Bitcoin's domination of total cryptocurrency market value is declining as its next-biggest rival Ether reaches the $3,000 milestone, suggesting room for more than one winner among digital tokens as the sector evolves.
The largest digital currency now accounts for about 46% of total crypto market value of $2.3 trillion, down from roughly 70% at the start of the year, according to tracker CoinGecko. Second-ranked Ether is up to 15% and a group of others outside the top few has doubled its share over the same period to 36%.
Bitcoin remains the biggest cryptocurrency but the momentum in other tokens is drawing increasing interest, such as Ether, which breached $3,000 for the first time Monday after quadrupling this year. Crypto proponents argue investors are getting more comfortable with a variety of tokens, while critics contend the sector may be in the grip of a stimulus-fueled mania.
"Ethereum is rising and not much seems to be in its way," Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at Oanda Corp., wrote in a note Friday, adding that other tokens were also seeing "fresh interest."
The current distribution of market share also reflects an April shakeout in the cryptocurrency sector. Bitcoin has yet to recover all the ground it lost after tumbling from a mid-April record of almost $64,870.
Last month's listing of crypto exchange Coinbase Global Inc. in the U.S. is the latest sign of how more investors are embracing the sector despite risks from high levels of volatility and expanding regulatory scrutiny.
Ether is currently occupying the limelight. An upgrade of the affiliated Ethereum blockchain as well as the network's popularity for financial services and cryptocollectibles are among the factors cited for the rally.
Evercore ISI strategist Rich Ross has set a target of $3,900 for the token. Ether rose 2.8% to $3,052 as of 1:05 p.m. in Hong Kong on Monday.
Other cryptocurrencies have jumped too. The price of Binance Coin is up 3,460% over the past 12 months, according to CoinGecko. Dogecoin, a token started as a joke in 2013 but now a social-media favorite touted by the likes of Elon Musk, has surged 15,000% to a market value of around $50 billion.