It is still too easy to see the cryptocurrency market has a single entity. A bull market creates a sea of green, whereas a bear drags all 2,081 tokens into the red. But this is changing. Price movements are diversifying. Even the ERC20 tokens, running off the Ethereum (ETH) network, are beginning to demonstrate independence.
SANbase, a decentralized data and analytics tool provider, found price movements from three ERC20 tokens, 0x (ZRX), Maker (MKR) and Basic Attention Token (BAT), had diverged from the network’s native virtual currency, Ether.
The tokens have all experienced palpable price surges since roughly the middle of September. The 0x price is up by 60% at the time of writing. Maker, the proprietary token that helps stabilize the DAI price, has nearly doubled in value (95% up) over the same timeframe. BAT meanwhile has increased by just under 50%.
In comparison, the ether price has almost flatlined since the beginning of September. Following a near-uninterrupted slide since the start of May, ETH has hovered within a tight range just above the $200 mark in the past 90 days. It peaked at $240 towards the end of September, with a low at approximately $192 in mid-October.
Crypto divergence from Ether
Cryptocurrency prices used to be highly correlated because they were essentially influenced by the same factors. The market hemorrhaged $100bn when the SEC, America’s financial regulator, postponed its Bitcoin (BTC) ETF ruling in August; and a further $50bn when Goldman Sachs postponed its BTC trading desk.
Ethereum has continued to battle longstanding problems. The platform’s core development team has yet to address its scalability limitations that have hamstrung further development. All the while facing increasing competition from rivals, including Cardano (ADA) and EOSIO (EOS).
The three tokens – ZRX, MKR and BAT – have been subject to renewed investor interest over the past two months. Popular cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, announced in mid-October it would list 0x on its servers by the end of the week. This caused a price spike, with 0x trading at over $0.90, the highest it had been in more than two months.
Maker’s sistercoin, the stablecoin DAI, was added to the decentralized predictions platform, Augur (REP) earlier this month. The American venture capital fund, Andreessen Horowitz also invested $15m into the team of developers behind the MKR project towards the end of September. BAT meanwhile mirrored ether’s price moves well into October. Rumors have been circulating that it could be listed on Coinbase. This is partly because it is an ERC20 token, which would make it easy to add from a technical perspective.
ERC20 prices going their own way
Although diversifying ERC20 prices from that of Ether might indicate a divergence, not everyone agrees. Mati Greenspan, the senior market analyst at eToro, argues investment decisions have rarely been swayed by the platform. He thinks that the quality of the project itself has always been the predominant factor. “If the project is good, people will invest in it regardless of which blockchain the tokens ultimately reside on,” he said.
Crypto is becoming user-friendly. As it becomes integrated with the mainstream, the technical aspect will gradually slip from the public eye. Adopters want a functioning project. At an industry meet-up last week, figures from prominent projects admitted that the focus will shift away from technical discussions and decentralization debates, to utility.
ERC20 prices are no longer apeing Ether. This is a sign the process has already begun.
The author is invested in BTC and ETH, which are mentioned in this article.