Bitcoin has been flatlining since taking a sharp dive late last year but the market for some minor cryptocurrencies, known as altcoins, has risen—with some digital tokens making major strides.
The bitcoin price is down some 80% from its all-time highs set more than a year ago and remains trapped in a long-running bear market, dubbed crypto winter for its debilitating effect on the industry, and leaving investors and traders desperately looking for alternatives.
While some coins have been making well-publicized strides, cardano, currently the tenth largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization with a value of just over $1.5 billion, has been quietly climbing in price.
The bitcoin price has been trading sideways for months after losing ground late last year. GETTY
Cardano, which trades its digital token under the name ADA, is up some 22% over the last seven days, breaking into the top 10 biggest cryptocurrencies by market cap. The cardano price is up a little over 30% over the last 30 days and almost 50% so far this year, according to prices from CoinMarketCap, a cryptocurrency price data tracker.
“The great crypto winter seems to be drawing to a close and we’re now seeing things start to thaw out as we enter spring,” said Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst at brokerage eToro.
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“During this period, often dubbed altseason, bitcoin is making mild gains as some of the smaller cryptos are seeing massive gains and losses as alternative investors readjust their respective portfolios. Cardano is naturally one of the altcoins that investors are bullish on at the moment.”
Cardano, created in late 2017 amid the global cryptocurrency gold rush, saw its price soar to over $1 per ADA token at the beginning of 2018 before falling sharply back along with the wider crypto market.
The cardano price is still far from its all-time highs despite the recent rebound. COINDESK
Cardano, a non-profit platform with three separate bodies responsible for its maintenance and development, is run by a team of academics and engineers who are trying to find ways to better scale and secure a blockchain network and are working on integrating smart contracts.
Cardano has been pushed on over the last few days by the release of a new network version, seen as an important step towards the highly-anticipated so-called proof-of-stake Shelley upgrade.
The wider cryptocurrency market, including the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap ethereum, has been working on a move to proof-of-stake from proof-of-work, expected to reduce energy use and improve security.
The latest cardano network version means ADA will use a new consensus protocol known as Ouroboros BFT, helping it to fend off potential 51% attacks that can cripple a cryptocurrency.
Cardano’s recent price rise has seen it break into the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap. COINMARKETCAP
“This update is technically a hard fork but will take place in a smooth and automatic way because this is a planned protocol upgrade whereby all parties of the current federated system have agreed to the change,” cardano developers wrote in a blog post last week. “The cardano 1.5 release also makes many other improvements. These include performance improvements when rendering lists with a large number of transactions and wallet addresses, the addition of features for detecting insufficient disk space, and a new screen that visualizes the block storage consolidation process.”
Meanwhile, cardano developments, including a new wallet making it easier to deposit and receive ADA tokens and view transaction history, and rumors the cryptocurrency development group Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK) and the Cardano Foundation could soon release a mass market payment network for ADA, have further pushed the price higher.
You can follow me on Twitter @billybambrough and read my other Forbes posts here
Disclosure: I occasionally hold some small amount of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies