If you were around in the crypto markets in 2017, you likely know the altcoin ICON (ICX). Two years ago, this cryptocurrency was literally all the rage, with many calling ICON the “Ethereum of Korea” amongst other optimistic titles.
At the time, this made sense. The cryptocurrency had embarked on a parabolic run that made other altcoins pale in comparison. Also, you had individuals like the chief executive of prominent blockchain venture fund Dan Morehead, purportedly remarking that ICX was its biggest altcoin position in an interview with Bloomberg.
Related Reading: Altcoin Volatility Rising, But Alt Season Won’t Arrive Until Bitcoin Volume Returns
Near the peak of the altcoin bull run, ICX had rallied to an all-time high of $12.22 — 11,100% higher than its initial coin offering price of $0.11. What’s crazy is that some individuals expected for the cryptocurrency to continue to gain traction, with this writer recalling that some investors hoped ICON would surpass altcoin incumbents Ethereum and XRP.
Though, much has changed since then. In fact, as noted by a partner at Doggie Tail Crypto Capital, Spencer Noon, ICX has just completed “a full round trip back to its ICO price after its 111x gains.” This means that “$10,000 invested in the ICO would have been worth $1m+ at ATHs and today it’s right back at your cost basis.” Ouch.
Hard to believe this but today ICON $ICX completed a full round trip back to its ICO price after 111x gains:
• ICO price: $0.11
• ATH: $12.22 (1/9/18)
• Today: $0.11
— Spencer Noon (@spencernoon) November 26, 2019
This highlights a much larger trend in the crypto market: altcoins, despite technological developments, have widely been underperforming Bitcoin. By large, large margins that is. In fact, Bitcoin dominance — the percentage of the cryptocurrency market that is made up of BTC — is now at 66%, up from the 33% seen at the altcoin peak of 2018.
To put this in some perspective, Ethereum is trading at $150 as of the time of writing this, which is nearly 90% shy of its $1,400 peak seen in the last bull market; Bitcoin, on the other hand, is at $7,200, which is a relatively mere 60-odd percent below its all-time high of $20,000.
Altcoin Collapse is For Good Reason
According to Willy Woo, a partner at Adaptive Capital and a prominent cryptocurrency analyst, the collapse in altcoins is for good reason. He recently noted that out of the 4,978 altcoins listed on CoinMarketCap (there are many more, by the way), a mere 40 of the top crypto assets provide investors with enough liquidity to be considered “good investments.”
Coinmarketcap lists 4978 coins. Here’s the top 50 by volume. Below the top 40 doesn’t even register i.e. 4938 coins are illiquid.
Investors want liquidity at entry and liquidity on exit. Very few coins have credible liquidity to be good investments. pic.twitter.com/3kXgn3NWjV
— Willy Woo (@woonomic) November 13, 2019
Liquidity is the most important aspect of any asset, as, without it, orders can be stuck waiting to be filled, slippage can occur, and asset prices can fluctuate wildly during entry or exit, as the analyst points out.
Hence, investors have been flooding out of these low-cap altcoins that don’t even have enough liquidity into the market leaders, consolidating wealth at the top of the cryptocurrency food chain, Bitcoin.
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