Bitcoin is on an upward trajectory once again. 

In the last 24 hours, the original cryptocurrency’s price has increased by 10%. Since December 30, when it touched a low of $12,307.71, bitcoin’s price is up by 30%. At 14:35 UTC, the price of a single bitcoin was $16,004.87, up by 5.61% from a day earlier. Bitcoin’s ascent this time around has been relatively measured as compared to the sudden run-ups in its price at the end of 2017. 

Instead, cryptocurrency traders have shifted their attention and funds to altcoins. The corresponding price volatility, once a bitcoin feature, has also moved to the new venue.  

Ripple, a cryptocurrency that shot up by an astounding 35,000 percent last year, is paring back some of those gains. (See also: Ripple Is Back. Here's Why.) The world’s second-most valuable cryptocurrency fell from a record high of $3.84 at 12:59 UTC yesterday to $3.23 at 14:28 UTC this afternoon. But that figure still represents an increase of 71.2% from its price a week ago.

Ethereum had ceded its spot as the second-most traded cryptocurrency to Ripple last year, but is inching closer to its rival again. At 15:17 UTC, it was trading at $1,025.41, up by 2% from 24 hours ago, and had a market cap of $99.2 billion. Yesterday, the difference in valuation between the two currencies was more than $40 billion.    

Three other cryptocurrencies, which racked up substantial gains in the last week, also shed prices. Cardano, a four-month-old cryptocurrency that was up by 116.6% in the last week, fell by 14%. Stellar registered declines of 17.2% after shooting up 106% in the last two days. Finally, NEM was down by 9.74%. The overall market capitalization for cryptocurrencies was $776 billion, up by approximately 2% from a day earlier. 

Let’s Talk About Ripple     

Bitcoin’s price increase has come amid chatter about more government regulations (this time in Australia) and a switch away from the cryptocurrency by criminals.

But it is Ripple that has commanded attention in the last couple of days. More specifically, its price rise has baffled commentators. This is because it is Ripple’s core technology, which consists of a payment network to enable cross-border transactions, that is being tested by banks. It may be possible that traders are betting that XRP will gain traction after the payment network gains traction. But banks have not committed to using or adopting XRP, which was anyway added to prevent “network spam” several years after the network, for such transactions.

The fact that Ripple’s founders own more than 60 percent of the cryptocurrency’s tokens has provided further fuel to charges that Ripple’s price increase may be a bubble. (See also: Why Some Claim Ripple Isn't A Real Cryptocurrency). 

Investing in cryptocurrencies and other Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”) is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or other ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns 0.001 bitcoin.

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