Cryptocurrency Global Report 2018: How the Leading Tokens and Coins Fared

2018 was not a good year overall for cryptos. After a strong 2017 which saw a cryptocurrency boom to almost 2,700%, it all backfired and crashed in early January 2018 when the price of most cryptos dropped by 65%, culminating with a low of almost 80% towards November.

By December, things are starting to look up as most cryptos are starting an upward trend. But will this last, and more importantly, which coins are looking better than the others going into 2019 and beyond?
Let’s take a closer look at the Top 10.

#1 - Bitcoin

The world’s most valuable cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization didn’t have a great 2018, and because it commands 50% of the total crypto market share, it took down all the other altcoins with it, leading to the downward crash throughout the year.
Bitcoin was predicted to start the year fairly strong, given its strong 2017 year end performance. Its Dec 2017 performance is in fact, one of its strongest ever, where it reached its highest ever valuation in its entire history, at $20,089 per Bitcoin and a total market capitalization of $336,433,998,575.

But come January 2018, it went downhill, culminating in a low of $6,048.26 per Bitcoin at $101,907,205,319 market cap in a span of a month, and continued to free fall throughout the year. By November, it went below the critical threshold of $4,000. Only during the later half of December is it showing signs of climbing up, but who knows how long it will last.

Many believe that the reason for Bitcoin’s current lion’s share of the crypto market is down to one reason: it was the first one. Right now, the original creator Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision of Bitcoin being a viable digital currency is not yet realized, as Bitcoin is still bogged with scalability and speed issues to make it practical for everyday transactions. Plus, costs are relatively high, making it cost prohibitive for anything but the largest transactions.

Indeed, Bitcoin’s real-world use is mostly as a form of asset storage similar to that of gold. But what sets Bitcoin apart from gold is that it is a very volatile instrument. This lack of inherent value is probably one of the reasons for the crash in 2018.

Despite the dizzying number of altcoins challenging Bitcoin and solving its many issues, it is unlikely that Bitcoin will drastically change its trajectory to compete with them, short of changing its entire structure, which is also unlikely. The reason for this is that the root cause of all its problems is not due to a design flaw, but the main core of Bitcoin: security and decentralization. Other altcoins are able to solve this problem because they tend to sacrifice one or the other in the name of added efficiency.

Nevertheless, Bitcoin shows no sign of giving up its reign as the top cryptocurrency in the world. It is highly possible that it will see big improvements in its performance through add-ons and off-chain solutions such as the Lightning Network, which will see it be practical enough for certain everyday transactions. When that happens, due to the number of coins already out in circulation, it won’t be a big jump for people to adopt Bitcoin, which will only see its value rise up.

Assessment and Verdict
Even at its worst, Bitcoin is still the benchmark through which the entire cryptocurrency market will be judged, and is a good indicator of overall market performance. It is still one of the most secure and liquid of all the cryptocurrencies, which can still give it much market credibility.

So, at its juncture, we believe Bitcoin is still a viable pick – assuming you are aware of the general volatility inherent in the crypto market.
Unfortunately, Bitcoin is not mature enough to be the anchor that will steady up the entire crypto market, so expect further volatility in 2019.

Price wise, Bitcoin shows signs of rising up, and it has a good chance to rise above its $4,000 threshold and stabilize a bit, so short term investors might see some value in buying Bitcoin and selling them off sometime early next year. But chances are slim that it’ll hit back its high of above $20,000 in 2019 at least.

#2 - Ripple (XRP)

Compared to the other top cryptocurrencies during the crypto bubble burst, Ripple fared a little bit better. Yes, it still went down big time at 50% of its value, but at a relatively lesser rate than its two nearest competitors, Bitcoin (who suffered a 75% value drop) and Ethereum (at a whopping 88% value drop). XRP, in fact, just overtook Ethereum from the 3rd spot to become the world’s 2nd most valuable cryptocurrency next to Bitcoin. XRP is now trading at below $1, but historically in 2018, it is still quite stable.

XRP owes much of its decent performance through its widespread community support and partnerships with both financial entities and regulatory groups. Potential tie-ups are on the way with such names as American Express, Moneygram, CIBC, and Standard Chartered, to name a few. The list is, in fact, quite large.

Potential real-world adoption is arguably XRP’s biggest advantage over Bitcoin and is the reason we think it can become a serious contender to Bitcoin’s market cap dominance. Ripple’s team is hard at work on integrating Ripple’s gross settlement and remittance system with the leading banks, giving something concrete to back up XRP’s value. XRP is also quite cooperative with regulation, which we think is plus points for it to maintain its value in the market.

Assessment and Verdict
Ripple’s relatively better performance than its peers is a good indication moving forward. We believe its downward value was partly due to the overall drop of the crypto market and less on XRP’s own performance.

We think Ripple can stay true to its goal and fully stabilize and perfect its system to integrate with the banks, plus secure more key partnerships to further up its reputation and adoption. XRP needs to ensure this is the case, so that come time financial institutions decide to deep dive in the crypto-pool, XRP is at the very top of that list.

If the above scenario happens, Ripple will become a dominant force and might well be on its way to overtake Bitcoin, and this makes XRP a good pick in 2019.

#3 - Ethereum

Of the top three cryptocurrencies in the market, Ethereum seemed to fare the worst. Its rate of decline has been cited as one of the lowest. From a high of more than $1,000 during the beginning of the year, it dropped to below $100 this December 2018. This is due to the massive sell-off of ETH by failed ICOs into fiat, causing a collapse of the market. This drop saw it go down to the 3rd spot.

The reason for its decline is also the core of its core benefits. ICOs choose Ethereum because of its Smart Contract technology, which is a big plus with Ethereum in terms of its real-world adoption and use case. It has also encountered problems with scaling, which made the system increasingly slow as more users poured in, especially with the ICO boom.

A number of its users swear by the technology, which is still a plus for Ethereum moving forward. Ethereum is still viable in that it offers more than just a financial instrument or currency. Its potential to be a complete ecosystem and programming platform can mean it will still be valuable in the future. This is also pointed to by the Ethereum team, who stated that despite the drop in value, its user base is still growing.

Ethereum’s hope is in the rollout of its future updates and features, most especially the Constantinople hard fork to be scheduled in January 2019. These will aim to slowly transition Ethereum into a Proof of Stake model, which is more energy efficient. This can radically speed up transaction speeds, and can potentially help solve the scaling problem.

Assessment and Verdict

We believe that despite the downward performance of Ethereum in 2018, it is still a conceptually powerful cryptocurrency with a useful network backing it up. So, while the ICO panic and Crypto Market bust has had a major impact on it, over the long run we believe it will return back in value as the market realizes Ethereum’s use case. But it needs to stay ahead of other cryptos looking to take over it with more powerful and advanced features and beat them to the punch in terms of mainstream adoption. If Constantinople is successful, ETH might appreciate up in 2019 again.

#4 - Bitcoin Cash

Bitcoin Cash has seen a massive drop in 2018 together with the general cryptocurrency bubble burst. From a high reaching almost $3,000 per coin, it now trades at less than $100, wiping out almost 83% of its value in the process.

The Bitcoin offshoot, which came to prominence in 2017 to tackle the problems being experienced by Bitcoin and Ethereum at the time, simply failed to live up to expectations. Its hash rate is at its lowest in years, and user support is dwindling. This is due to Bitcoin Cash struggling to remain relevant.

The Nov 2018 hard fork from competing proposals – Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin SV – also further divided an already weak community. Its inability to solve its scaling issue also led to this demise in support.

The future potential of Bitcoin Cash remains uncertain, as its aim of becoming a more widespread version of Bitcoin is failing day by day with fewer people using it. As it stands, only a handful of users are holding on to the majority of BCH, mostly its small number of loyalists. Its transaction pales in comparison to Bitcoin’s by a factor of 33. Not good if you aim to be the more commonly used, practical version of Bitcoin!

Assessment and Verdict

Bitcoin Cash looks to continue to dwindle in value, with its lack of support hit further with that divisive hard fork in November. With this, we see little hope in BCH returning back to form in 2019. We recommend selling off your position now if you’re holding on to some BCH. It might take a while for this one to recover, if at all.

#5 - EOS

The smart contract and decentralized platform directly competing with Ethereum, EOS has been relatively stable in 2018 if the charts are to be believed. In fact, it achieved its highest valuation in the middle of the year at above $20, while the entire market has been crashing and burning around it. EOS caught up with the market eventually, where it is not trading at below $3 by year-end.

The great thing about EOS and its major advantage over Ethereum is its scalability, which we think accounts for its relatively strong and stable performance this year. Transaction fees are also non-existent in EOS, a major criticism of Ethereum. This seems to make EOS a more potentially usable decentralized app platform with a bigger chance of widespread adoption.

With app platforms like EOS, its easy to judge use case and adoption by looking at the number of people using DApps hosted on them. In the case of EOS, it has double logged users compared to that of Ethereum, at nearly 21k active users. This a good sign for EOS, as a large number of users, will only drive up the value of its coins.

Assessment and Verdict

We think EOS is one of the better, if not the best, crypto coin picks going into 2019. It frog jumped over Tether and Stellar to snag the number 4th spot, which is a sign of good things to come. Its user base will only grow, and it can scale if it needs to, which bodes well for its growth prospects. We, therefore, see its value skyrocketing in 2019.

#6 - Stellar

Another Ethereum contender, decentralized app network Stellar has maintained a stable price despite the chaos of the crypto burst. From a ceiling of almost $1, its price dropped by remained relatively steady at around $0.2 for most of the year.

The platform itself has seen steady adoption thanks to its recent developments and a strong team behind it, including Jed McCaleb. Stellar’s collaboration with IBM will only make it more adopted going forward, thanks to the exposure and market penetration given by the former. We expect to see more partnerships moving forward in 2019.

It also has one of the lowest transactions costs, not to mention having a pretty powerful premise: a currency exchange between a digital coin and fiat money across borders. This gives Stellar tremendous potential adoption worldwide, which will only drive its price up. Stellar also plans to partner with more banks and digital currency projects in the next 2-3 years.

Assessment and Verdict

While Stellar has been giving moderate gains so far, we think its value will go up in the next few years. The potentially lucrative partnership with IBM, combined with an attractive concept, makes us predict that Stellar will go beyond $0.05 and maybe reach $0.06 by 2019. As more users and financial institutions adopt it, Stellar may very well hit the $1 mark in 3-4 years time.

#7 - Tether

Tether is, by far, one of the strongest performers among all cryptocurrencies this 2018. In fact, while other coins are in a downward trend, Tether’s value actually went up this entire year! Relative to Bitcoin, it's doing quite well.

The initial sentiment is high with Tether because the company behind it claims that cryptocoin is fully backed up by fiat currency, hence it is termed a “stablecoin”. By tying itself with a government-backed currency such as the USD, it avoids the volatility of the crypto market at large.

However, the controversies backing this claim, on top of all the other allegations of price manipulations, and others might sway sentiment for it in the other direction, especially since Tether hasn’t yet proved it has the currency to back it up. This swaying consumer sentiment might have been the reason the price of Tether dropped to $0.9, which is surprising since Tether by design should always be at $1 per coin.

Assessment and Verdict

While stable at the moment and very tempting to hold onto, the lack of transparency of the company behind Tether is very concerning, as well as its many allegations. If these issues aren’t resolved, we predict the value to drop down to around $0.65 by Q1 of 2019. Despite it being a stablecoin, we view Tether as having the potential to be volatile – that is, until it begins to be more transparent. For now, we won’t be vouching for this that much.

#8 - Litecoin

Bitcoin’s little brother is doing slightly worse than its big brother, going from a high of above $300 to just around $30 by December, an almost 90% drop. The reason, apart from the general market sentiment, probably has to do with the shutting down of Litepay, the payment processor it has partnered with. The controversy surrounding it has caused many drops in the share prices of Litecoin

Originally conceived to be a faster and more practical alternative to BItcoin, that so far hasn’t panned out as much. It gained much traction and adoption among some merchants and exchanges, but it is still edged out by Bitcoin in terms of usage, which still commands more adoption and reach in the market.

The future potential of Litecoin is in a way dependent on how Bitcoin solves their scalability problem, which is underway with their Lightning Network project. If Bitcoin succeeds and makes itself fast and scalable, it removes a major reason for Litecoin’s existence, and it would make them irrelevant.

Assessment and Verdict

With their ace in the sleeve Litepay gone and the coin still facing uncertainty, we see things not going in the way of Litecoin. If Bitcoin gets the Lightning Network up and running and finally solve scalability, Litecoin needs to find a new use case for itself to stay relevant – which is difficult, since being a fork from the Bitcoin blockchain means it doesn’t have that much flexibility compared with other altcoins to build innovative features. In the end, we see Litecoin as not being an attractive coin in 2019.

#9 - Bitcoin SV

A relatively new offshoot of Bitcoin Cash created just last November 2018, Bitcoin SV has so far shown big potential, price wise. Amidst the year-end plummet of cryptos, Bitcoin SV has grown by almost 30% by mid-December, after an initial price drop, largely due to doubts surrounding the new fork.

While it is still too early to tell, Bitcoin SV’s use case so far is not that far off from Bitcoin Cash and parent Bitcoin. They are, after all, offshoots. The late 2018 performance though, if they are to be believed, might point to a strong Bitcoin SV, one that might potentially be more stable and not be swayed much by BItcoin’s swings.

Assessment and Verdict

Seeing that it’s still too early to tell if Bitcoin SV would be successful, it is still wide speculation if one should pick this one or not. But the trends show positive promise, and the fact that it is overtaking the original Bitcoin Cash (ABC) is certainly a good sign for a rosy 2019. But on the other hand, it still has links with BItcoin Cash, which is not doing so well right now so it might affect its own value negatively. Time will tell, so tread lightly on this one.

#10 – Tron

Tron’s price has been relatively stable during much of 2018, except for a downward trend earlier in the year. Momentum is currently up, and price trends indicate it is steadily growing by up to 30% in the past week

The appreciation in the price of Tron will continue to rise as its user base expands. Decentralized platforms such as Tron have the advantage among other cryptos in that they have a very clear use case and one that is easily measurable.

It has recently acquired BitTorrent and Project Atlas, a content distribution platform that makes it easy for content creators and anyone else to share content online. This gives them quite an edge in further expanding exponentially, as they can touch upon a market with a wide user base that no other crypto is catering to directly.

This I think is one of their biggest selling propositions. Together with their DApp and smart contract platform, Tron has the potential to be a very valuable crypto player and DApp platform with a more mainstream appeal to take over Ethereum.

Assessment and Verdict
We believe Tron is a fantastic investment option for the long term, as the platform gets underway. It has a potentially large user base thanks to its ease of content distribution, which reward sharers with TRX, making the coin more widespread. In an online world driven by content, it’s a fantastic strategy that will pay dividends and have an enormous impact on TRX’s value, which we predict will trade above $1 in the next 3-4 years.


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