The Year in Cryptocurrency: Where Are We Now?

Bitcoin finished in the green over the past seven days for the first time in what feels like forever. The prolonged slide has almost become the norm as prices continue to fall to newer and newer lows. Reports are vastly surfacing claiming that hundreds of coins are dead, failing to brave the markets latest storm of volatility.

Considering all of the *metaphorical* death and depravity, it’s hard to remember the full-fledged euphoria of six short months ago – when bitcoin hit its historic $20,000 price point. I find myself asking the question, how did we end up here? It all seems like a blur…

It may be hard to look forward at this point. So let’s look back at the what the past six months has meant for cryptocurrency. Let’s try to piece together the puzzle that is our current state.

Regulation

In some form or fashion, the topic of regulation finds its way into the vast majority of conversations or publications involving cryptocurrency. The past six months have been no exception. Many would claim in fact that increased push for regulation has been a major factor in the sinking cryptocurrency prices.

However, sifting through the literature screaming “So and so country bans so and so coin” or “X politician speaks out on x currency” can be exhausting. It’s extremely difficult to stay up to date. Plus, its always changing and full of speculation.

But, right now, as far as definitive legality, Bitcoin is completely illegal in six countries: Algeria, Bolivia, Ecuador, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Cambodia. Seven additional countries have partial bans on Bitcoin, being illegal as a payment method or in banking. Generally, these countries have the same attitude toward other cryptocurrencies.

As far as where you can use cryptocurrency, not only have most nations declared some form of approval for cryptocurrencies, but many retailers have started accepting them for payment. Overstock, Expedia, Microsoft, and all Shopify vendors have the ability to accept cryptocurrency as payment, just to name a few.

This is good news, right? Well…probably. Many think that although the vast spring of new regulatory policies has seemed to negatively affect the price in the short term, in the long run it means legitimacy and longevity for the future of cryptocurrency.

Winners and Losers

Speaking of the future, who’s gonna be around to see it? As previously mentioned, the past six months has rendered many cryptocurrency projects virtually extinct and even the major coins have lost huge ground. Relative to each other, the scene has changed as well, with coins like NEM and NEO falling down a few rungs of the market-cap ladder rankings. Despite losses across the board, currencies like EOS and Tether have fared better compared to their competitors, allowing them to climb a few spots in the rankings. The top 10 looks very different than it did in January.

Expert Opinion

Many business, finance, and tech leaders have taken bold stances as to where they see Bitcoin’s price, and the overall health of the cryptocurrency market, being by the end of 2018. On the bullish side of the argument, people like Tom Lee, Tim Draper, and Llew Claasen have predicted Bitcoin pushing past the $40,000 or $50,000 mark by end of year. Others like Cameron Winklevoss and Bobby Lee have thrown out 6 and 7 digit predictions, although they are looking at longer term timelines.

Surprisingly, despite the events of the past six months most major bulls have stuck to their guns, arguing the bottom is near and that this major correction is good for cryptocurrency health. The bears, however, have continued to develop increasingly scathing arguments about the validity and longevity of cryptocurrency. Harvard professor Kenneth Rogoff predicts Bitcoin being valued at less than $100 and Swiss financial expert Kristjan Dekleva says it will be at least 10 years before Bitcoin will stabilize.

One thing that hasn’t changed is that cryptocurrency is a very polarizing subject…leave it to the experts to add to the storm of confusion.

Wrap Up

For now, the market seems to have briefly stabilized. The winds of change seem to have brought a new attitude toward the market and despite the recent turmoil, it continues to mature. Change is good… and there is certainly much more change still to come.

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