Past 2017-th year, no doubt, can be called the «year of bitcoin»: all of a sudden, and even for most holders of bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency showed for the year 20-fold increase, leaving far behind all traditional assets.
The main achievement of the year was not so much a record cost, how much is caused by her growing popularity: all the world’s leading media began to excitedly discuss literally everything that any concerns of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, although views of journalists, as a rule, continues to dominate the skepticism and the expectation of a speedy collapse of the «bubble of the century». However, now it is really really hard to find someone who knows nothing about bitcoin and had never heard of this word. This is confirmed by Google: according to the world’s largest search engine, the word bitcoin several times became one of the most popular queries in the world.
7.5 billion people on Earth account for less than 17 million BTC, a quarter of which is considered permanently lost. This means, even if 99% of people will be pessimists, on each of the remaining is not enough for one full bitcoin. Well-known state in the tens and even hundreds of thousands of BTC! Therefore, the figure of 20 thousand dollars for bitcoin does not look incredible.
But in the second half of December was expected by many traders correction, some days are «cut off» almost half of the achievements of all of the year — with peaks of 20 thousand dollars a bitcoin has fallen below $11,000, and for the New year, the situation remained uncertain.
However, the first week of 2018 did not disappoint supporters of the cryptocurrency. His ninth birthday on 3 January, the bitcoin met again breaking up bar $15 000, and by the evening of 6 January entrenched above $17 000, while showing on the chart the pursuit of continued growth.
The renewed optimism of traders contributes to increase the adoption SegWit, and the expectation deployment of the technology payment channels Lightning Network, which should solve one of the most obvious problems of the Bitcoin: low bandwidth of the blockchain. Despite the fact that the widespread introduction of Lightnng threatens decentralization and transparency of transactions on the network, it will significantly increase the potential of bitcoin as a means of payment, and thus its use as a global currency. All this will inevitably lead to further growth of the course «digital gold», therefore, the most prudent investors are beginning again to «fill the pockets» bitcoins. Playing the role of the long-term effect of the launch of futures on bitcoin exchanges CME and CBOE opened the cryptocurrency market institutional investors.
Altcoins are catching up
At the beginning of this year, the rapid growth shown not only bitcoin, but almost all cryptocurrencies, including the closest competitors by market capitalization — ether (ETH) and ripple (XRP). Moreover, the index of dominance of bitcoin continues to fall, January 4, reaching a historical low of 33%. This means that developers of Bitcoin have to make an effort to keep the lead the face of a massive attack of competing cryptocurrencies. Of course, the formal capitalization is not a key indicator of value, but the most obvious, and being watched by all. Total capitalization of only ETH and XRP is already close to 75% of the market capitalization of bitcoin, and each of them individually «weighs» more than a third of Bitcoin.
More than a tenfold increase was shown by the token Ripple (XRP), which, apart from the exchange of HYIP, warmed by the news that the new products Ripple — xRapid and xCurrent — this year will start to use a few large financial institutions, i.e. banks. Many bitcoin enthusiasts see the growth XRP «conspiracy of bankers» who seek to oust the availability of cryptocurrency they control tool. In these words there is considerable truth — supernodes, or gateways to the Ripple network, full control of pass-through transactions and can freeze assets entrusted to them users at any time. That is why Ripple is really the most convenient for banks as a multicurrency payment environment. And since the Ripple network is not based on the blockchain, it generally cannot be called a cryptocurrency.
Anyway, XRP has risen from 22 cents in early December to nearly $ 4 on the 4th of January at the moment, fell back to $3.2. Despite the optimistic reviews in the media, should be treated with caution, as more than half of the tokens controlled by the developers and major gateways.
In third place rolled in the air, which is January 4, crossed the historic mark for himself of $ 1,000, and on 7 January continued to hover around her. Capitalization of Ethereum for the first time in history exceeded $ 100 billion.
Reach this level has long been waiting for, but the ongoing problems with the scaling of blockchain Ethereum, much more noticeable than even Bitcoin, and numerous incidents with purses and startups, significantly inhibited the growth of the ether.
The main impetus to the growth of this cryptocurrency in the course of the year gave hundreds of ICO, which poured from the horn of plenty and some of them collected multi-million dollar investments in just a few seconds, and total fees on ICO exceeded $ 4 billion. Not less significant event, which also pushed the price up of the ether, were the statements of CME Group and ITS that they are considering launching futures on the air.
It is likely that the price will continue to rise, especially because recently acne Buterin announced its decision to allocate a million dollars to study the scaling of the network. Development release Casper continues, and this year we are likely to see its first results. However, in the short term, the air can fall from the reached heights as decisive changes will take place in the coming weeks.
Following the three leaders are tightened and other cryptocurrencies: LTC again stormed the turn of $ 300, ZEC is coming to $800, and Monero soon may come close to $500. Not far behind and other cryptocurrencies, and the tokens only for the first week of the year by showing dozens and even hundreds of percent growth.
This means that every day in the cryptocurrency industry is pouring billions more dollars. Yesterday, January 6, the total capitalization of cryptocurrencies exceeded $ 800 billion — still a couple of weeks at this rate, it will exceed a trillion dollars! Isn’t that a lot for «unsecured bubble,» even given the fact that theoretical capitalization may differ from the actual? In cryptocurrency invested dozens of millions of people around the world. Perhaps this provides them much better value than the «paper» guarantees of the Central banks provide the value of Fiat money?