Bitcoin Exchange Guide Recounts the Major Crypto Market Events of 2018
After 2017 ended in a price surge that brought huge profits to anyone even remotely invested into crypto, many were expecting that 2018 will be the same, or maybe even better. However, the year has been dominated by bearish markets, huge losses, headlines regarding hacking attacks, crypto regulations, and news of highly-anticipated projects being postponed.
Now, in the final days of 2018, let's take a look back and see what marked the year of 2018 in terms of crypto, and what impact these events had on the emerging digital currency space.
Billions Of Dollars Lost Right At The Start
While 2017 was the year when crypto trend grew, and prices mirrored this effect, 2018 was the total opposite in terms of value. The first days of the year have seen the last remnants of growth, and Bitcoin even managed to exceed $20,000 per coin. Soon enough, however, the market crashed, and this price now seems like nothing more than a distant memory.
The top 10 coins lost a lot of their value in following months, with the total crypto market cap dropping by around $600 billion in the first half of the year. After seemingly reaching stability that lasted for a few months, the market crashed again in mid-November, and they continued dropping until mid-December, where a slight surge that lasted one week brought what might be delicate stability.
South Korea Regulating Crypto Space
Another consequence of a successful 2017 was the increase in exposure for crypto. With thousands of new investors flooding the space, countries around the world concluded that it is time to start seriously considering crypto regulations. While numerous governments around the world started working on the issue, it appears that South Korea may be the most successful in bringing these concepts to reality.
January 2018 was dominated by headlines of price decline and South Korean court decisions which finally gifted Bitcoin with an official economic value. The country did more than that, however, and they introduced a cryptocurrency account system which also banned the anonymous trading of digital assets.
Hacking Attacks Hit Numerous Exchanges
Despite positive development in South Korea, this is not the only Asian country that has made crypto-related headlines. Japan was also mentioned quite often, especially due to hacking attacks that hit its crypto exchanges. Coincheck was the first on hackers' hit list, and after being compromised, it lost anywhere from $400-534 million worth of NEM. The attack occurred on January 26, and it marked yet another historic exchange hack. However, the loss did not have as large an effect as it was expected.
Then, in April, another large attack took place, this time targeting the wallet belonging to an Indian crypto exchange, Coinsecure. The breach resulted in a theft of around $2.7 million in BTC. The exchange blamed CSO Amitabh Saxena, stating that it had a role in this incident. Finally, in September, Indian law enforcers decided to make a move and file charges against several suspects, claiming that the crime was helped by an insider.
ICOs Failing Due To Unfriendly Conditions
With crypto boom happening in late 2017, a lot of new projects ended up being conceived, and numerous startups hoped to use the trend and investors' willingness to invest in any coins they can find for gathering funds. However, as soon as 2018 kicked off, these projects started seeing a lot of trouble. Not only did the prices decline and the massive cash flow suddenly decreased, but agencies like the US SEC and CFTC cracked down on ICO as well.
These agencies had numerous busts on various projects, many of which received cease and desist orders. As soon as in February 2018, reports about failed projects started arriving, one of which claimed that around 47% of ICOs that started in 2017 already failed. The crackdowns continued throughout the year, and they started occurring in the entire world. Even some celebrities that got involved in ICOs ended up paying for it, even if they only promoted these projects.
Venezuela's struggling economy is already well-known around the world, and due to harsh conditions, the country's government decided to introduce the first state-backed crypto this year. The coin is called Petro, and it was launched in February 2018. To this day, no one is actually sure if the project works, however, Nicolas Maduro, the country's president, has pointed out advantages of going crypto numerous times.
In November 2018, Petro's price was nearly tripled, while the Ministry of Communication and Information came up with a law that allows the currency to be used for commercial transactions. The decision to “toy around” with a so-called multi-asset backed crypto while the entire country is struggling was criticized by many, but the project still remains alive, although the effects have yet to be seen.
The Bitcoin ETF Dilemma
Despite the massive drop in value, the crypto space did attract a lot of attention, and institutional investors finally became interested. Crypto supporters were waiting for months to see whether or not the US SEC will approve Bitcoin ETF applications, which the regulator continuously delayed. In July 2018, one such application was filed by the CBOE, in cooperation with Vaneck and SolidX. This application was believed to have a chance with the SEC, and that it will not be rejected like all the others.
However, as mentioned, the SEC continued to postpone the decision, and the date eventually got pushed further into 2019. The same happened with the Bakkt exchange project, which is expected to bring daily futures contracts. The trading was originally supposed to start in December 2018, but it got postponed and is currently expected to arrive in late January.
Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork
Finally, one of the largest impacts of the crypto market came in mid-November, after Bitcoin Cash had its second hard fork. The first one was performed successfully in the spring of 2018, and it brought numerous new features which brought a lot of additional development to the project. The second one, however, resulted in a blockchain split and the creation of a new coin — Bitcoin SV. The split was caused due to disagreement within the BCH community regarding the BCH update, and the two coins are currently steadily moving away from the event.
What Does The Future Hold For Crypto?
2018 was definitely an eventful year for crypto, despite many difficulties that the entire crypto space had to go through. Many believe that the next year will be a prosperous one, and maybe even the first of many that are about to arrive.
Many interesting events with potentially significant consequences are expected in 2019, including Bitcoin ETF approval, the launch of Bakkt, and continuation of projects' development. While no one can predict what will actually happen regarding any of these or other projects, investors still remain hopeful.