Why the Bitcoin Dominance Indicator Draws Interest from Seasoned Investors

After emerging in 2009, Bitcoin has transcended its role as the inaugural decentralized currency, consistently setting the pace in the crypto market. Amid the ever-growing array of digital currencies, a critical metric drawing keen interest from seasoned investors and newcomers is Bitcoin Dominance.

This crucial indicator sheds light on Bitcoin’s standing in comparison to the cumulative market of cryptocurrencies. It calculates Bitcoin’s market value relative to the combined value of all other digital currencies, charting Bitcoin’s share in the total crypto ecosystem. Bitcoin Dominance transcends mere value assessment, a sophisticated gauge of market trends, investor sentiment, and the fluid interplay between Bitcoin and the diverse altcoins.

Understanding Bitcoin Dominance

At its core, Bitcoin Dominance is a measure that tells us about Bitcoin’s share in the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies. It’s a straightforward yet powerful metric. To calculate this, one needs to divide the market capitalization of Bitcoin by the market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies combined and then multiply the result by 100 to get a percentage. This percentage reveals Bitcoin’s dominance.

Market Capitalization of Bitcoin: Multiply the current price of Bitcoin by the total number of Bitcoins in circulation. 

Total Market Capitalization: This includes the market capitalization of Bitcoin and all other cryptocurrencies available.

For example, if the market cap of Bitcoin is $700 billion and the total market cap of all cryptocurrencies is $1 trillion, then Bitcoin Dominance is calculated as: 

(700 / 1000) * 100 = 70%

This calculation means Bitcoin accounts for 70% of the total cryptocurrency market value.

The significance of Bitcoin’s Dominance extends beyond a simple numerical value; it offers insights into the broader cryptocurrency market:

Market Sentiment Indicator: A high Bitcoin Dominance indicates a preference or shift toward Bitcoin, often suggesting a more risk-averse sentiment in the market. Investors may be gravitating towards the perceived safety and stability of Bitcoin compared to newer or less established altcoins.

Risk Appetite in the Market: Conversely, a lower Bitcoin Dominance can signal an increased risk appetite, where investors are more willing to invest in altcoins; this happens during bullish market conditions where investors search for higher returns, potentially at higher risks.

The Balancing Act: The fluctuation in BTC Dominance is a dance of balance between Bitcoin and thousands of altcoins. When investors pump money into altcoins, Bitcoin’s dominance tends to decrease. When they pull back, seeking the relative safety of Bitcoin, its dominance rises.

Reflecting Market Trends: Over time, Bitcoin Dominance has become a tool to gauge the trend of the entire cryptocurrency market. A decreasing dominance might indicate a growing interest in altcoins, possibly due to technological innovations, new project launches, or market speculation.

Historical Overview of Bitcoin Dominance

Bitcoin Dominance Chart

Bitcoin Price Movement chart. Source: https://coinstats.app/coins/bitcoin/

2009–2016: The Dawn of Bitcoin and Emergence of Altcoins

2009: Bitcoin’s inception marked the beginning of the cryptocurrency era, dominating the market with virtually no competition. Initially, Bitcoin’s dominance was at a staggering 99%, reflecting its status as the sole player in the digital currency space.

2013 Onwards: As the crypto market matured, the introduction of altcoins (alternative cryptocurrencies to Bitcoin) began. These early altcoins slowly started to chip away at Bitcoin’s market share, though Bitcoin remained overwhelmingly dominant. By 2013, its dominance had slightly decreased to about 94%.

2017–2018: The ICO Craze and Ethereum’s Ascent

2017: This year marked a pivotal shift in the crypto landscape with the ICO boom. A flood of new cryptocurrencies entered the market, fueled by the rising popularity of Ethereum and smart contract capabilities.

2018: The altcoin market cap surged, driven by investor enthusiasm and speculation in these new ICOs. This period saw Bitcoin dominance sharply decline, hitting a low of around 38% in 2018, as investors diversified their portfolios beyond Bitcoin.

2019–2020: Market Correction and Bitcoin’s Resurgence

After the frenzy of the ICO boom, many of the newly emerged cryptocurrencies failed to sustain, leading to a market correction. During this period, we witnessed a shift towards Bitcoin as people saw it as a more stable and reliable asset amidst the volatility. Bitcoin’s dominance began to recover, reflecting a renewed investor confidence in it as a digital store of value.

2021: The Rise of DeFi and Market Diversification

The crypto market experienced another paradigm shift with the rise of DeFi. This innovation in the altcoin sector, primarily driven by Ethereum and its ecosystem, attracted significant capital.

The DeFi summer, as popularly known, further diversified the crypto market. Bitcoin dominance dipped below 50%, indicating a balanced interest between Bitcoin and the burgeoning world of DeFi and other altcoins.

2022: Stabilization and Altcoins’ Enhanced Utility

In 2022, Bitcoin dominance exhibited a more stable trend, fluctuating between 40% to 50%. This stability indicated a maturing market where investors balanced their holdings between Bitcoin and various altcoins.

The growing utility of altcoins, with applications in areas like DeFi, NFTs and real-world asset (RWA) tokenization, continued to attract investor interest, maintaining a healthy diversification in the market.

Throughout these years, Bitcoin’s dominance has been more than just a metric; it has narrated the story of the cryptocurrency market’s growth, evolution, and investor sentiment. This journey through time showcases the constant ebb and flow of dominance between Bitcoin and the ever-expanding universe of altcoins.

Factors Influencing Bitcoin Dominance

Bitcoin Price Volatility: A Crucial Driver

The price of Bitcoin is a primary factor affecting its market capitalization. Increasing its price could lead to a higher market share, especially if altcoins don’t mirror this growth. Fluctuations in Bitcoin’s price often echo the overall sentiment in the cryptocurrency market. Rising prices signal increasing trust and boost Bitcoin’s dominance.

Altcoin Market Cap: The Balancing Force

Altcoins gaining traction, particularly during innovation surges or popular new projects, can diminish Bitcoin’s market share. When prominent altcoins see significant price rises, they collectively impact Bitcoin’s dominance, particularly if Bitcoin’s price is stable or marginally increasing.

The Growing Role of Stablecoins

The rising use and creation of stablecoins like USDT, USDC, and BUSD contribute to a larger cap, affecting Bitcoin’s relative market share. Investors often turn to stablecoins as a haven during market volatility, influencing investment distribution between Bitcoin and altcoins.

Market Trends: The Bull and Bear Impact

Investors in bull markets are often more open to risk, opting for altcoins in the hope of higher returns, which can decrease Bitcoin’s dominance. In contrast, bear markets typically see a shift towards Bitcoin as a more secure option than altcoins, potentially increasing its dominance.

Introduction of New Cryptocurrencies: Expanding the Horizon

Each new cryptocurrency entry contributes to the total altcoin market cap. As more projects emerge, Bitcoin’s proportion of the total market can decrease. New and innovative cryptocurrencies can attract significant interest and investment, changing the market dynamics away from Bitcoin.

Shortcomings of Bitcoin Dominance as an Indicator

Navigating the Ever-Growing Crypto Universe

Rapid proliferation of new cryptocurrencies is a hallmark of this dynamic market. This constant expansion tends to dilute Bitcoin’s market share, not because of a decline in Bitcoin’s value but due to the increasing array of alternatives.

As the crypto space becomes more diverse with each new cryptocurrency, Bitcoin’s dominance might drop even when its market value remains stable. This shift points to a potential misalignment in Bitcoin dominance as a true reflection of market preference over time.

Unpacking the Market Cap Metric

A considerable amount of Bitcoin is either lost or sitting unused in old wallets, which might lead to an inflated perception of Bitcoin’s market capitalization and, consequently, its dominance.

Market capitalization only tells part of the story, especially regarding liquidity. A high market cap cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin, could face liquidity issues, an essential factor for traders and investors. This gap indicates that Bitcoin dominance might not fully encapsulate the market’s dynamics.

The Pitfalls of Solely Relying on Bitcoin Dominance

Relying solely on Bitcoin dominance can give a limited view of the crypto market. It’s essential to incorporate a variety of metrics to gain a comprehensive market perspective.

Using Bitcoin dominance as the only tool for analysis could lead to misinterpretations. For instance, a drop in dominance doesn’t always signify a weakening of Bitcoin but could indicate rising interest in new and innovative altcoins.

Trading Strategies Based on BTC Dominance

Strategy 1: Identifying Altcoin Season Using BTC Dominance Trends

Altcoin Season is when altcoins outperform Bitcoin; this usually happens when BTC dominance declines, suggesting a shift in market interest towards altcoins.

A significant reduction in BTC dominance, especially when Bitcoin’s price is stable or increasing, often signals the start of an Altcoin Season. Traders can look for these patterns to reallocate their portfolios, favoring altcoins.

Use tools like TradingView to analyze BTC dominance charts. Align this analysis with Bitcoin’s price trends to determine the market’s direction and identify potential altcoin opportunities.

Strategy 2: Trading at Extreme High and Low BTC Dominance Levels

Historical extremes in Bitcoin dominance have shown to be potential indicators of market shifts. For example, a dominance nearing 75% might indicate a future dip in Bitcoin’s price, while a dominance approaching 35% might suggest an impending rise.

When BTC dominance hits these extreme levels, traders might consider adjusting their portfolios accordingly – perhaps buying Bitcoin as its dominance lowers and looking to altcoins as its dominance peaks. It’s important to note that these extremes are relatively rare.

Combining BTC Dominance with Other Market Indicators

While BTC dominance is a valuable indicator, don’t use it in isolation. Combining this metric with other indicators like price trends, volume, market news, and technological developments in altcoins provides a more comprehensive view.

Sole reliance on Bitcoin dominance can lead to misjudgments. For instance, a decrease in dominance doesn’t necessarily mean Bitcoin is performing poorly; it might indicate that altcoins are experiencing significant growth.

The cryptocurrency market is highly volatile and influenced by numerous factors. Using a combination of indicators allows traders to adapt quickly and make well-informed decisions.

The Phenomenon of Altcoin Season

The onset of the Altcoin Season is often linked to a decline in Bitcoin dominance, especially when Bitcoin’s price remains robust. This shift signals a growing investor interest in altcoins. This period is marked by a notable uptick in altcoin prices, usually following a bullish trend in Bitcoin. As investors seek to diversify, they move their gains from Bitcoin into various altcoins, boosting their value. The early signs of Altcoin Season is when a significant proportion of leading altcoins (75% of the top 50) begin to outshine Bitcoin over a set timeframe, such as 90 days.

Investment Tactics in Altcoin Season

Diversification becomes key during Altcoin Season. Investors may benefit from spreading their investments across a selection of promising altcoins. Doing homework is crucial. Investing in altcoins with strong fundamentals and potential is essential, as the altcoin market is vast and varied. Altcoins can offer high returns but also carry greater risks. Investors should be strategic about their entry and exit points and employ risk management tactics to safeguard their investments.

Bitcoin Dominance: A Key Indicator in Altcoin Season

Monitoring Bitcoin dominance is instrumental in predicting the start of the Altcoin Season. A consistent decrease in BTC dominance often heralds this lucrative phase.

Keeping an eye on the peaks and troughs of Bitcoin dominance aids in understanding the market’s inclination towards either Bitcoin or altcoins. Typically, Altcoin Season reaches its zenith when BTC dominance is at a low. Beyond timing, Bitcoin’s dominance also reflects the broader market sentiment. A lower dominance typically suggests a heightened risk appetite, with investors leaning more toward altcoins.

Altcoin Season is a dynamic and potentially rewarding period in the crypto market that demands an astute understanding of market trends, especially Bitcoin dominance. Coupled with thorough market research and savvy investment strategies, it presents an opportunity for those looking to maximize their returns in the diverse world of cryptocurrencies.


Understanding Bitcoin’s dominance is crucial for anyone diving into the crypto market’s depths. It is a key indicator, shedding light on Bitcoin’s standing against a growing array of altcoins. However, savvy investors and traders know this metric is just one piece of the puzzle. Combining various market indicators and staying updated with the latest trends is vital to navigating the crypto waters effectively. As the cryptocurrency ecosystem continues to evolve and expand, Bitcoin dominance will persist as an important, yet not exclusive, factor in shaping trading and investment strategies in this dynamic digital currency space.


What is Bitcoin Dominance?

Bitcoin Dominance measures Bitcoin’s market capitalization relative to the total market cap of all cryptocurrencies. It is a percentage.

Why is Bitcoin Dominance important for investors?

Bitcoin Dominance helps investors gauge the market's sentiment towards Bitcoin compared to altcoins, aiding in strategic investment decisions.

Can Bitcoin Dominance predict market trends?

While it can't predict market trends with certainty, Bitcoin Dominance offers insights into the current market dynamics and potential shifts between Bitcoin and altcoins.

Does a high Bitcoin Dominance mean Bitcoin is the best investment?

Not necessarily. A high Bitcoin Dominance indicates market preference towards Bitcoin but doesn't inherently make it the best investment choice for all.

How do altcoin prices affect Bitcoin Dominance?

When altcoin prices collectively rise, especially independent of Bitcoin's price, Bitcoin Dominance typically decreases, indicating a growing interest in altcoins.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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