Crypto 101: What Is Bitcoin Dominance?

Bitcoin Dominance indicates the relative importance of BTC vs altcoins. Changes in Dominance can give helpful data on market trends.

Crypto 101: What Is Bitcoin Dominance?

Bitcoin Dominance refers to the market capitalization of Bitcoin (BTC) as a percentage of the total value of all cryptocurrencies (including Bitcoin).

Bitcoin Dominance matters because it provides insights into the relative strength and influence of Bitcoin within the broader cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Dominance chart from CoinMarketCap
Dominance can be viewed on

The Importance Of Bitcoin Dominance

There are several reasons why Dominance is important, and why traders and investors watch it to give them insights into the overall crypto markets.

  1. Indicator of Market Sentiment: Bitcoin dominance often reflects the overall sentiment of cryptocurrency investors. When Bitcoin dominance is high, it suggests that investors have more confidence in Bitcoin compared to other cryptocurrencies. Conversely, a declining Bitcoin dominance may indicate growing interest in altcoins or a shifting market sentiment. (By definition, "Altcoin Season" sees rapidly decreasing Dominance for Bitcoin, as altcoin market caps spike.)
  2. Stability and Maturity: Bitcoin is the oldest and best-established cryptocurrency, and is often seen as a store of value and a benchmark for the industry. Higher Bitcoin Dominance generally implies a more stable and mature market, as Bitcoin has withstood multiple market cycles and regulatory challenges.
  3. Altcoin Performance: Bitcoin dominance can impact the performance of altcoins. When Bitcoin dominance is high, altcoins may struggle to gain significant market share or attract investor attention. On the other hand, during periods of declining Bitcoin dominance, altcoins have the potential to outperform Bitcoin, as investors seek higher returns by diversifying into other cryptocurrencies.
  4. Crypto Market Health: Bitcoin dominance provides an overview of the overall health and growth of the cryptocurrency market. If Bitcoin dominance is consistently high, it suggests that Bitcoin is maintaining its market leadership, which can be seen as a positive sign for the entire industry. Conversely, a decreasing Bitcoin dominance could indicate increased competition and innovation in the cryptocurrency space.

At the present time, for example, the SEC's cases against Binance and Coinbase (regardless of merit) have scared many traders away from altcoins, most of which the SEC has labeled as securities. Bitcoin, which has been designated a commodity, is view as safer than other cryptos from the regulatory perspective. As a result, Bitcoin Dominance has increased in recent weeks, as traders sell alts for BTC.

Dominance And Stablecoins

While Bitcoin Dominance remains a useful metric, the rise of stablecoins clouds the picture.

Stablecoins do not really compete with Bitcoin for Dominance, in the same way that altcoins do. In most cases (e.g. USDC, USDT, USDP) they are simply on-chain fiat. However, they are often included in crypto's total market cap. A more accurate calculation for Bitcoin Dominance would arguably strip out the market caps of stablecoins first.

It's also important to note that Bitcoin Dominance is just one metric among many that investors and analysts consider when evaluating the cryptocurrency market. Other factors, such as trading volume, technological advancements, regulatory developments, and market trends, also play a crucial role in understanding the dynamics of the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

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