If one looks at the price of Bitcoin versus that of Ethereum, the former seems to be trouncing the newer, less widespread latter currency. The price of a single Bitcoin has been floating between about $2300 and roughly $3000 for several weeks, while Ethereum is hovering around $300 per token. But the massive discrepancy in price hides the fact that Ethereum's market capitalization is rapidly approaching Bitcoin's, and that calculation has some digital currency enthusiasts wondering if Ethereum is likely to oust Bitcoin as the top cryptocurrency in the near future.

Bitcoin's Market Cap Share Falls From 87% to 39%

Bitcoin's rapid ascent in price over the past few months, with values of a single coin nearly tripling since the beginning of the year, has come at the same time as the digital currency has seen its share of the combined market capitalization for all cryptocurrencies fall significantly. In late February of this year, Bitcoin accounted for 87% of the market capitalization for the cryptocurrency industry. Now, according to research by CoinMarketCap and presented by RT.com, Bitcoin has seen that figure fall to just 39%. Ethereum, on the other hand, previously accounted for more than 36% of the combined market cap of all digital currencies. That figure has also fallen into the middle of June, but only by about 5% in the past four months.

What does this mean? The market capitalization of the overall digital currency industry is growing incredibly quickly, as are the number of different digital currencies available. Bitcoin began as the biggest fish in the (smallish) pond, and as the field has become more crowded Bitcoin has seen its share of market cap dwindle. The fact that Ethereum has essentially maintained its position relative to the total market cap means that its own market cap is growing very quickly. Bitcoin's market cap is roughly $40 billion, while Ethereum's is over $32 billion.

Ethereum as Bitcoin's Biggest Rival

The discrepancy in market cap growth is what is prompting some to suggest that Ethereum is rapidly becoming Bitcoin's biggest rival for the top position within the cryptocurrency world. Ethereum has only been available for about two years, while Bitcoin has been on the market for closer to a decade. In fact, Bitcoin's age may be a hindrance rather than a help, as an ongoing debate about how to scale the Bitcoin network up in order to accommodate the rapidly growing pool of Bitcoin users and transactions has become incredibly heated. With Bitcoin still relying on much of its original code, other cryptocurrencies are able to take into account the pitfalls that Bitcoin has experienced when developing their own systems.

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