2018 was not a great year for cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, plunged nearly 75 percent in the year to date. In December 2017, bitcoin was worth nearly $20,000. Now, as 2018 draws to a close, it clocks in at less than $3,875.
Other crypto firms also are struggling to stay afloat. The price of Ethereum fell from more than $1,000 at the close of 2017 to just over $100 today. Crypto-adjacent companies, like American bitcoin mining business Gigawatt, filed for bankruptcy. The blockchain-powered social media platform Steemit recently laid off 70 percent of its staff.
As the prices of cryptocurrencies drop, mining them becomes less profitable, and investor interest wanes. Part of the reason for that decline was the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) rejection of a bitcoin, ETF, back in August. Another was lack of security in the system: Nearly a billion dollars in cryptocurrencies were stolen from exchanges in the first half of 2018 alone, according to reports.
Still, bitcoin celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2018, demonstrating that the currency had the staying power to weather a bad year. What’s more, early investors who bought the coin at just over $100 in 2013 have seen a return that knocks investing in blue-chip companies or most indices out of the park.
Some crypto analysts find reasons to be hopeful in 2019; others not so much. Below are three predictions for the coming year…
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