Bitcoin (BTC), Cryptocurrency–Despite the excitement being generated in the space of cryptocurrency, to the tune of a $200 billion market capitalization or about five times that of popular electric car maker Tesla, 2018 has been a decidedly bad year in terms of increasing valuation.
Since reaching a pinnacle in December 2017, when Bitcoin prices soared on an exponential bull run to end the final quarter of the year, BTC and the majority of the altcoin marketplace has seen a steady erosion in price over the last ten months. During that time, there have been numerous stories, indicators and otherwise wishful comments made that the bear cycle will break before the end of 2018, with at least one more bullish leap for BTC before we enter the new year. However, last year’s all time high of near $20,000 is appearing to be more and more of a longshot as we enter the final quarter of the year, with the potential for another exponential increase for the coin also looking dismal. There have been bright spots for Bitcoin valuation, particularly in relation to news surrounding the development of a BTC Exchange Traded Fund.
Prices were able to briefly reverse their downward trend in July and the beginning of August, as more analysts called for the almost certain delivery of a BTC ETF which would signal the entrance of “institutional money” into the crypto markets. While most still predict that an ETF is an inevitable feature in terms of regulation, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission cut into the price excitement with announcements that it had denied the lion’s share of proposals, with decision over frontrunner VanEck’s BTC ETF being delayed multiple times now.
Bitcoin prices fell once again in the aftermath, sticking to their relative floor of $6,000. But the damage appears done, as the coin sits nearly 70 percent down from the last all time high and with little to spark a bullish run in the final months of 2018 apart from an SEC ruling on the aforementioned ETFs.
However, while investors may be disappointed in the price performance of Bitcoin and the altcoin market, 2018 has been anything but a disaster in terms of growing the industry of cryptocurrency. As opposed to pure recognition for the technology of blockchain, which was the common refrain throughout much of 2017 companies are waking up to the uses of crypto on a large scale, with names as large as Volkswagen and IBM taking the plunge. In addition, rumors surrounding a potential crypto-related move by Facebook provide the potential for massive new development in 2019 and beyond, in addition to the reversal of social media bans towards crypto-related ads. In the span of ten months, Bitcoin has gone from a uniform ban across Google, Twitter and Facebook to being a potential source of innovation for the platforms.
For those interested in the development cryptocurrency aside from the fast riches afforded through overnight price appreciation, the slow burn of 2018 could be viewed in a positive light a year from now. The exponential, massive climb in crypto pricing that occurred in the final month of 2017 has proven to be highly unstable–hence the complete erosion in value of the marketplace. Shedding much of that bloated investment over the last year could have the effect of allowing the price to grow more organically in the future, or we could see another leap as investors retrace the gains already baked into the market cap of crypto.
At the very least, a shift away from near obsession over daily price movements for coins plastering popular headlines such as CNBC are better for the long-term growth of an industry that wants to attract real development, as opposed to short-sighted opportunists.