Bitcoin’s annus horribilis draws to a close

BitcoinAnd so, 2018 draws to a close. It’s been an eventful year for cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, but the value of Bitcoin has not been a highlight. It’s certainly been a year to forget for the market leading cryptocurrency, with massive drops in price from December 2017 onwards and a joint record losing streak.

Bitcoin’s Year in Numbers

For December, Bitcoin racked up its fifth consecutive monthly loss, ending the year at $3689. The last time the currency fell so consistently was back in 2011. From the dizzy heights of $20,000, the currency has lost 80% of its value, with trading volumes shrinking and talks of tulip-gate abound. Of course, if you invested in Bitcoin back in 2011, you’ll probably likely still be very happy and very rich, as the price back then was only $20. But all things being relative, there will have been a lot of major losers this year.

Among those losers could be Mike Novogratz, the long-time Bitcoin bull who predicted that the cryptocurrency would hit $40,000 in 2019. And John McAfee’s now legendary bet that Bitcoin would reach $1 million, currently looks even worse than it did when he made it back in 2017.

And yet there is still a lot of optimism. While those who have had their hands burned in 2018 might have stepped back, there are still a number of developments to keep an eye on in 2019. The rise of stablecoins could – if you’ll excuse the pun – have a stabilizing effect on out-and-out independent cryptocurrencies, with many viewing them as a bridge between crypto and fiat. The ICO market is still very much in refinement too, and there is still clear potential for massive numbers there.

Perhaps the most interesting development though, is in the smartphone world. HTC have got themselves a blockchain-based browser and Samsung, despite denying that their upcoming Galaxy S10 will have a native crypto wallet, have in recent weeks filed for patents in the UK and the EU, which suggest otherwise. If mobile phone companies do decide to focus on crypto apps in 2019, the market could well explode thanks to the added convenience that smartphones bring, as well as the wider market.

Another consideration is that 2019 could be the year of regulation. With prominent governments such as the US, the UK and members of the EU researching and investigating for a prolonged period of time, there could be an ultimate ruling at any time. Perhaps of the most interest is the US SEC, who are yet to provide definitive guidelines on ICOs. There have been an increased number of cease and desist orders, but this could have a positive effect on the ICO market, weeding out the imposters and the ill-thought out flights of fancy, leaving behind a more trustworthy and therefore more investable pool of fundraisers to choose from.

There are never any quiet years in crypto anymore – and 2019 promises to be no different.

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