Altcoins Ether, ADA and SOL are outperforming Bitcoin, as the original cryptocurrency continues to contest the psychological level of US$50,000.

Last week, the cryptocurrency market mostly saw flat trading, but with more uncertainty after a great bullish run from the beginning of August. Although Bitcoin has gained more than 5% over the last seven days and had a brief period above the US$50,000 level last night, BTC’s price remains unable to clear the hurdle and is hovering in the mid US$49,000 range.

Meanwhile, smart contract blockchains continue to move further into the green. Ether’s price hit a three-month high of US$3,836.87 and Ethereum dominance is rising toward its highest levels, now accounting for over 20% of the total crypto market up from 18% earlier this week. During the same period, Bitcoin’s dominance has fallen from 44.8% to just 41%.  

Lukas Enzersdorfer-Konrad, chief product officer at Bitpanda, told Forkast.News in emailed comments that traders can expect some more bullish price movement from Ethereum in September.

“August has been very profitable for ETH holders as the token rose some 30%. That’s the second straight monthly rally and the largest since April when the price rose by nearly 45%,” Konrad said. “Demand for Ethereum spiked earlier in the month with EIP 1559’s implementation on the 5th of August.”

Cardano the smart bet

Cardano’s ADA cryptocurrency soared on Thursday to rise above $3 for the first time ever, after developers launched upgrades that will allow smart contracts to function on the network.

Cardano’s price hit an all-time high of US$3.10 in the last 24 hours and has solidified its position as the third-biggest cryptocurrency with a market cap exceeding US$94 billion, sitting just below Bitcoin and Ethereum.

ADA’s price previously hit an all-time high on Aug. 20, as ADA investors pushed Cardano’s value higher in anticipation of the Sept. 12 release of the planned “Alonzo” upgrade — a move that would usher in smart-contract functionality on the blockchain and allow Cardano to become a real player in the decentralized finance (DeFi) space.

“After a wild ride from the beginning of August, ADA’s bulls took some time off last week as the price was mostly flat, but still maintaining bullish momentum,” Konrad said. “However, in the last 24 hours, ADA has seen another rise and is now sitting at around US$3. We can probably expect some more action before the official launch of Cardano smart contracts on the 12th of September.”

Ada’s latest price jump to a new all-time high coincided with Cardano developer IOHK tweeting that the Alonzo upgrades had been launched on a test network. The announcement also confirmed the Alonzo upgrade was on track to meet its Sept 12 target.

Solana shines brighter

Fellow Ethereum killer Solana recorded a new all-time high of US$143.43 today, and for now, Sol’s price looks set to continue rising after posting an impressive gain of 73% this week.

Along with SOL’s surge in price, it also moved up another spot to flip leading meme coin Dogecoin (DOGE) and claim seventh on the list of the most valuable cryptocurrencies by total market cap. Solana now has a market cap of over US$40 billion.

Solana’s price rose over 300% over the last 30 days. Starting from Aug. 1 at US$35, SOL has set new all-time high price levels with frequency during that span, to hit another peak today after passing the US$100 mark for the first time on Monday.

Solana is a rising rival to Ethereum, which currently hosts the vast majority of DeFi. Although Ethereum has the first-mover advantage over other smart contract blockchains, the network has struggled with congestion which has in turn driven up gas fees for transactions — particularly as the current NFT market continues to boom.

Solana is fast becoming a DeFi darling, and is purpose-built for DeFi and smart contract functionality with a more energy-efficient blockchain that offers speedy transaction times and low fees. The SOL token’s price rise in recent weeks is attributed in part to growing DeFi and NFT activity on the platform, suggesting it is catching on with the wider DeFi developer and user crowd.