Rising Bitcoin dominance challenges crypto assumptions

Rising Bitcoin dominance challenges crypto assumptions

The Rise of Bitcoin Dominance in the Blockchain Industry


The blockchain industry has experienced a significant rise in Bitcoin dominance, marking the year 2023 as unusual in terms of market trends. Bitcoin dominance measures the ratio of the Bitcoin market capitalization to the entire cryptocurrency market capitalization. Starting the year at 42%, Bitcoin dominance has climbed back above 50% despite the period of relative stability in the crypto markets. This surge in dominance is the most extended expansion since 2019 when Bitcoin’s dominance rose from 53% to 72% over a five-month period.

Unusual Timing in Bitcoin Dominance Cycles

Traditionally, Bitcoin dominance tends to fall during bull markets as altcoins outperform Bitcoin’s gains. However, the current cycle has deviated from this pattern, with altcoins failing to fulfill their end of the bargain. This contrasting behavior points to a fundamental shift in the crypto market dynamics. Several theories explain this phenomenon.

Bitcoin as an Independent Player

One prevailing theory suggests that Bitcoin is separating itself from the rest of the crypto market. This separation is partly attributed to Bitcoin’s resilience against regulatory pressures. While many tokens have been deemed securities by regulatory bodies, Bitcoin has positioned itself as a commodity rather than a security. This distinction has shielded Bitcoin from the crackdown on securities laws and allowed it to maintain a distinct identity.

Reputation Damage within the Crypto Industry

Another factor influencing the current market dynamics is the reputation damage suffered by the entire crypto industry in recent times. Several high-profile incidents, including the Terra death spiral, the Celsius scandal, and the FTX “deceit,” have affected the credibility of the crypto space. Although Bitcoin has also been impacted, it has managed to retain a higher level of trust compared to riskier altcoins. Bitcoin’s consistent network uptime and resilience have contributed to its image as a more reliable asset.

Limited Historical Data and Unique Timing

Understanding the current market dynamics requires a perspective on historical data and timing. It is essential to recognize the limited sample size available for analysis in the blockchain industry. Bitcoin was launched in 2009, but it only gained significant liquidity around 2015. Altcoins emerged even later, making it challenging to draw definitive conclusions based solely on past performance.

Moreover, the timing of Bitcoin’s existence is crucial. Bitcoin emerged shortly after the 2008 financial crisis and during the beginning of one of the longest bull markets in history. This context, along with the subsequent COVID-19 pandemic, further complicates the interpretation of Bitcoin’s performance. Applying traditional financial models, like the Black-Litterman model, to the blockchain industry remains challenging.

The Future of Cryptocurrencies

The blockchain industry is still in the process of defining what cryptocurrencies represent. While the past few years can provide some guidance, the industry’s short and eventful history does not provide sufficient perspective for accurate modeling or risk assumptions. Like pension funds that apply Markowitz theory to traditional portfolios, there may come a time when cryptocurrency will be a standard part of efficient frontier portfolios.

However, reaching that point requires a more extensive and nuanced understanding of blockchain technology, its implications, and the evolution of the crypto market. It is essential to maintain perspective and acknowledge the current limitations in interpreting the dynamics of the blockchain industry.


The rise of Bitcoin dominance in the blockchain industry during 2023 is a remarkable development, challenging traditional market cycles. Factors such as Bitcoin’s separation from the rest of the crypto market, regulatory pressures, and reputation damage within the industry have contributed to this unusual trend. However, it is vital to approach these developments with caution and recognize the limitations of historical data and market analysis in such a novel and dynamic industry. The future of cryptocurrencies in efficient frontier portfolios and the overall financial landscape is yet to be fully understood and modeled accurately.