Bitcoin Dominance: Everything to Know

By  Beluga Research August 8, 2023

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  • Bitcoin dominance is the measure of bitcoin's market capitalization relative to the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies
  • This dominance in the cryptocurrency market has fluctuated over time as more cryptocurrencies emerged, challenging bitcoin's position
  • Factors influencing bitcoin dominance include market sentiment, technological advancements, regulatory developments, and the emergence of new project
  • Challenges such as market concentration, lack of diversification, scalability issues, technological limitations, and regulatory scrutiny affect dominance


Bitcoin dominance is the measure of bitcoin's market capitalization relative to the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin dominance serves as a key metric to gauge bitcoin's position in the cryptocurrency market. It quantifies the relative strength and influence of Bitcoin compared to other cryptocurrencies. Essentially, it is the percentage of the total cryptocurrency market value that belongs to bitcoin. This metric provides insights into whether bitcoin is gaining or losing ground compared to other digital assets.

A Brief History

Bitcoin's dominance has fluctuated over time, reflecting the dynamic nature of the cryptocurrency market. In the early days of cryptocurrencies, bitcoin was virtually the only player, enjoying close to 100% dominance. However, as more cryptocurrencies emerged, bitcoin's dominance gradually declined. Altcoins, or alternative cryptocurrencies, gained traction and started to challenge bitcoin's position.

The rise of altcoins was fueled by the desire to address limitations perceived in Bitcoin, such as scalability and transaction speed. Ethereum, with its smart contract capabilities, emerged as a prominent contender, attracting attention and investment. As a result, bitcoin dominance dipped below 50% in 2017, marking a significant shift in the cryptocurrency landscape.

Bitcoin Dominance: Everything to Know

Bitcoin dominance is influenced by several factors, including market sentiment, technological advancements, regulatory developments, and the emergence of new projects. Market sentiment plays a crucial role as investors' confidence and perception of Bitcoin impact its dominance. Positive news, adoption by prominent institutions, or regulatory clarity can boost bitcoin's dominance, while negative events or concerns may lead to a decline.

Technological advancements also impact bitcoin dominance. The development of layer-two scaling solutions, such as the Lightning Network, aims to address Bitcoin's scalability challenges, potentially enhancing its competitiveness. Additionally, the emergence of new consensus mechanisms and blockchain platforms presents alternative options for investors, potentially affecting bitcoin's dominance.

Regulatory developments can have a significant impact on bitcoin dominance. Clarity and supportive regulations in major economies can foster a favorable environment for Bitcoin, attracting investors and boosting its dominance. Conversely, restrictive regulations or bans may hinder Bitcoin's growth and dominance.

The emergence of new projects and cryptocurrencies can disrupt bitcoin's dominance. Innovative blockchain platforms that offer unique features and use cases may attract investors and divert attention from bitcoin. However, it is important to note that bitcoin's first-mover advantage, robust network, and widespread recognition still provide a strong foundation for its dominance.

Getting Started

To grasp the concept of bitcoin dominance, it's important to first understand market capitalization. Market capitalization, often referred to as market cap, is calculated by multiplying the current price of a cryptocurrency by its total circulating supply. It provides a measure of the size and value of a particular cryptocurrency within the market.

Bitcoin dominance is derived by dividing the market cap of bitcoin by the total market cap of all cryptocurrencies combined and then multiplying the result by 100. This calculation yields a percentage that represents bitcoin's dominance over the entire cryptocurrency market.

Unique Aspects

Bitcoin's dominance is influenced by several key factors. Firstly,bBitcoin was the first cryptocurrency and remains the most well-known and widely adopted. Its pioneering status has established bitcoin as the de facto digital currency, leading to its large market share.

Secondly, bitcoin's market dominance is driven by its strong network effects. Network effects occur when the value of a product or service increases as more people use it. Bitcoin's extensive network of users, merchants, and developers creates a robust ecosystem that reinforces its dominant position.

Additionally, bitcoin's limited supply plays a significant role in its dominance. With a maximum supply of 21 million coins, bitcoin is designed to be scarce, which can contribute to its perceived value and desirability. This scarcity factor, coupled with its established history and recognition, contributes to bitcoin's dominance as the preferred store of value within the cryptocurrency market.

Furthermore, Bitcoin's security and decentralized nature are crucial aspects that reinforce its dominance. It operates on a distributed ledger called the blockchain, which is maintained by a network of participants known as miners. This decentralized architecture enhances Bitcoin's resistance to censorship and manipulation, making it a trusted and reliable cryptocurrency.


  • Stability - Bitcoin's dominance brings a certain level of stability to the market. Its long-established position and large market capitalization make it less susceptible to extreme price volatility compared to smaller, less established cryptocurrencies.
  • Liquidity - Bitcoin's dominance also translates into higher liquidity. With a significant portion of trading volume dedicated to bitcoin, it is generally easier to buy and sell bitcoin compared to other cryptocurrencies. This increased liquidity enhances market efficiency and facilitates smoother transactions.
  • Network effect - Bitcoin's dominant position benefits from network effecat. As the most well-known and widely adopted cryptocurrency, bitcoin attracts a large user base, developers and businesses. This network effect strengthens Bitcoin's ecosystem by fostering innovation, driving adoption and increasing the overall utility of the currency.
  • Widely accepted - Bitcoin's dominance ensures widespread acceptance and recognition. It is more likely to be accepted as a form of payment by merchants and businesses compared to other cryptocurrencies. This acceptance fosters mainstream adoption and facilitates the integration of Bitcoin into various industries.
  • Security - Bitcoin's dominance contributes to its security. As the most dominant cryptocurrency, bitcoin has a robust network of miners securing its blockchain. This network of miners ensures the integrity of transactions and protects against potential attacks, making bitcoin a relatively secure store of value.


  • Market concentration - Bitcoin dominance can lead to market concentration, where a significant portion of the market capitalization is held by a few large players. This concentration increases the risk of market manipulation by influential entities, potentially impacting the overall market stability.
  • Lack of diversification - Bitcoin dominance may limit diversification opportunities for investors. With a significant portion of the market dominated by bitcoin, investors may miss out on potential gains from other promising cryptocurrencies that have yet to gain traction.
  • Scalability challenges - Bitcoin's dominance also highlights the scalability challenges faced by the entire cryptocurrency market. As the most widely used cryptocurrency, Bitcoin's network has experienced congestion and high transaction fees during periods of increased demand. These scalability issues can hinder Bitcoin's ability to handle a growing user base and transaction volume effectively.
  • Technological limitations - Bitcoin's dominance can also be seen as a reflection of its technological limitations. While bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency and remains a pioneer in the field, it has relatively slower transaction speeds and higher energy consumption compared to newer blockchain platforms. These limitations may hinder Bitcoin's ability to keep pace with the evolving needs of the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
  • Regulatory scrutiny - Bitcoin's dominance makes it a primary target for regulatory scrutiny. Governments and regulatory bodies often focus their attention on Bitcoin due to its prominence, which can lead to stricter regulations or potential obstacles for businesses and users operating within the Bitcoin ecosystem.