Forget bitcoin. These cryptocurrencies are surging even more

The dramatic rise in bitcoin may seem overly speculative. Yet bitcoin has actually lagged the surges for some other cryptocurrencies.

While bitcoin has soared 15% in the past week to hit a new all-time high just under $20,000, ethereum — the second-largest crypto after bitcoin — is up more than 20% in the past seven days.
Meanwhile XRP, the third-largest cryptocurrency, has surged nearly 25%. Litecoin, Polkadot, Cardano and Stellar, which are all among the top dozen biggest cryptocurrencies, have enjoyed larger gains than bitcoin, too.
“Part of what’s going on is simple math. Smaller coins can have bigger [percentage] moves and there are a lot of other coins that people can invest in,” said Greg King, CEO of Osprey Funds, a firm that invests in digital currencies.
To that end, bitcoin is significantly larger than other cryptocurrencies, often referred to as altcoins.
The current value of all the bitcoin in circulation is about $360 billion. Ethereum’s value is just north of $70 billion while XRP’s is about $30 billion. Litecoin, the fifth largest, has a value of under $6 billion.
“It makes sense for investors to have a portfolio with bitcoin and ethereum for the long-term and own a basket of some of the rest of the others for trading,” King said.
Low rates and weaker dollar are bullish for all cryptocurrencies
But these smaller coins are to a certain extent riding the hype that has lifted bitcoin to a new record. Bitcoin has benefited from a weaker dollar and expectations that a prolonged period of super low interest rates will eventually create inflation. That boosts the appeal of a digital currency.
“The explosion in cryptocurrencies is a consequence of the economic environment,” said Michael Shaulov, CEO of Fireblocks, a digital asset security firm.
Shaulov added that interest has exploded for so-called stablecoins like Tether and Paxos — cryptocurrencies that are backed by dollars, euros and other government currencies.
He said the looming launch of the Facebook (FB)-backed stablecoin Libra, which is in the process of being rebranded as Diem, may…

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