What is ‘Altseason’ & how do I make the most of it?


Altseason is a brief period where money flows out of Bitcoin & into altcoins, resulting in a significant & rapid price increase for the majority of cryptocurrencies.

Understanding Altseason

Altcoin season, or ‘Altseason’, is the home of face-melting gains & high volatility. It’s pretty much Christmas for crypto traders.

Within a brief period (usually a few weeks or months), the prices of altcoins (all coins besides Bitcoin) skyrocket as investors move their money out of Bitcoin and into other cryptocurrencies.

Once prices start to rise, FOMO investment kicks in, causing a snowball effect which drives altcoin prices even higher to astronomical (and often overvalued) heights for a short period of time.

Many investors can make the majority of their profits for the year during an Altseason if they are able to sell their altcoins before Altseason ends and prices fall back to earth (as money is moved back into Bitcoin).

What causes an Altseason?

Often, after Bitcoin experiences an exponential move in price, it consolidates and move sideways for a while. This leads investors to look for more lucrative places to put their money. They typically trade in their Bitcoin for Ethereum and other promising altcoins, reducing the amount of the total crypto market share allocated to Bitcoin and causing an Altseason to occur.

Bitcoins & Altseason

Put simply, Altseason begins when altcoins start to outperform Bitcoin (when prices of alts rise in comparison to Bitcoin), and Altseason ends when Bitcoin outperforms altcoins. 

However, this does not mean that when Bitcoin’s price goes down alts automatically go up. In fact, historically, Bitcoin has tended to lift altcoins when it rises and also bring them down after a major crash, with the price of Bitcoin and altcoins often being closely correlated. Previous bull markets have generally seen Bitcoin enjoy an uptrend before altcoins join the wave and head for the moon.

Key Takeaways
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How to take advantage of Altseason?

The key to taking advantage of Altseason is to have your money in altcoins before Altseason begins, or just as it is beginning. Pay close attention as prices begin to rise, and make sure you sell out from most of your positions before Altseason ends and prices fall as quickly as they rose – don’t worry about trying to sell at the very peak, just take profits on the way up and be ready for things to end as quickly as they begun!

Top tips for navigating Altseason

Altseason is often the most lucrative time during a crypto market cycle, however, it is also the most volatile time. As the potential for gains rises so does your risk. Here are some tips to keep in mind during an Altseason:

What are the main reasons people buy altcoins?
  1. To increase their Bitcoin holdings – many investors’ strategy is simply to amass as much Bitcoin as they can. Often this means moving their money out of Bitcoin and into altcoins before Altseason begins, and then selling those altcoins for Bitcoin around the peak of Altseason.

  2. To hold for the long term – although many altcoins have yet to prove their value and longevity in the market, over time some will inevitably see exponential gains. Given the fact that some altcoins can provide incredible utility to the market, their appreciation over a number of years can be significant if things go well for them. 100X gains is not uncommon in the world of altcoins and holding long-term is a common strategy.
What is Bitcoin dominance?

Bitcoin Dominance is the percentage amount of the total crypto market share/cap (all the money in crypto) that belongs to Bitcoin. Basically, it represents how many people in the market are currently buying and holding Bitcoin compared to other altcoins.

Bitcoin Dominance increases when more people buy or simply hold Bitcoin. When investors sell Bitcoin, Bitcoin Dominance falls, often causing an Altseason. You can find the Bitcoin Dominance chart here.  

How does Bitcoin dominance relate to Altseason?

Bitcoin dominance is one of the key metrics traders use to know when to buy/sell their altcoins.  

Stocking up on altcoins when Bitcoin dominance is in an uptrend isn’t an ideal strategy as people are generally more willing to buy and hold Bitcoin rather than altcoins, meaning they will likely be selling altcoins (driving the price of them down).

Holding Altcoins at such a time would result in both a loss and a significant opportunity cost. Not only do you lose money holding altcoins when Bitcoin dominance is going up (money flowing into Bitcoin), but you also lose the opportunity to make money by holding Bitcoin as its price is rises.

What does it mean for Altseason when Bitcoin dominance decreases?

Bitcoin Dominance decreases when more and more people offload Bitcoin (usually by trading BTC for altcoins or fiat currency).

The best time to be holding altcoins is when Bitcoin dominance is decreasing, and money begins flowing into alts.

Generally, Altseasons have occurred in the past when Bitcoin dominance has had a decline, with the biggest Altseasons (when alts go to the absolute moon in a very short period of time) occurring when Bitcoin’s dominance has experienced the sharpest decline.

However, it is important to note that these two seasons are not black and white. There are still plenty of gains to be made in altcoins even when it isn’t an official ‘Altseason’, and with more money and interest flowing into the space than ever before, it is possible that future bull runs/Altseasons will diverge from past historical patterns.

How does Bitcoin’s actual price (not its dominance) affect the price of altcoins?

While past patterns have suggested that Bitcoin’s dominance and performance in relation to altcoins is a fairly reliable way to predict the start of Altseason, it does not mean that a rise in Bitcoin’s price means a decline in the price of altcoins.  

In crypto, Bitcoin is king and if you zoom out you will see that Bitcoin’s price movements are usually closely correlated and followed by the rest of the market.  In 2018, Bitcoin experienced a crash and all other cryptocurrencies followed suit shortly after. Usually, Bitcoin will undergo a big move to the upside and then the alt market will follow soon after.

What is the Altcoin Seasons Index?

The Altcoin Season Index is a helpful (but not exact) tool to see where we are in relation to Altseason. According to the Altcoin Season Index, if 75% of the Top 50 altcoins performed better than Bitcoin over the last season (90 days), it is Altcoin Season.

They also give an indication of where we are in terms of an Altcoin Month or Year, with an easy to interpret graph that shows the general long-term trends of previous Altseasons.

Altcoin season is not something that’s officially announced at a certain time or date. Nobody knows for sure when it’s upon us, nor when it will end. All we have are certain indicators that can help us know if we have entered Altseason.

Why does Altseason see such huge gains?

FOMO and the snowball effect play a big part. Part of the reason Altseason sees such a dramatic rise in prices is because many new investors see prices beginning to rise, and immediately invest out of FOMO.

This creates a snowball effect which pushes prices higher and higher until they are overvalued and in a bubble. When people realise they are riding a precarious rollercoaster that may crash at any moment, they begin to sell. This causes panic which leads to more mass selling and the price plummeting back down to earth, bringing Altseason to an abrupt end.

When is the top of Altseason/the bull market?

The million-dollar question that no-one can really answer. While crypto markets follow cycles which can be predicted based on past market movements, every bull run is different and it is incredibly difficult predict the very top of Altseason, or any bull run for that matter.

Given the fact that no-one really knows exactly when the top of the bull run or Altseason will be, it is wise to take profits along the way as your portfolio gains value. Dollar-cost-average selling (DCA) can be useful to minimise the impact of the market’s volatility while you invest.

If Bitcoin’s price goes up will altcoins also go up?

Generally, yes. The price of most altcoins is highly correlated with the price of Bitcoin. It is Bitcoin dominance, however, that indicates when Altseason is beginning.

Why are altcoins dependent on Bitcoin?

A major reason that altcoin’s and Bitcoin’s prices are so highly correlated is that many altcoins are purchased with Bitcoin. Bitcoin is often bought before the purchase of an altcoin, pushing the price of both coins up.

Similarly, if someone wants to cash out on an altcoin, many exchanges require you to first sell that altcoin for Bitcoin, and then sell the Bitcoin for cash, which pushes both prices down at the same time.

Another reason the prices are highly correlated is simply because they’re in the same asset class and things that are in the same asset class tend to go up and down together.

What to look out for to predict an Altseason

The most important thing would be a decrease in Bitcoin dominance, usually occurring after an exponential increase and subsequent consolidation. Additionally, relative trade volume, social media activity, mainstream interest, new coin listings and the volume of news articles published from crypto projects seem to be good indicators of when Altseason might be approaching.

What is Ethereum’s relationship to Altseason?

‍Ethereum, seen as the second most trusted cryptocurrency and the silver to Bitcoin’s gold, is at the heart of the altcoin market. The start of bullish moves for Ethereum is often the start of Altseason, especially with so many alts and DeFi projects being built on top of the Ethereum Blockchain.

Generally, after Bitcoin rallies upwards and consolidates, Ether’s price will also need to break out before altcoins can see a sizable rally. 

Can altcoins lift Bitcoin?

Not really. Bitcoin rarely gets boosted by altcoins.

Generally, once altcoins have pumped and claimed dominance from Bitcoin, the steps in to take back the bulk of the crypto market share, marking the end of Altseason.

What is an example of Bitcoin Dominance influencing Altseason?

On December 9, 2017, Bitcoin Dominance had gone from 69% to 37% in the space of just 35 days (which means it went from owning 69% of the total crypto market share to 37% in just over a month).
Looking at the Altcoin market cap chart, December 9 coincides exactly with the beginning of the largest Altseason that crypto had ever seen. The sharper the decline in Bitcoin Dominance, the bigger the spike in Alts.

History also repeated itself on March 30, 2018 when a sharp decline in Bitcoin Dominance from 50 to 38 in 40 days led to a significant increase in the Altcoins market cap.

What have previous Altseasons and bull runs taught us?

Previous bull runs and Altseasons suggest that larger-cap altcoins (starting with Ethereum) pump before smaller-cap altcoins begin moving up. This usually happens after Bitcoin has had a big move up, followed by some sideways movement, causing investors to seek gains in altcoins, thus decreasing Bitcoin dominance and starting the party that is Altseason.

What is the Bitcoin Rainbow chart?

The Rainbow Chart is intended to be a fun way of looking at long term price movements and disregarding the noise of daily volatility. While this chart is far from an exact science, it gives a helpful overview of long-term price patterns and where we seem to be in the current cycle.

Did this answer your question?

Ready to start trading the easy way ?

Simple. Safe. Stress-free

Digital Surge is the easiest way for Australians to buy, sell & store over 250+ cryptocurrencies. With extremely low fees, a uniquely user-friendly interface and a customer-support team you can rely on, getting involved in crypto has never been easier. Sign up today and enjoy safe, stress-free trading.

Crypto-curious? The time you spend here will be the best investment you ever make.