with the target at $75,000. The first sign of weakness will be a break and close below the 20-day EMA, which could result in a decline to the 50-day simple moving average ($48,514).

ETH/USDT

Ether (ETH) bounced off the 20-day EMA ($3,479) on Oct. 13 and broke above the neckline of the inverse head and shoulders (H&S) pattern on Oct. 14. This completed the bullish setup which has a target objective at $4,657.

ETH/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

Both moving averages are sloping up and the RSI has broken above the downtrend line, suggesting that bulls are back in control. The ETH/USDT pair could now rally to $4,027.88 and then retest the all-time high at $4,372.72.

Contrary to this assumption, if the price turns down from the current level or the overhead resistance and breaks below the neckline, it will suggest that bears continue to sell on rallies. The pair could then drop to the moving averages. A break and close below $3,257 will indicate that bulls may be losing their grip.

BNB/USDT

Binance Coin (BNB) broke and closed above the neckline on Oct. 13, completing an inverse H&S pattern. This bullish setup has a pattern target at $554.

BNB/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

The bears attempted to pull the price back below the breakout level but the long tail on the day’s candlestick indicates buying at lower levels. The moving averages have completed a bullish crossover and the RSI is in the positive zone, indicating that bulls have the upper hand.

If the price rises from the current level and breaks above $518.90, it will signal the resumption of the uptrend. The bears will have to pull and sustain the BNB/USDT pair below the moving averages to weaken the bullish momentum.

ADA/USDT

The bulls are attempting to push Cardano (ADA) back into the symmetrical triangle pattern but the bears are not relenting. They are defending the support line and the 20-day EMA ($2.21) with vigor.

ADA/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

If the price turns down from the current level and breaks below $2.07, the ADA/USDT pair could drop to $2 and next to $1.87. A breach below this important level may pull the pair down to the pattern target of $1.63

Alternatively, if bulls push and sustain the price above the 20-day EMA, the pair could rise to the resistance line of the triangle. A breakout and close above the triangle could clear the path for a rally to $2.47, followed by a move to $2.80.

XRP/USDT

XRP has been holding above the 20-day EMA ($1.08) for the past few days but the bulls have not been able to push the price to the overhead resistance at $1.24. This suggests a shortage of demand at higher levels.

XRP/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

If the price turns down and breaks below the 20-day EMA, the XRP/USDT pair could drop to $1. This level could again attract buyers but if they fail to push the price above $1.24, the bearish momentum could pick up and the slide could deepen to $0.85.

Conversely, if the price rises from the current level and breaks above $1.24, it will signal that the selling pressure may be easing. The pair could then rise to $1.41 and if bulls clear this barrier, the next stop could be $1.66.

SOL/USDT

The failure of the bears to sink Solana (SOL) below the 50-day SMA ($147) in the past few days indicates accumulation by the bulls. The buyers are currently attempting to sustain the price above the downtrend line.

SOL/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

If they succeed, the SOL/USDT pair could rise to the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement level at $177.80. This level may act as stiff resistance but if bulls overcome this hurdle, the pair may rally to $200 and then retest the all-time high at $216.

The first sign of weakness will be a break and close below the 50-day SMA. That could pull the price down to $116. This is an important level to keep an eye on because a break below it could intensify the selling.

DOT/USDT

Polkadot (DOT) skyrocketed and closed above the $38.77 overhead resistance on Oct. 13, suggesting that the consolidation has resolved in favor of the bulls.

DOT/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

The bears tried to pull the price back below $38.77 on Oct. 14 and today but failed. This shows that buyers are aggressively defending the breakout level. If bulls drive the price above $43.22, the DOT/USDT pair could retest the all-time high at $49.78.

If the price turns down from the current level and breaks below $38.77, the pair could drop to the 20-day EMA ($34.84). A strong bounce off this support will suggest that sentiment remains positive and traders are buying on dips.

Alternatively, if bears sink the price below the moving averages, the pair could drop to $25.50. Such a move will suggest that the breakout above $38.77 may have been a bull trap.

Related: CFTC slaps Tether and Bitfinex with a combined $42.5 million fine

DOGE/USDT

The bulls are struggling to sustain Dogecoin (DOGE) above the 20-day EMA ($0.23), which suggests that buying dries up at higher levels. A minor positive is that bulls have not allowed the price to sustain below $0.22.

DOGE/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

The 20-day EMA has flattened out and the RSI is just above the midpoint, suggesting a balance between supply and demand. This equilibrium will tilt in favor of the bears if the $0.21 support cracks. That may result in a decline to $0.19.

If the price turns up from the current level, the bulls will try to push the price to the downtrend line. A breakout and close above this level will suggest that the decline could be over. The DOGE/USDT pair may next rise to $0.32 and then to $0.35.

LUNA/USDT

Terra protocol’s LUNA token is finding support at the 50-day SMA ($36.24) for the past three days but the bulls have not been able to drive the price above the 20-day EMA ($38.86). This suggests that demand dries up at higher levels.

LUNA/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

The 20-day EMA is sloping down marginally and the RSI is just below the midpoint, indicating a minor advantage to bears. A break and close below the 50-day SMA could pull the price down to $32.50 and if this support cracks, the correction could deepen to $25.

Conversely, if bulls drive the price above the 20-day EMA, the LUNA/USDT pair could pick up momentum and advance to $45.01 where bears may again try to mount a stiff resistance. A retest of the all-time high at $49.54 is likely if bulls overcome this obstacle.

UNI/USDT

Uniswap (UNI) rose above the moving averages on Oct. 13 and reached the neckline of the inverse H&S pattern on Oct. 14. The bears are currently attempting to stall the recovery at the neckline.

UNI/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

The moving averages are on the verge of a bullish crossover and the RSI has climbed into the positive territory, indicating that bulls have the upper hand. If the price rebounds off the moving averages, the bulls will make one more attempt to propel the UNI/USDT pair above the neckline.

If they succeed, it will complete the inverse H&S setup, starting a possible rally to $31.41 and later to the pattern target at $36.98. This bullish view will invalidate if the price continues lower and breaks below $22. The pair could then drop to the strong support at $18.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.

Market data is provided by HitBTC exchange.

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Valve removes blockchain games, tells users not to publish content on crypto or NFTs

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Valve removes blockchain games, tells users not to publish content on crypto or NFTs

“Steam’s point of view is that items have value and they don’t allow items that can have real-world value on their platform,” claimed one game developer.

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Valve removes blockchain games, tells users not to publish content on crypto or NFTs

Video game corporation Valve has informed users no content related to cryptocurrencies or nonfungible tokens will be allowed through its Steam marketplace.

As reported by game developer SpacePirate on Oct. 14, Steam has updated its guidelines for what content creators are allowed to publish on the platform. According to Steam, no applications built on blockchain technology that “issue or allow exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs” are permitted in its onboarding process for partners. The rule appears alongside guidelines prohibiting hate speech, sexually explicit images, and libelous or defamatory statements.

Though the new guideline would seemingly ban all traditional games from including content on crypto or NFTs, it has also reportedly stopped blockchain game developers from publishing to the platform. SpacePirate said their Age of Rust game was being removed, with others likely to follow.

“Steam’s point of view is that items have value and they don’t allow items that can have real-world value on their platform,” said the developer. “While I respect their choice, I fundamentally believe that NFTs and blockchain games are the future.”

Related: The Metaverse, play-to-earn and the new economic model of gaming

The move could be financially disadvantageous to Valve as blockchain-based games grow in popularity. According to a recent report from DappRadar, unique active wallets connected to gaming decentralized applications reached a total of 754,000 for Q3 2021. Many blockchain games offer players the opportunity to earn real-world token rewards and trade in-game NFTs, providing a possible path to further crypto adoption.

However, Valve Corporation has previously targeted crypto and blockchain on its Steam marketplace. In 2018, the company removed a game that allegedly hijacked users’ computers to mine crypto. Valve originally announced it would accept Bitcoin (BTC) payments in 2016, but later stopped this practice, citing high fees and volatility.

Cointelegraph reached out to Valve, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

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Privacy-focused altcoins soar after Bitcoin’s ETF news sparks a market-wide rally

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Privacy-focused altcoins soar after Bitcoin’s ETF news sparks a market-wide rally

Traders and the market are showing extreme optimism on Oct. 15 after rumors and an assortment of documents suggest that the path toward a Bitcoin ETF approval has fewer obstacles lying ahead.

Following the positive news, the price of Bitcoin (BTC) rallied to nearly $63,000 for the first time since April and multiple altcoins saw their prices book triple-digit gains.

Top 7 coins with the highest 24-hour price change. Source: Cointelegraph Markets Pro

Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView shows that the biggest gainers over the past 24-hours were NuCypher (NU), Keep Network (KEEP) and Orchid (OXT).

NuCypher partners with Keep Network

NuCyper is a protocol focused on creating decentralized encryption, access control and key management system services for public blockchains by offering end-to-end encrypted data sharing and decentralized storage solutions.

Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView shows that after hitting a low of $0.283 in the early trading hours on Oct. 15, the price of new catapulted 535% to an intraday high at $1.80 as its 24-hour trading volume skyrocketed by 19,440% to $2.152 billion.

NU/USD 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

The surge in price and trading volume for NU come as the project helped facilitate the launch of tBTC v2 on the Keep Network with is designed to “extend the censorship-resistant properties of Bitcoin onto every network that can interoperate with Ethereum (ETH).

Censorship-resistance comes to the Ethereum network

Keep Network is a protocol designed to offer privacy-focused infrastructure on public blockchains through the creation of an incentivized network for storing and encrypting private data.

VORTECS™ data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro began to detect a bullish outlook for KEEP on Oct. 12, prior to the recent price rise.

The VORTECS™ Score, exclusive to Cointelegraph, is an algorithmic comparison of historical and current market conditions derived from a combination of data points including market sentiment, trading volume, recent price movements and Twitter activity.

VORTECS™ Score (green) vs. KEEP price. Source: Cointelegraph Markets Pro

As seen in the chart above, the VORTECS™ Score for KEEP began to pick up on Oct. 12 and climbed to a high of 75 and the price increased 585% over the next day.

The spike in momentum for KEEP came along with the spike in the price of NU as the two projects collaborated to release tBTC v2 on the Keep Network.

Related: BREAKING: Nasdaq listing hints that the SEC may soon approve ETF application from Valkyrie

Blockchain-based VPN service boosts Orchid price

Orchid is a cryptocurrency-powered virtual private network (VPN) that describes itself as “the world’s first incentivized, peer-to-peer privacy network.

VORTECS™ data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro began to detect a bullish outlook for OXT on Oct. 12, prior to the recent price rise.

VORTECS™ Score (green) vs. OXT price. Source: Cointelegraph Markets Pro

As seen in the chart above, the VORTECS™ Score for OXT climbed into the green zone on Oct. 12 and reached a high of 75 on Oct. 14, around 15 hours before its price spiked 82% over the next day.

A scroll through the project’s Twitter feed points to an increased focus on privacy concerns as the impetus behind Friday’s price surge, which lines up with the main goals of both Nu and KEEP suggesting that the sector of privacy-related projects could be starting to attract more attention.

The overall cryptocurrency market cap now stands at $2.482 trillion and Bitcoin’s dominance rate is 46.6%.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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