One may have noticed that ETH and ZRX are “mooning” and NEO, TRX, ARK, and a few others are holding up well. These all have something in common.
What do they have in common? They are all ways to avoid centralization in cryptocurrency trading. In simple terms, they are all networks like Ethereum’s or important protocols related to those networks that allow for a decentralized crypto economy (this isn’t entirely true of Bitcoin, because Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer payment system, not a platform for building apps around that system like Ethereum is).
With just Ethereum (its token being Ether or ETH) and Zero-ex (0x, its token being ZRX), for example, you can have a fully decentralized (from states, not from developers) economy and trading platform. Add in a stable coin from the Ethereum network, and you have a stable currency too.
NEO and TRX are like Ethereum; they are smart contract platforms. With ARK you can bridge different protocols.
I think these have been seeing price action because people see the advent of Bitcoin futures, adoption by institutional investors, and potential regulations (like Ether as a security, which means that all those coins are potential securities) that moving away from a centralized system is something that needs to happen sooner rather than later.
It is either that glass half full version or, it is the glass half empty version. “Expecting the inevitable regulation of ICOs, people with deep pockets decided to pump tokens likely to be affected by the regulations, so they can sell the top, then let the tokens drop upon the actual news of regulation, so they can then buy them again at the bottom, and then pump them again, etc.”
It is likely that both of those are true at once. Perhaps seeing the organic demand, pumpers gravitated toward those coins. However, from a glass half full perspective, I like to think that the basket of coins we are seeing in a rotation right now speaks first and foremost to their potential as technologies and not as to a strategy for maxing profits via speculation.