Ripple Continues Moving up, Bitcoin Regains Upward Momentum

Friday was a relatively quiet day in the crypto currency markets with most crypto currencies showing major corrections to come down to more realistic levels although they began climbing towards the end of the day's trading. The notable exception was Bitcoin which rose considerably to around $18,000 thus surging ahead by around 7%. Ripple saw an initial correction in its price but returned to trading at around $0.80 which is still a sensational 150% increase over last week's price. Litecoin had receded to around $260 but a late surge saw it peak at well over the $300 mark and staying there. Ethereum also gained solidly in the last few hours to well over the $700 mark while Ethereum Classic reached an all-time high of $32 - an increase of 15%. Some exchanges such as eToro warned of a lack of liquidity in the market and restricted trading volumes for a period whilst they also introduced weekend spreads for certain crypto currencies.

Ripple has overtaken Bitcoin Cash to become the third largest cryptocurrency in the market with a $31 billion market cap, after recording a 47 percent increase in value within the past 24 hours.

Over the past two days, the daily trading volume of Ripple surpassed that of all cryptocurrencies in the market apart from bitcoin. On December 15, the daily trading volume of Ripple doubled that of Ethereum.

Previously CCN reported that the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange market pushed the price of Ripple up 71 percent within a single day, triggered by the collaboration between Japanese and South Korean banks to test Ripple blockchain technology-based payment solutions. The South Korean cryptocurrency exchange market and the vast majority of investors within it tend to be moved by FOMO, or fear of missing out. When the value of a cryptocurrency begins to surge at a rapid rate, everyone else in the market rushes to invest in it.

Any cryptocurrency with a strong base within the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange market tend to surge or decline in large margins, as seen in the case of Ripple, Monero, and Bitcoin Cash. On some days, these cryptocurrencies increase by more than 50 percent in value. At the time of reporting, South Korea's largest cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb accounts for more than 31 percent of global Ripple trades. Other major local exchanges including Korbit and Coinone account for an additional 12 percent.

Bithumb alone has a higher trading volume of Ripple than that of Poloniex, Bittrex, Bitfinex, Binance, Bitstamp, and Bitfinex combined. In the short-term, Ripple's centralization of trading volume in South Korea could become an issue, as the South Korean government is planning to impose strict regulations on the local cryptocurrency exchange market in the upcoming weeks.

As CCN reported on December 14, the South Korean government is expected to introduce policies on restricting individual investors and non-accredited traders in investing in cryptocurrencies.

"In the short-term excessive regulations on preventing underaged investors and institutional traders from investing in bitcoin could negatively affect the price trend and demand for cryptocurrencies in the South Korean market."

The bitcoin price rallied past $18,000 on Friday as traders rolled their altcoins profits back into the flagship cryptocurrency. Many top-tier coins, including ethereum, experienced price declines, causing them to lose part of the market share that they had fought to recoup during bitcoin's mid-week slump.

But although the markets were mixed, strong performances from bitcoin, ripple, and one other top-tier altcoin lifted the cryptocurrency market cap by $19 billion, raising it to a new height of $530 billion.

Though not a milestone in and of itself, achieving the $530 billion mark was significant for another reason. Wall Street strategist Tom Lee attributes this year's massive bitcoin price increase to the "network effect," so it is fitting that the combined value of all cryptocurrencies has now surpassed the market cap of the most popular social network: Facebook.

Bitcoin Price Rallies Past $18,000

Though the majority of cryptocurrencies posted single-day declines on Friday, the bitcoin price rallied more than eight percent, enabling the dominant cryptocurrency to crack the $18,000 mark and inch closer to its all-time high. At present, the bitcoin price is trading at a global average of $18,134, which translates into a $303.6 billion market cap.

Ethereum Price Sees Post-Surge Stumble

That rally came, to some extent, at the expense of altcoins that had been on a mid-week surge. The ethereum price, for instance, had leaped to a new all-time high of $752, and many investors began to believe that $1,000 was on the horizon. However, the ethereum price experienced a 10 percent correction on Friday, reducing the second-largest cryptocurrency to a present value of $653. This translates into a $63 billion market cap. The altcoin markets were mixed on Friday with a handful of cryptocurrencies posting significant increases but the majority engaging in a retreat. On the whole, the altcoin market cap dropped to $227 billion - a single-day decline of $6 billion.

The ripple price was one of the few altcoins to defy the prevailing trend. Bolstered by increased interest among Asian traders, the ripple price soared to a new all-time high of $0.892, although it has since settled down to $0.758. This nevertheless represents a single-day rally of 33 percent, and, significantly, enables ripple to command the third-largest market cap.

To achieve that status, ripple surpassed two coins that had made mid-week rallies: bitcoin cash and litecoin. Both of these cryptocurrencies, now ranked fourth and fifth, posted single-day declines of 12 percent. IOTA and dash, meanwhile, each saw its price fall by six percent. Aside from ripple, cardano was the only other top 10 altcoin to yield investors a meaningful increase. The cardano price soared by 45 percent, catapulting this cryptocurrency into the eighth spot in the market cap rankings. NEM posted a minor increase of three percent, and bitcoin gold took a 12 percent hit to round out the top 10.