Bitcoin values continue to hold steady in spite of rival coin ethereum gaining ground following months of declines.
Shortly after reaching its 2019 high of about $12,200 (£9,750) in August, bitcoin quickly slumped below $10,000 (£7,980) and has been trading a few hundred dollars above or below the mark ever since, reports ranking site CoinMarketCap.
As of 10.30am today UK time, the virtual coin was trading at $10,200 (£8,150), some $300 (£240) up on yesterday’s high, the ranking site notes.
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Bitcoin’s movements often send waves through the market and typically bolster - or weaken - the values of its rivals.
However, ethereum, which sits second in the cryptocurrency market rankings behind bitcoin, has bucked the trend as prices have gradually climbed over the past two weeks.
The virtual currency’s 2019 peak of $350 (£280) per coin in late June was followed by sharp declines that saw prices tumble to lows of $168 (£134) by the end of August, CoinMarketCap notes. But values have since gained traction, driving prices to today’s value of $218 (£174).
What’s driving ethereum’s gains?
As is often the case with the cryptocurrency market, there’s no consensus on why ethereum is making up for lost ground.
According to NewsBTC, analysts believe that “improving fundamentals”, such as upgrades to the ethereum platform, are behind the surge in values.
Some experts, however, claim that the digital currency is being “accumulated by investors”, the news site says. When investors buy cryptocurrency in vast quantities, it often spurs on others to up their stash.
In a series of tweets, cryptocurrency analysis firm Santiment said there were a number of signs that ethereum investor activity was ramping up.
These include the virtual coin’s “token circulation” - the amount of coins available for purchase - has continued to decline over the past five months, as well as an increase in the number of investors holding in excess of 10,000 coins, the company said.
So what’s next for bitcoin?
While ethereum appears to be heading on a bull run, bitcoin’s immediate future looks bearish.
CoinDesk claims that bitcoin needs to surpass and maintain a position “above $10,458” (£8,350) to “negate the immediate bearish case”, while a drop below $9,450 (£7,545) could send prices down further.
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