The dawning of 2018 ushered in the beginning of the inevitable corrective response to Bitcoin’s meteoric fourth-quarter price explosion. While volatility has been reduced in the last months, some commentators maintain that the realization of true equilibrium could still be a distant reality. Market pessimism aside, the last year played host to some remarkable events that will surely affect the future of the entire crypto industry. Let’s take a glance backward and recap some of the significant events that took place in the last year.
Altcoins’ peak and abrupt failure
After Bitcoin reached its historic high of $20k per 1 BTC in December 2017, other participants of the market followed suit, albeit with a slight delay. Total crypto market cap reached its highest peak on January 7th, 2018 with an overall capitalization of almost $832 billion.
However, such speedy growth proved to be unsustainable as an equally abrupt correction followed – total market cap faced an incredible loss of nearly 70% in a single month.
After such a sharp decline, the market looked to produce slight gains during the year, however, it never regained even a shadow of its initial peak.
Top 3 ICOs in 2018
2017 went down in history as the year of the ICO due to the massive spike in popularity harbored by this new method of fundraising. 2018 saw regulators scrambling to keep up with the phenomenon, leading to the prescription of legislative responses that vary drastically in scope and content across jurisdictions. Despite the regulatory uncertainty, 3 major ICOs took place in 2018 which shattered the capital-raise ceiling of the previous year.
This project conducted its ICO for an entire year, managing to raise more than $4 billion during the period. A platform for decentralized app (dApp) creation, EOS possesses a number of benefits over competing platform Ethereum, though the later was utilized by the majority of ICOs in 2018. Inherent facets such as instant transactions, zero fee structures, and payment reversal in the case of nefarious or fraudulent transactions positions EOS with a chance to assume the role of the industry standard for the future of the dApp-sphere.
Venezuela has become one of the first countries to issue a government-backed cryptocurrency: ‘el petro’. The main goal behind the move was to provide the country with a vehicle to evade the sanctions of the US and to overcome the pitfalls of hyperinflation. Though this token managed to raise a staggering amount of capital, it has been marred by scandal and accusations of large-scale fraud.
The founder of the most private and secure instant messaging app conducted a successful ICO in 2018, though, in contrast to the previous two examples it took the form of a private token pre-sale with a stark reliance on institutional investors. The funds are now reportedly being used for further development of the app.
Security tokens on the rise
A major problem with utility tokens is that they don’t fit easily into existing regulatory frameworks. On the other hand, the laws for securities are much more navigatable. Further, in search of a vehicle with broader potential applications, most of the new projects that utilize the coin issuing model for fundraising have switched to security tokens.
New stable coins
Until recently, a single stable coin occupied the lions share of the relevant market: Tether. Due in no small part to the opacity of its business operations, however, the company was pressed into the corner by authorities; demand for a more diverse pantheon of stable coins was sparked.
The market answered by offering a whole set of new stable coins such as PAX, TUSD, USDC issued by Circle, GUSD issued by Gemini Exchange and many more.
Due to cryptocurrency’s volatile nature and the market demand for stability, the upcoming year may yet bring us even more stable coins.
Bitcoin Cash hard fork
Last but not least, a further massive event of the passing year was the release of Bitcoin Cash hard forks, Bitcoin SV (Satoshi Vision) and Bitcoin-ABC.
The main reason behind this division is declared to be the split within the project’s team into two camps because of disagreements on the software upgrades. Commentators are quick to point to this split as a major source for the continued volatility in the crypto markets.
Despite the current downtrend, the long-term outlook for the cryptocurrency market is still positive. Many state-backed companies think of implementing blockchain into their operations and some of the institutional investors are positive on this new technology.
Most of the altcoins that occupied top spots on CoinMarketCap at the beginning of 2018 will likely perish in history, though projects with innovative ideas and real staying power, such as EOS, will likely survive this so-called crypto winter and could flower in the new year. Further, 2019 might finally bring us the much-anticipated Ethereum upgrades promised by chief Vitalik. To be sure, 2019 has the potential to be a banner year for the crypto industry as a whole. The bear market should work to cut the fat and leave us with projects that are fundamentally sound and have the potential to address real-world problems. Onward and upward!