What happened 

Cryptocurrency trading has been wild over the past month, and the last 72 hours has been no different. Many of the largest cryptocurrencies hit a low in trading late last week only to shoot higher over the weekend. And altcoins were some of the biggest winners

Avalanche (CRYPTO:AVAX) is up an impressive 11.2% in the last 24 hours as of 1:30 p.m. ET, but has jumped a whopping 50.9% in the last weekHarmony One (CRYPTO:ONE) jumped about 20% off its low last week and was up as much as 4% for the day early this morning, although the crypto is currently flat for the day. Cosmos (CRYPTO:ATOM) has jumped 9.2% in the last 24 hours and is up 26.2% since hitting its low on Thursday night.

Symbols for various cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies against a digital background.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what 

As more cryptocurrencies try to find utilities for their tokens, news of partnerships or upgrades can send values soaring. And that's at least one driver of the jump today. 

Last week, Deloitte announced a strategic alliance with Avalanche developer Ava Labs to "enable" a new disaster recovery platform using the Avalanche blockchain. The goal is to help state and local governments demonstrate eligibility for federal emergency funding. This is the kind of use case that if it gets off the ground can add a lot of value to the economy. Avalanche's increase today seems to be a continuation of the move that began on this announcement last week.

Harmony One announced this morning that it can now handle four times the traffic it could before upgrades that went live last week were rolled out. This is intended to increase speed and reduce costs, once again improving utility for the cryptocurrency.

Cosmos is in the middle of HackAtom, a $1 million event aimed at building the Cosmos community. That's helped drive interest in the cryptocurrency and the rise that we've seen lately. 

Now what 

I think the trend that we're seeing here is cryptocurrencies trying to move beyond just trading to being real utilities for the marketplace. They need developers and partners to do that, which is why grant programs and hackathons are very important for building the ecosystem. 

What's not clear yet is which cryptocurrency will ultimately attract the developers and users it needs to thrive. For now, what investors have is extreme volatility, which is currently working in favor of these altcoins, but could turn just as quickly. 

What I'll be looking for is what comes of these partnerships and developments. Do users find items they want to buy with these cryptocurrencies and whether there is a large market for creators? If the answer is yes, they could thrive, but not every cryptocurrency will be a winner long-term. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.