Quoting Wikipedia, Market cap is given by the formula

MC = N × P   
where N is the number of shares outstanding, and P is the closing price per share.

In the specific case of a crypto currency, one could assume that N is the amount of coins in circulation and P its current value.

How can the image below happen, given that Zcash, being a fork of Bitcoin, cannot (unless I missed something very important) be destroyed, thus N can only grow.

enter image description here Source: coinmarketcap.com, a few minutes before this post

  • 2
    Did you notice in the graph that price is measured in BTC, while market cap is measured in dollars? Your units are inconsistent. Everything in the picture would be completely consistent if the price of BTC (in dollars) fell during the relevant time span. Jan 11, 2017 at 15:09
  • @NateEldredge: Thanks, I had missed that. I've updated my answer.
    – Murch
    Jan 11, 2017 at 16:05

1 Answer 1


As Nate Eldredge pointed out, the chart you're looking at is denominated in BTC, while the market cap is denominated in USD.

If you look at the chart below, you'll see that the price in USD (green) behaves exactly as you describe in your question.

On the other hand, the price in BTC (orange) does not behave like you expected, because it combines the price movement of Bitcoin with the price movement Zcash respective to the Market Cap denominated in USD (blue).

Zcash chart

  • It was so obvious.. Thanks for saving both the website and elementary maths!
    – PPC
    Jan 11, 2017 at 22:05

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