It’s the last day of 2018. And what a year it’s been for crypto. As we look ahead to 2019, here are some of the highlights and lowlights of the last 12 months.
- After coming off its all-time high of $19,666 in December 2017, bitcoin opened 2018 at $13,880. That week saw a high of $17,235 – the peak for bitcoin in 2018. After that, it was all downhill.
- Bitcoin quickly crashed to $6,000 by February and spent most of this year making lower highs, until that $6k support was finally breached. The low for the year has been $3,122 on 15 December, almost exactly a year since the all-time high.
- Despite the fall in price, hashrate – a key indicator of network health – continued to increase all year, peaking above 60 million TH/s. It fell by almost half in the following weeks, before starting to climb again. It’s now well over the 40 million TH/s mark. November and December saw particularly sharp declines in Difficulty, with consecutive falls of 7.39%, 15.13% and 9.56%.
- Thanks to SegWit and transaction batching, network congestion has practically disappeared, Mempool is almost empty and fees are extremely low. In that sense, bitcoin is cheaper to use than ever before.
- After peaking at around a million active addresses at the end of last year, bitcoin apparently lost around half its userbase by this metric. However, active addresses have been stable and even climbing slightly in recent months, currently around 500,000.
- Regulators have cracked down on ICOs, demanding customer refunds and pursuing action against issuers in the courts in a number of cases. However, bitcoin itself has been designated a commodity by US regulators, not a security, and therefore falls under the purview of the CFTC – opening the way for easier adoption.
- The long-awaited ETF has failed to materialise, as the SEC delays repeatedly.
- Institutional finance will have a new on-ramp with Bakkt early in 2019, which will offer physically-settled bitcoin futures.
- And finally… Bitcoin Cash continued its important task of consuming itself from within, as Craig Wright and his Bitcoin Cash Satoshi Vision split off from Roger Ver and Jihan Wu’s Bitcoin Cash ABC. While the acrimonious parting was a catalyst for bitcoin to crash from $6k to $3k, neither protocol has seen significant adoption, blocks are almost empty, and both are rapidly becoming footnotes in the history of digital money.
That’s all from us! Have a great new year, and we’ll be back tomorrow with our first market report of 2019!
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