Bitcoin and ethereum fell around 20% today, with nearly all other digital currencies in complete red as their total market cap falls below $100 billion.
The dive appears to have mainly been caused by bitcoin as the currency faces heightened uncertainty over its future following a statement by Bitmain, one of bitcoin’s biggest miner, that they will hardfork on August the 1st if the flag day soft fork known as UASF goes ahead.
That means the currency may split into two, which would likely create some short term chaos, so in anticipation bitcoin investors appear to be divesting, sending its price down by nearly $1,000, currently trading at $2,200 as of writing.
In the process, ethereum seems to have been dragged down too, with the currency falling by nearly $100, currently trading at $308, a high it reached just two-three days ago.
The two currencies have been moving downwards in sync, as if they’re one, in what appears to be a perfect correlation of sorts.
Meanwhile, the bitcoin ethereum trading pair on Poloniex shows a nearly perfect straight line during the same time range even though both currencies have plunged.
That means what is probably happening here is bots. The arbitrage bots are probably in frenzy, likely selling eth at any movement of bitcoin, sending its dollar pair down while keeping its btc ratio flatline.
But can that really be true considering the ETH/BTC pair is fourth by trading volume for ethereum, although it is first for bitcoin?
Logically you’d think all the fiat pairs would in combination have far greater influence, but arbitrage can be free money. Moreover, the arbitrage between eth, btc and usd is probably the most liquid and easiest, potentially explaining why that trading pair remains strong.
If that is indeed the case, then there seem to be two opposing currents running. Ethereum has been pushing up all digital currencies, including bitcoin, as shown by the market cap of all digital currencies always increasing when eth rises.
Bitcoin, on the other hand, has been dragging them all down, including eth, lowering the market cap of all digital currencies when it falls, while maintaining it unchanged when it rises.
As such, it may well be the case that rather than bitcoin going mainstream or Japan declaring it as legal tender, the currency may have been kept afloat and even sent up by none other than Ethereum.
That is mainly because while bitcoin’s and ethereum’s trading volumes are nearly the same, the vast majority of bitcoin’s trading volume is with altcoin pairs, while the vast majority for ethereum is with fiat pairs. Suggesting most of the new money is coming from and to ethereum.
However, there may be other factors. Institutional investors may have been moving into bitcoin, although most probably they would have diversified with ethereum.
Bitcoin has gone fully mainstream in name recognition, which may have been a contributing factor, while ethereum largely remains unknown. But after the ETF rejection bitcoin did not really have anything going for it and plenty going against it, while Ethereum at that point started dreaming of disrupting all industries, including bitcoin.
One final explanation may be that both currencies simply had enough of rising up, but since nothing has changed in ethereum except for the better, there appears no reason why it would not maintain value, and even continue gaining value against bitcoin.
Whether it will do so remains to be seen in the short term as the race between bitcoin and ethereum continues.