• After much anticipation, the creation of new spot Bitcoin ETFs ended up being a “sell the news” moment for the cryptocurrency sector in January 2024.
  • Since that time, however, the crypto sector has rebounded, with Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) posting year-to-date gains. 
  • With Bitcoin recently topping $50,000/coin for the first time since 2021, the forthcoming Bitcoin “halving” event in April could provide an additional boost to the crypto sector, as it has in past years. 
  • As always, there have been plenty of other winners from the cryptocurrency space in 2024, including both small-cap coins and large-cap coins. 

Much like the global stock markets, the global cryptocurrency markets enjoyed a strong year in 2023. Exhibit A was the outperformance in Bitcoin (BTC), which rallied by 160% last year.

In 2024, the cryptocurrency sector started on weaker footing, with many of the big coins dipping into the red during the first month of trading. However, the script has flipped in February, with the two titans—Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH)—now in positive territory year-to-date. 

So far in 2024, Bitcoin is up around 13%, while Ethereum is up around 12%. On Feb. 12, Bitcoin actually broke through $50,000/coin for the first time in two years. Ether currently trades for about $2,600/coin, but could easily break through the $3K mark at some point in 2024.

Overall, the cryptocurrency universe grew its total market cap by about 115% last year, to roughly $1.7 trillion. At the end of 2022, that figure was closer to $800 billion. Importantly, Bitcoin and Ethereum now constitute about 67% of the total market capitalization in the crypto market. That’s up from 2022, when the combined percentage was closer to 58%.

Bitcoin Climbs Back to $50,000
Source: Bloomberg

Importantly, the much anticipated approval of spot ETFs for Bitcoin has come and passed, but there’s still plenty to look forward to in the crypto space during 2024. In April, Bitcoin will undergo another halving event that reduces the reward for mining new blocks of Bitcoin. This halving will reduce the block reward from 6.25 BTC to 3.125 BTC. 

Halvings are notable because in the past such events have often provided a boost to the value of Bitcoin, and thus the broader crypto universe. Market pundits attribute this behavior to the associated supply deficit that’s created by the halving process. Assuming demand remains consistent, the result of the reduced reward (e.g. supply cut) is upward pressure on prices.

That said, there’s certainly no guarantee that Bitcoin’s value appreciates from here. But previous halvings in 2012, 2016 and 2020 all saw Bitcoin move higher in the aftermath.

As a caveat, most market pundits expected the introduction of the new Bitcoin spot ETFs to drive crypto prices higher, but that turned out to be a “sell the news” moment.

The introduction of new institutional money into the cryptocurrency market—via the aforementioned spot ETFs—makes this particular halving event a little harder to predict.

Since their launch in January, the Bitcoin spot ETFs are estimated to have accumulated more than 192,000 Bitcoins. 

Halvings are designed to occur after 210,000 blocks are mined, which has historically taken about four years. At present, most forecasts suggest the next halving will occur on April 19, 2024. However, that date could change as the halving draws closer. Based on historical patterns, some observers believe that the halving will widen the potential price range of Bitcoin, as highlighted below. 

Looking beyond the two majors—Bitcoin and Ethereum—there have been plenty of other outperformers in the crypto space thus far in 2024. Some of the top-performing cryptocurrencies are highlighted below

The small cap group includes the top-performing digital coins with market capitalizations less than $100 million, while the large cap group includes the top-performing coins with market capitalizations greater than $1 billion (year-to-date returns through Feb. 13, 2024). 

Top performing cryptocurrencies in 2024 (small cap)

  • Ritestream (RITE) +2,100%
  • Badmad Robots (METAL) +1,200%
  • Rocky (ROCKY) +1,000%
  • Bomber Coin (BCOIN) +900%
  • Three Kingdoms (TTK) +725%
  • Dopex Rebate Token (RDPX) +630%
  • AXL INU (INU) +630%
  • Heroes TD (HTD) +560%
  • Bomb Money (BOMB) +550%
  • Covenants (UNIFI) +460%

Top performing cryptocurrencies in 2024 (large cap)

  • Sui (SUI) +135%
  • Bittensor (TAO) +110%
  • Flare (FLR) +80%
  • Beam (BEAM) +65%
  • Celestia (TIA) +60%
  • Stacks (STX) +41%
  • Immutable (IMX) +41%
  • ChainLink (LINK) +33%
  • Sei (SEI) +31%
  • Arbitrum (ARB) +31%

To follow everything moving the markets in 2024, including the cryptocurrency markets, tune into tastylive—weekdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. CDT.

Andrew Prochnow has more than 15 years of experience trading the global financial markets, including 10 years as a professional options trader. Andrew is a frequent contributor Luckbox magazine.

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