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These lesser-known cryptocurrencies are driving the market to new heights

Cryptocurrency
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The continued crypto (opens in new tab) bull run has pushed the combined value of all major digital currencies beyond $2 trillion for the first time.

According to an index (opens in new tab) maintained by CoinGecko, which tracks the price of 6,129 distinct coins, the total crypto market capitalization is up 4.5% in the last 24 hours, outstripping the previous all-time high.

The world’s most famous cryptocurrency Bitcoin accounts for 54.18% of the market’s value and is itself now worth more than $1 trillion. However, the most recent bump can be attributed in large part to a group of lesser known cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrency market

The arrival at the new $2 trillion milestone comes just three months after the cryptocurrency market capitalization exceeded $1 trillion for the first time, highlighting the industry’s extreme rate of growth.

Although the spectacular rise in the price of Bitcoin is responsible for much of the growth since November last year, the world’s largest cryptocurrency has stalled somewhat in recent weeks.

Instead, a groundswell effect is driving up the price of a number of altcoins (opens in new tab), which are said to be responsible for driving the crypto market past this latest landmark valuation.

The cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain, Ether, reached a new all-time high of $2,150 at the end of last week and has recorded a price increase close to 1,200% over the last twelve months.

Other popular altcoins, such as XRP, Stellar and Tron have also registered significant growth over the past few days as enthusiasm for platforms with DeFi (opens in new tab) and smart contract (opens in new tab) functionality grows.

As ever, a major market correction remains a possibility, posing a risk for investors unlucky enough to come in at the peak. Given the volatility of cryptocurrencies as an asset class, first-time buyers are advised to only invest as much as they can afford to lose.

Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.