A milestone was crossed in cryptocurrency markets today as the market capitalization of Ripple overtook that of Ethereum to make it the second largest cryptocurrency by total value.
Ripple had a huge surge in value over the past 48 hours, approximately doubling in market capitalization from around $13 billion on September 19, to $26 billion at time of press. This puts it well ahead of Ethereum, which had a market cap of $23.4 billion at the same point in time.
Of course, this is not the first time that the centralized and bank-friendly cryptocurrency has overtaken Ethereum in value. In December 2017, Ripple rocketed to a total market capitalization of over $120 billion, with a 1000 percent surge in the space of a month that was wiped out in the huge market crash that followed.
In light of this, celebrating Ripple’s triumph over Ethereum could prove to be premature. Viewed in a longer-term context, the price of Ripple has closely tracked that of its older cousin, with only a few points of departure. This pattern can be clearly seen in a chart of both currencies over the previous calendar year, produced by BREAKER with data from CoinMarketCap.com:
In the eight months from mid-January up to present, the peaks and troughs of Ripple’s price clearly echo those of Ethereum’s. It’s particularly in the most recent half of that time, the four months from mid-May to the present date, that Ethereum has seen a slow and steady fall in value, wiping out 75 percent of its market capitalization. Over the same time period, Ripple lost roughly half of its market capitalization; and for all of September its price hovered between $10 billion to $13 billion, until the rally began on the morning of September 20.
Many supporters of Ripple have been surprised by the rapid gains. A thread on the /r/Cryptocurrency subreddit asking, “What is driving Ripple’s now 55% rally?” has received more than one hundred responses in the two hours since posting, but concrete theories are few and far between.
Overall, the market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies has shown an upward trend over the past few days. Though it’s too early to say whether Ripple’s place in the number two spot will be temporary or permanent, investors and traders across the board will be hoping that the great “crypto winter” of 2018 is beginning to thaw.