Bitcoin’s price soared above US$50,000 and the crypto market continues to push above US$2.1 trillion today, led by Ethereum’s most prominent rivals Cardano and Solana. ADA and SOL prices both hit new all-time highs at US$2.88 and US$81.81 respectively.

The crypto markets were booming in the first quarter of the year only to be sent spiraling down in mid-May, when Elon Musk suddenly declared that Tesla would no longer accept Bitcoin as payment due to environmental concerns. After months of price consolidation for Bitcoin and most altcoins, a bull market appears to be returning.

“The current rally in Bitcoin and crypto all around is a great reminder of how quickly the narrative can change,” Justin d’Anethan, head of exchange sales for digital assets firm Eqonex, said in an interview with Forkast.News. “While BTC stagnated in the lower 30K’s, positive news kept piling up, from new funds trading crypto, to payment providers increasing their activity, to new institutions and corporates looking at crypto solutions or looking to hire blockchain experts. Eventually, this triggered the move that took us above 40K and, just now, back above 50K.”

Crypto market rises with Bitcoin price

Bitcoin’s price has recorded a 24-hour high of US$50,419.36, after three days of failing to pass the US$50,000 resistance level, marking the first time BTC has broken the threshold since May 15 this year.

While retail investors panicked following May’s crypto market crash and fled the scene, institutions and professional investors began to accumulate Bitcoin, and the crypto market’s resurgence did not surprise most exchange analysts in Asia.

“When Bitcoin crashed from $65,000 all the way down to $30,000, there was already the expectation that this would be an accumulation phase, which ended up lasting about 100 days,” Ben Caselin, head of research for AAX, a Singapore-based crypto exchange, told Forkast.News in an interview. “It was very clear according to on-chain metrics that the long-term holders were accumulating, buying the dips from the weaker hands.”

Hunain Naseer, a senior analyst for Asia-based crypto exchange OKEx, agreed that his team had noted a lot of buying interest, but for him the real story is Bitcoin’s resilience throughout the sideways run.

“If we look at the 60-day period from May 19th to near the end of July, we see that Bitcoin has really stayed above the $30,000 level most of the time, and this floor was tested at least three times,” said Naseer in an interview with Forkast.News. “When Bitcoin bounced near the end of July from $30,000 it hasn’t really stopped since then, and that’s when the crypto market overall started to go up.”

From here, both analysts expect to see Bitcoin’s price hold above the US$50,000 mark, which AAX’s Caselin believes is a “psychological and legitimizing barrier” for the crypto market, one that will soon incentivize the retail market to get back into the game and drive prices even higher.

Meanwhile, with Bitcoin having secured its position as a potential reserve currency, the battle is now beginning for the smart contracts space, currently dominated by Ethereum, with rivals Solana and Cardano leading the pack with new all-time highs today.

Cardano and Solana take on Ethereum

Cardano is now once again the third-biggest cryptocurrency with a market cap exceeding US$90 billion, sitting just below Bitcoin and Ethereum. Meanwhile Solana has cemented its top 10 position with a market cap of over US$21 billion. Both Solana and Cardano have been marketed as potential rivals to Ethereum, which currently hosts the vast majority of decentralized finance (DeFi).

Solana’s price hit a new all-time high of US$81.81, with SOL’s latest surge largely  attributed to its entry into the NFT space and new cross-chain bridge Wormhole.

“With a fully fleshed out ecosystem already in existence on Ethereum, many are looking to get in on the ground floor — so to speak — with NFTs on Solana,” Adam James, senior editor of OKEx insights, told Forkast.News in an interview. “Additionally, the Solana Foundation has been heavily marketing the supposed Ethereum killer. Solana now has a paid emoji on its Twitter hashtags and was also a sponsor of the Lollapalooza festival. This has certainly gone a long way in promoting Solana to a wider audience — though it will take more than marketing to ever actually supplant the first-mover, Ethereum.”

Cardano’s ADA token has also hit a new all-time high price of US$2.88, but unlike Solana’s blockchain ecosystem, which has started to truly enter DeFi and NFTs — Cardano still has no real utility despite ADA’s market cap being four times the size of Solana.

“Rather than making a fundamental argument, I think the price surge comes down mainly to community strength and to marketing,” AAX’s Caselin said.

Lead Cardano developers at Input Output Hong Kong recently announced a timeline for the “Alonzo” upgrade, targeting Sept.12 for the final release date, which will usher in the smart-contract functionality and allow ADA’s to be utilized in DeFi.

As projects with a strong community, Caselin believes both Solana and Cardano prices are destined for previously unseen heights later in the year.

“People are waiting on the sidelines. We know that certain projects are going to perform very well and the moment the bull market is confirmed and Bitcoin shows its true colors over the coming months, people are going to jump in to Solana and Cardano,” Caselin said. “I think we’re going to see them battle, you know, further in the year and the real battle will begin between Cardano, Ethereum and Solana.”