Bitcoin Declines Slightly As Other Cryptos Roar Ahead

The world's largest crypto currency Bitcoin moved sideways on Thursday as other crypto currencies such as Ripple and Ethereum moved forward with the former achieving an astonishing gain of well over 70%. However as the day progressed, the altcoins saw some declines in their values as a considerable correction took place. Litecoin was the main loser in this regard, declining by well over 20% to values of around $260 from a high of $350 the day before. Dash also saw a slight decline trading well below the $800 mark although it improved slightly as the day wore on. Bitcoin Cash continued flirting with the $2000 mark but then began losing slightly whilst Ethereum failed to hold on to Wednesday's spectacular gains and was trading around the $650 mark. This morning, Bitcoin was on the increase and had exceeded the $17,000 mark with further gains expected during the day.

The bitcoin price posted a minor pullback on Thursday, continuing a weeklong trend that has seen the most prominent cryptocurrency ease its foot off the gas after a meteoric early-month climb. Altcoins, meanwhile, continued to take advantage of bitcoin's relative stagnancy to set new all-time highs, and, importantly, reclaim market share.

Despite bitcoin's minor decline, the total cryptocurrency market cap managed to rise to yet another all-time high, peaking at $514 billion on Thursday morning. This constituted a single-day increase of approximately one percent.

Bitcoin Price Dips to $16,700

Bitcoin investors have grown accustomed to seeing the value of their holdings soar with every passing day, but the bitcoin price has not made much sustained movement this week. Since last Thursday, the bitcoin price has increased by eight percent, but it has not been able to break through $20,000 - the next psychologically-important barrier - nor has it maintained any significant declines.

At the time of writing, the bitcoin price was trading at a global average of $16,714, which represents a daily decline of 2 percent and translates into a $279.8 billion market cap.

Ethereum Price Hits New All-Time High Above $750

A contributing factor to bitcoin's relative stagnancy is that traders appear to be re-allocating their holdings into the altcoin markets. While bitcoin fluctuates around $17,000, altcoin prices have been soaring - and the ethereum price has been leading the charge.

In the past week, the ethereum price has climbed by more than 66 percent, bringing the second-largest cryptocurrency to a new all-time high above $750, although it has since ebbed from that mark. At the time of writing, the ethereum price was trading at a global average of $711, which translates into a $68.5 billion market cap. Altcoins Wrestle Back Market Share Nevertheless, ethereum is just a single cog - albeit, the largest one - in a comprehensive altcoin advance. Over the course of the past week, 13 altcoins in the top 15 have risen by at least 10 percent against the dollar, enabling the total altcoin market cap to leap by nearly $90 billion during that period. On Thursday, the gains were less evenly distributed, but four cryptocurrencies in the top 15 - including the two largest Bitcoin forks - managed to post returns of at least 20 percent.

The bitcoin cash price posted a 24 percent gain, briefly crossing the $2,000 threshold before settling down to a present value of $1,965. Bitcoin cash now has a market cap of $33.1 billion. Fourth-ranked ripple added 20 percent to its swelling market cap, which rose above $20 billion on Thursday. Litecoin and IOTA each suffered moderate declines, while the dash price had enough steam left in its rally to rise two percent. Bitcoin gold, mimicking fellow BTC fork bitcoin cash, rose more than 21 percent to cross the $300 checkpoint for the first time since December 5. At present, the bitcoin gold price is $338, making it the eighth-largest cryptocurrency. Moneroand NEM, meanwhile, posted minor declines to round out the top 10. Outside of the top 10, many altcoins posted moderate increases, enough so that the number of cryptocurrencies with billion-dollar market caps rose to 23 - a new all-time high. The South Korean cryptocurrency market has pushed the Ripple price up 71 percent over the past 24 hours, triggered by the Ripple blockchain-based payment trial conducted by Japanese and South Korean banks.

South Korea Accounts For 50 Percent of Ripple Trades

Bithumb, Korbit, and Coinone, three of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the South Korean cryptocurrency market, currently account for more than 50 percent of global Ripple trades. Over the past 24 hours, the three trading platforms have processed over $1.7 billion worth of trades, surpassing the combined daily trading volume of Bittrex, Poloniex, Bitfinex, Bitstamp, Binance, and Kraken.

In South Korea, investors tend to move rapidly through word of mouth. Once several people are invested, everyone else rushes to invest in that particular asset, as Korbit co-founder and CEO Tony Lyu emphasized several times.

When a leading cryptocurrency like Ripple begins to surge in value within the South Korean market, by 10 to 30 percent, the rest of the investors in the market scramble to invest in it, triggering a short-term surge in the price and daily trading volume.

Cryptocurrencies that are heavily concentrated in the South Korean market such as Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, and Monero tend to increase by large margins and decline rapidly at times as well, because of the abovementioned tendency of the South Korean market and its investors to move speedily based on the trend of the market.

Earlier on December 13, Japanese mainstream media outlet Nikkei reported that major banks in Japan and South Korea are set to begin the testing of Ripple blockchain and its solutions on Friday. The aim of the joint project is to reduce the cost involved in international funds transfer by nearly 30 percent.

Since the beginning of 2017, Ripple Labs have made significant process in assisting major banks and financial institutions to adopt the Ripple blockchain technology. Banks based in Japan, in particular, quickly embraced the technology of Ripple, forming a consortium of 61 corporations.

In July, Ripple global head of strategic accounts Marcus Treacher said: "We commend these banks in Japan for taking a giant step forward on behalf of their customers. This is a great example of a regional banks converging into a global real-time payments network for the greater good."

Ripple Labs and its partner banks in Japan and South Korea are planning to continue the testing of Ripple technologies in the long-term and implement the Ripple blockchain at a larger scale by early 2018.

According to Nikkei, Japanese banks have already developed Ripple-based systems to process global payments on its blockchain network. Cross-border payments between South Korean and Japanese banks will be begin on January 31, if pilot tests throughout December are successfully conducted.

As reported in September, SBI Ripple Asia first announced its foray into instant international blockchain payments to South Korean banks.

"South Korea is one of the most active markets worldwide when it comes to blockchain innovation and trading of digital assets. With trade flows into and out of the country totaling $960 billion every year, we also see a high end growing demand for Ripple's frictionless payments solution in the country," said Takashi Okita, SBI Ripple Asia chief executive.