Is Bitcoin underperforming compared to altcoins?

The first half of 2021 within the crypto markets introduced many comparisons to 2017. Bitcoin (BTC) was on a tear to its all-time excessive, the brand new frontier of decentralized finance emerged, and nonfungible tokens have been gaining myriad superstar endorsements. 

But after the preliminary months of euphoria and a subsequent sell-off, BTC’s efficiency has been much more lackluster. The latest market sell-off ensuing from the Evergrande disaster has compounded fears. However, it will probably’t be ignored that many altcoins, significantly platform tokens, have undergone spectacular runs and, in some circumstances, even bucked broader market tendencies. 

With hopes nonetheless excessive that one other bull run is probably going throughout this halving cycle, ought to BTC holders be nervous that the flagship asset is underperforming? 

2021 by the numbers

Between January and reaching its all-time excessive (ATH) of almost $65,000 in April, BTC posted beneficial properties of 113%. Based on present costs, the year-to-date (YTD) beneficial properties are round 45%. 

By comparability, Ether (ETH) gained 497% between January and its ATH in May, whereas its year-to-date rose over 300% regardless of taking a latest battering. 

However, even ETH’s spectacular beneficial properties are nothing compared to rival platform tokens. Cardano (ADA) has posted a staggering YTD enhance above 1,000% whereas barely but supporting any actual exercise. Solana’s SOL has even dwarfed that determine by rising over 8,000% since January. This comes after dropping from its all-time excessive above $200. Honorable mentions go to Polygon (MATIC), Avalanche (AVAX) and Terra (LUNA), all of which have undergone spectacular rallies in 2021. 

Stephen Gregory, CEO of, informed Cointelegraph:

“Generally, there’s quite a lot of enthusiasm for Web 3.0, whether or not that’s powering the metaverse with ETH, or a lot sooner transaction instances with SOL, or regardless of the future holds for ADA. People see holding layer-one protocols as sturdy worth picks for the longer term. Investing in sound tech and following the momentum and development of the asset class following real-world use circumstances appears to be prudent.”

Why are altcoins outperforming BTC? 

On the face of it, the numbers do certainly appear to point out that BTC is underperforming compared to different cash. One issue that might clarify that is the regulation of diminishing returns. BTC is the oldest asset and twice the age of Ether. Although Bitcoin has delivered eye-popping returns throughout its lifetime — making billionaires out of early adopters — is it doable that the flagship asset can proceed to ship three- or four-figure returns because it ages? Given that Bitcoin’s complete financial mannequin relies across the precept of diminishing returns, with block rewards halving each 4 years or so, it appears believable. 

Moreover, as Cointelegraph has beforehand reported, as extra buyers and establishments pile in, Bitcoin has begun to mirror different belongings. We can be aware this impact within the dampening of Bitcoin’s volatility over time. 

Arguably, the one motive that markets proceed to develop is that buyers frequently hunt down new belongings of worth. Therefore, whereas BTC seems to be delivering decrease returns, it shouldn’t shock anybody that buyers are fascinated about extra risky belongings to revenue from worth actions. 

But that leads to different questions: Is there a threat of making a self-fulfilling adverse cycle from BTC? As buyers look to different belongings to earn massive beneficial properties, will BTC inevitably turn into much less enticing? 

Or, if we dare to think about it, does the present urge for food for platform tokens point out that buyers’ sentiment towards Bitcoin is gravitating to the “no intrinsic worth” argument? After all, stronger fundamentals and potential for adoption is probably the one huge promoting level that platform tokens have over Bitcoin. 

Micha Benoliel, co-founder and CEO of decentralized Internet-of-Things community Nodle, believes that platform tokens have a vibrant future forward, however maybe not on the expense of BTC. He informed Cointelegraph:

“I feel the market is simply starting to perceive the worth of blockchain ecosystems and providers. That’s why altcoins are performing so effectively. Bitcoin, which is extra a retailer of worth, is on its trajectory and is turning into a crypto asset class with much less threat and for individuals with a long-term funding technique.”

Is $100,000 Bitcoin nonetheless lifelike?

From one other angle, even when Bitcoin returns are diminishing compared to their historic highs, beneficial properties proceed to outstrip different belongings, corresponding to shares and gold, by far. At the present charge of diminishment, BTC will proceed to ship superior efficiency for fairly a while to come. As such, it appears unlikely that an exodus is imminent. Daniele Bernardi, CEO of investing agency Diaman Group, informed Cointelegraph:

“Of course, Bitcoin seems to be underperforming compared to small- and medium-cap cash in share phrases. But don’t neglect the big distinction in capitalization. If BTC costs enhance by 10%, it might elevate the market cap by $80 billion. If Solana, for instance, will increase by 100%, the actual worth in market cap goes up by $40 billion. For this motive, I don’t assume there’s any foundation for doubting Bitcoin or its place because the market-leading asset.”

As far because the bull trajectory goes, it’s additionally price noting that in 2017, Bitcoin gained 1,900% between January and December. However, till now in 2021, it’s solely up round 450%. If costs do comply with the identical sample, that may put us on observe for a year-end BTC worth of round $138,000. 

That estimate is eerily shut to the $135,000 year-end worth predicted by the stock-to-flow (S2F) mannequin, which continues to be essentially the most correct forecast of Bitcoin costs. Indeed, August’s BTC closing worth is, give or take, precisely as predicted by S2F creator PlanB again in June, and September’s may very well be on observe to comply with go well with. 

Bitcoin stands agency

The numbers illustrate that BTC’s returns are certainly diminishing over time throughout consecutive bull cycles. But this shouldn’t be shocking to anybody, contemplating Bitcoin’s financial mannequin. Michaël van de Poppe, Cointelegraph contributor and full-time dealer, agrees, telling Cointelegraph: 

“Investors shouldn’t be nervous. It’s truly a pure behavior of the markets to decelerate and have lengthening cycles. This is one thing we are going to see extra usually sooner or later and can truly open up the gates for extra buyers. The much less Bitcoin shall be swinging round with their efficiency and day by day actions, the higher as an asset in your portfolio.”

However, regularly lowering returns shouldn’t detract from the truth that Bitcoin is, by any measure, delivering a wholesome efficiency in step with even essentially the most bullish forecasts. According to Igneus Terrenus, head of communications at Bybit, BTC remains to be by far the go-to coin for newcomers — establishments or people — coming into the house. He informed Cointelegraph:

“Bitcoin stays the very best investment-grade crypto asset for institutional buyers. And a comparatively extra secure ranging sample may very well assist Bitcoin’s case as a substitute to gold and add gas to its long-term rise. When one zooms out to 5 years or 10 years — horizons acquainted to whales and institutional buyers — Bitcoin returns beat every little thing.”

It’s additionally unattainable to say whether or not any of the latest platform token rallies would have occurred if BTC had been languishing in long-term bear territory, as cash tends to stream down from BTC. 

What’s extra, the fashions present that there’s nonetheless each motive to imagine in a year-end BTC worth above six figures.’s Gregory agreed regardless of the rising demand for platform tokens. He informed Cointelegraph, “BTC is outperforming the market however is at present being held again by macro market tendencies and occasions on Wall Street. However, traditionally, This autumn has been the strongest for BTC, and it’s seemingly historical past repeats itself earlier than the tip of 2021.”

Nevertheless, whereas BTC is in no hazard of dropping its standing as crypto’s flagship asset, hovering altcoins undeniably supply larger alternatives proper now for individuals who imagine they will time the markets.