On Sunday, bitcoin rose sharply, passing the $8,400 mark for the first time since late March. Over the last 5 days, the digital currency has risen 20%.
While bitcoin fell back to $8,280 later in the day, it was still up nearly 5%, and it currently has a market value of around $140 billion. Bitcoin has further risen 30% since April 1.
Bitcoin’s rise has helped alternative digital currencies, with the total market for all cryptocurrencies rising 33% since Wednesday. This puts the total market value for cryptocurrencies — a market which did not exist a decade ago — at $336 billion.
All the top-ten cryptocurrencies gained on Sunday. Ether rose 6% to pass the $500 mark and reach $525.33. At the same time, Ripple rose 6.2% to $0.665, Litecoin went up 3.5% to $130.22, bitcoin cash climbed 5.4% to $771.32, IOTA moved up 18.2% to $1.61 and Stellar Lumens grew 15.5% to $0.286.
At the moment, 24 digital currencies have a market capitalization of at least $1 billion, and another 12 have market values in excess of $500 million.
A number of analysts believe that the significant rise this week of alternative cryptocurrencies indicate that a bull market for them is returning. At the end of the last year — when cryptocurrencies hit their height — alternative digital currencies represented almost 68% of the total market for the currencies, but this percentage fell to 55% at the beginning of this month. Now, alternative currencies represent about 58% of the total market. EOS, WanChain, OmiseGo and STORM are among the alternative currencies that have outperformed bitcoin this past week.
Some of have attributed the current upswing in cryptocurrencies to the approaching deadline for filing U.S. tax returns, which this year is April 17. These same people further believe that the upswing could continue to at least the deadline. In 2017, $590 billion in wealth was generated through trading cryptocurrencies, and U.S. traders are estimated to have accounted for 30% of that total. While many Americans likely saw sizable capital gains last year from cryptocurrencies — according to Credit Karma — less one hundred of their 250,000 tax return filers have reported cryptocurrency gains.
Others have attributed the recent rise in cryptocurrencies to increased trading in South Korea, as well as to a dearth of negative news relating to the currencies as of late.