2018 Was a Bad Year for Cryptocurrencies

On December 15th, 2017 Bitcoin reached an all-time high of $19,650. Since then a lot has changed for the star crypto asset and its contemporaries — and not for the better. Currently Bitcoin is trading south of $4,000 per coin, startups that rode the wave in are starting to crash, and concerns about the security of crypto continue to rise.

While U.S. stocks started to slip into bear territory just this month, the cryptocurrency market has been bearish for all for of 2018. Although the near-$20,000 highs of last December weren’t expected to last there was some hope this summer that Bitcoin had found a natural trading level. After staying in the range of $6,200 to $6,800 for weeks, the currency broke through that floor, sending other coins into turmoil as well. If there’s any good news to be found, Ethereum (Ether) — the second-largest digital asset by market cap — has staged a bit of a rally in recent weeks. It’s currently trading at around $130, up from the $80 range it had slumped to.

Elsewhere in the industry, this year has meant trying times for crypto-related businesses. As a result 2019 could see some of these companies disappear. As former Facebook employee and blockchain advisor Anthony Maguire told Yahoo Finance, “I think you definitely will see companies go bust. Tech startups go bust all the time. Sometimes they get swept under the rug in the sense that people just forget about them.” Further adding to the problem is the number of businesses that gained funding using initial coin offerings (ICOs). According to Chepicam the site DeadCoins lists 934 assets that are no more. However this list does include all kinds of coins, including those deemed to be scams, parody projects, or were hacked.

Speaking of hacks, Forbes reports that the first three quarters of 2018 saw $927 million stolen from cryptocurrency exchanges. Presumably this would mean that the total for the year would exceed $1 billion. Meanwhile helping exchanges patch some of these vulnerabilities also proved profitable for some as The Next Web says that platform HackerOne paid out $878,504 in bug bounties this year.

All in all 2018 was far from the banner year that cryptocurrency enthusiasts would have hoped for. Of course part of that disappointment comes from the astronomical rise many currencies saw last year, which cast a shadow most assets won’t escape for some time. The good news is that, despite the troubles that some coins and companies are currently seeing, it seems likely that the cream will continue to rise to the top. In other words hopefully 2019 will bring fewer distractions for the crypto market and allow worthy assets and businesses to stand on their own.

One big issue with cryptocurrencies is the security. More efforts should be made to reduce hacking and lost stocks.

Yes it was. Does that mean we shouldn’t invest in the falling Bitcoin? I don’t think so. I would invest before the prices go up again. Does it mean we should only invest in Bitcoin? I think investing in 30+ different cryptos is a smarter move. Invest as much as you can afford to lose, do it monthly and leave it there for a few years at least. What do you think, Jonathan?

I think that’s a pretty reasonable strategy. I do believe there’s still money to be made in crypto, it just won’t be a gold rush like last time. That said, that huge boom was necessary for long-term growth and adoption. With that out of the way, now the actual application of these technologies can begin.

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Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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