Having decreased sharply this year despite its own price gains, Bitcoin's market cap share versus altcoins looked set to break through support which has held for over three years.
Looking at historical behavior, each time Bitcoin loses the 50% mark, altcoins rapidly move in to pick up the slack, often led by Ether (ETH).
The reshuffling thus sparks an altcoin run which truly fits the description of "alt season" — rapid gains to a peak, followed by a cooling-off period as Bitcoin regains some lost ground. This was the case in both mid 2017 and early 2018.
Should history repeat itself, it would be music to the ears of altcoin investors, many of whom have longclaimed that "alt season" is already underway but has yet to show its true colors.
A race to the top this time around could surprise even them, meanwhile, as many altcoins have already put in unbelievable performances in 2021.
"BTC dominance 51.6%. The magic starts when 50% breaks," popular Twitter account CryptoBull summarized last week.
Market breaks Dogecoin's spell
At the time of writing, Ether in particular was showing no signs of weakness in the face of fresh wobbles for BTC/USD, gaining 6% in 24 hours to approach $2,500 once again.
Others were less optimistic, with the top 50 cryptocurrencies mostly down on the day.
Dogecoin (DOGE), previously the star of the show, continued its slip after hitting all-time highs of $0.44 on some exchanges. DOGE/USD was already down 40% versus the high on Thursday.
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