Cryptocurrencies surged across the board Thursday, with the total crypto market gaining 7.1% on the day. Old forked coins of the industry’s leaders are leading the way.
Despite sharp interest rate hikes and ongoing fears that the U.S. has entered a recession, the cryptocurrency market is rallying today.
The global cryptocurrency market capitalization has risen by 7.1% today, with Bitcoin and Ethereum forks among the top performers. Ethereum Classic, the original Ethereum chain that forked in the fallout from The DAO hack in 2016, has significantly outperformed Ethereum on the rally. According to data from CoinGecko, Ethereum Classic’s ETC is changing hands for $33.46 after surging 22.9% on the day, while Ethereum is up 11.2%. 
One reason for Ethereum Classic’s surge may be Ethereum’s upcoming transition to Proof-of-Stake, otherwise known as “the Merge.” The long-awaited update is tentatively scheduled to go live in mid-September, and Ethereum’s mining difficulty is rising as the date draws nearer. This makes it less profitable for miners to maintain the network. The Merge will also make mining hardware redundant as Ethereum will rely on validators rather than miners to verify transactions. As a result, Ethereum miners have slowly transitioned to mining Ethereum Classic, creating perceived demand for its ETC coin. The “original Ethereum” also gained traction after AntPool, one of crypto’s largest mining pools, announced a $10 million investment to support its ecosystem Wednesday. 
Several 2017-era Bitcoin forks that rose to prominence during crypto’s 2017 market rally have seen similar price action to Ethereum Classic. Bitcoin Gold’s BTG has crossed $26.78 after gaining 22% today, Bitcoin Cash’s BCH has touched $144.10 after rallying 22.3%, and Bitcoin SV’s BSV has hit $61.41 after a 13.3% rise. Bitcoin, which has a larger market capitalization than all of its forks combined, has risen 8% on the same timeframe. While no apparent fundamental catalysts have fueled the rally, miners’ increased interest in older Proof-of-Work coins in the lead-up to the Merge may be a factor.
The cryptocurrency market has seen increased volatility in both directions over the past week, mainly due to the dried-up liquidity and the impact of deteriorating macroeconomic conditions like sharply rising interest rates and declining economic growth on risk-on assets and capital markets. Following today’s surge, the global crypto market capitalization is around $1.1 trillion, roughly 65% short of its November 2021 peak.
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies.
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