This week, the cryptocurrency market has seen a remarkable rally that extended beyond Bitcoin, with smaller-cap assets experiencing significant gains. Notably, the top performers in this rally have been blue-chip DeFi protocols and smaller layer 1 tokens.
This trend marks a shift in the crypto cycle, as historically, Bitcoin led the initial surge, followed by Ethereum, and then capital gradually flowed into lower-cap and riskier investments. However, data from IntoTheBlock indicates a different pattern emerging, as Bitcoin and Ethereum trade sideways while DeFi and alternative layer 1 tokens undergo a strong rebound.
Crypto Market’s Bullish Rotation
In a newsletter from IntoTheBlock titled “Crypto’s Early Bull Market Rotation,” it is reported that investors are seeking riskier assets even as the fundamentals of the cryptocurrency market remain positive. This week, the crypto market experienced volatility, with many tokens appreciating over 10% within just a week. While short-term price momentum may appear overheated, there are indications of sustainable demand driving the overall uptrend.
The leading assets in this rotation were blue-chip DeFi protocols and smaller layer 1 tokens. These tokens exhibited the highest price increases among assets supported by IntoTheBlock, with a market capitalization of over $100 million and at least 1,000 daily active addresses. The shift towards riskier investments aligns with historical crypto cycles, where capital gradually moved into lower-cap and riskier bets.
Despite the move into riskier assets, the demand flowing into the crypto market seems relatively organic, primarily driven by spot buying. The leverage in the market remains low, as the ratio of Bitcoin’s open interest in perpetual swaps relative to its market cap remains near yearly lows. This suggests that the recent price surge is more organic and less reliant on derivatives-fueled leverage.
On-chain data also reveals an increase in fundamental activity. The weekly value of assets settled on the Ethereum network, including ETH, stablecoins, and the top 50 tokens, reached its highest point since March, coinciding with the collapse of the SVB. Ethereum’s mainnet alone saw over $213 billion in volume settled last week, with an additional $16 billion transacted between Arbitrum, Optimism, and Base.
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