Crypto Market Cap Skyrockets 64.5% In Q1, Spot Trading Hits Multi-Year Highs

Zinger Key Points
  • Total crypto market cap surged by 64.5%, reaching a new high of $2.9 trillion on March 13, 2024.
  • Ethereum's restaked volume increased by 36%, with 4.3 million ETH engaged in Liquid Restaking Protocols by quarter's end.

Trading volumes on the top 10 centralized exchanges (CEXs) nearly doubled to $4.29 trillion in the first quarter of 2024—the highest level since the last peak in the fourth quarter of 2021.

What Happened: The total cryptocurrency market capitalization mirrored this growth, soaring by 64.5% to achieve a record high of $2.9 trillion on March 13, 2024, according to a CoinGecko report.

This rally was prominently led by major assets such as Bitcoin BTC/USD, which reached a new all-time high of $73,098, and Bitcoin spot exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which hold over $55 billion in assets under management.

Bitcoin’s Remarkable Quarter:

Following the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs in January 2024, Bitcoin experienced a volatile but ultimately upward trajectory.

The flagship cryptocurrency corrected by 16% early in the quarter, dropping to a low of $39,505, before rallying by an impressive 85% to set a new high.

The quarter closed with Bitcoin at $71,247, bolstered by average daily trading volumes that surged by nearly 90% from the previous quarter to $34.1 billion.

Ethereum and DeFi’s Ascendancy:

Ethereum ETH/USD also saw substantial activity, particularly in the area of restaking on platforms like EigenLayer, where restaked ETH volumes grew by 36% to 4.3 million ETH.

This restaking was primarily driven by Liquid Restaking Protocols (LRTs), which are increasingly popular among investors seeking liquidity and yield.

Also Read: Bitcoin Rebounds To $65K, Shakes Off $4M ETF Outflow And Geopolitical Uncertainty

Shifts in Exchange Dynamics:

Binance reaffirmed its position as the dominant player in the CEX market, capturing 50% of the market share by the end of March.

This was a period marked by an influx of new projects and listings, which attracted significant trading volumes.

On the flip side, exchanges like MEXC saw a reduction in market share as trading focus shifted towards major cryptocurrencies like BTC, ETH and newly popular meme coins on the Solana SOL/USD blockchain.

Decentralized Exchanges (DEXs) Diversify:

While CEXs enjoyed robust volumes, the landscape for DEXs evolved with Ethereum’s market share in this segment dropping to below 40%.

Emerging chains like Arbitrum ARB/USD and Base gained traction through strategic incentive programs and significant volume contributions from niche sectors like meme coins.

What’s Next: As the digital asset ecosystem continues to evolve, the insights from Benzinga's Future of Digital Assets conference on Nov. 19 will be crucial in shaping the industry's approach to the challenges and opportunities of this rapidly changing market.

Read Next: Why Bitcoin Could Plummet To $52,000: 10x Research

Image: Shutterstock

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