Major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Cardano are entering their third week of moving sideways – but lesser-known altcoins Kusama and Solana are continuing to make a name for themselves.

Kusama, a “risk-taking, fast-moving ‘canary in the coal mine’ for its cousin Polkadot,” was up 11.4 per cent to $US539.08 at 2.18pm AEDT, and had hit an all-time high of $US535.44 about an hour earlier, according to Coingecko.

The coin is up 283-fold in the past year, having changed hands for under $US10 from its launch in September 2019 through last August. In the past two weeks it climbed from being ranked 41st on Coinmarketcap to 24th.

It’s named for Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese pop artist known for her extensive use of polka dots. Polkadot, the No. 6 coin, is a scalable, interoperable cryptocurrency created by Ethereum cofounder Gavin Wood.

Meanwhile Solana (SOL) was up 6.7 per cent to $US18.58, and yesterday hit an all-time high of $US19.28. The high-performance blockchain project has climbed from No. 24 to No. 22 on Coinmarketcap since March 14, with a market capitalisation of just under $US5 billion.

Both Solana and Kusama are so-called “Ethereum killers” that are said to offer higher performance than Vitalkik Buterin’s blockchain project.

The biggest gainer in the top 100 on Coingecko was Harmony (ONE), which climbed 26.1 per cent to 20.9c.

The Graph (GRT), Decentraland (MANA) and Theta Network had also enjoyed double-digit gains in the past 24 hours.

But overall crypto markets were largely quiet on Monday afternoon, with Bitcoin down 0.8 per cent to $US55,400 ($72,780) and Ethereum down 0.7 per cent to $US1,699 ($2,226).

Of the top 100 coins on Coingecko, 44 were up in the past 24 hours and 53 were down.

Crypto market

Bitcoin failed to make a major move on Friday evening despite a record number of options expiring that some had hoped would be a catalyst for the original cryptocurrency.

BTC has traded in the $US50,000s ever since March 15 and according to one metric it is now “altcoin season”.

The Blockchain Center reports that 40 of the top 50 coins have outperformed Bitcoin over the last 90 days, meaning the cryptocurrency market entered altcoin season last week, for the first time since September. (The center’s definition of altcoin season is three-quarters of top 50 cryptos outperforming Bitcoin).

A Brisbane-based cryptocurrency trader who goes by PabloASXco₿ar on Twitter told Stockhead that Bitcoin dominance of the crypto market had been falling all year, despite its new all-time highs.

“The first quarter of reporting season is coming to an end with the market seeming to be hanging on for the last few days to see if any other large companies have put the digital asset onto their books,” he said.

“This in combination with the popular sentiment that ‘altseason’ is starting soon – a fall in BTC, followed by a rise in ETH could alert money to flow out of Bitcoin and into the alt market.”