The Curious Case of Cryptocurrencies in 2018

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Cryptocurrency has made some of the major headlines in the year 2018, often making hefty turns up and down the price band, and making investors speculative of its future. The area of investment in bitcoins steadily picked up pace, ever since word spread about the alluring returns that Bitcoin has reaped for its investors. The world of Cryptocurrencies might be large in length and breadth but the same has not stopped curious souls from learning more about the digital currency.


The Indian picture for Cryptocurrency
As the nation might have it, Bitcoin faced a severe plunge in India, making it a negative year for the Cryptocurrency. To add to the mayhem is the regulatory case that Cryptocurrency fights with the financial regulator of the country, the Reserve Bank of India. Ever since the monetary regulator banned the use of banking channels to transact for the digital currency, things have not been looking good for the promising fortune maker. In its latest release, the Reserve Bank of India has expressly asked banks and financial institutions not to participate in the exchange process of digital currencies, citing them as unreliable scams.
As of now, Japan is the only country to have tendered a legal status for Bitcoins. Some other countries such as Australia, Malta, Russia, China and others, have a regulatory law related to tax and other aspects of the digital currency. At the same time, there are countries like Thailand, Bangladesh Pakistan, Nigeria, Egypt and Iran, who have imposed complete bans on Cryptocurrency.


The 2018 context
The years 2017 and 2018 have marked spectacular changes for the digital currency. While the former was marked by intense market spikes, the latter has been a year of major letdowns and speculation amongst those invested in the crypto. Having peaked to their all-time high, a near eighty per cent fall in the currency is a shocking one, if not appalling.

2018 proved to be a complete turn over of the preceding year in terms of market capitalisation for digital currencies. If we are to evaluate the year over year market price changes, it becomes evident that the year 2018 has proved itself to be a steep downslide for the top digital currencies in the world. Ever since the inception of the year 2018, all major cryptocurrency players were seen losing more than 75% of their net worth, which sent the entire cryptocurrency market tumbling down in terms of market valuation.


A Closer Look
The running bull which drove the adrenaline of many investors on an all-time-high, appeared to be slowing down with the advent of the first month of 2018. It was then that Bitcoin lost almost 40% of the acceleration that it had caught in the past few months. The steep brake that the first month of the year itself cast on the riding bull, was only a glimpse at the downside that was to be witnessed in the coming months.

Come March and we saw a slight respite for the investors, who clutched the edges in high hopes again. At this point, it became apparently clear that while the cryptocurrency world could be a challenge for the unlearned, the blockchain technology was about to bring a major revolution in the finance & tech sphere. The next two months might have passed around with no major changes post which NASDAQ and Goldman Sachs appeared to be entering the market. However, till date, the same has not happened and some speculate that it might be likely that the same may not even happen in the days to come.

With the onset of June, hopes were high, and a positive breeze could be felt in the market. This was the time when social media giant, Facebook lifted its ban on advertising for Cryptocurrency for a few select companies. However, the very next month, web giant, Google, banned all advertising related to Cryptocurrency. The next blow to hit the world of Cryptocurrency was the denial of over nine exchange-traded funds by the SEC.

All in all, 2018 was a rather gloomy year for the cryptocurrency market. For investors it stands as a stark reminder of two crucial facts :

One, that this market is more susceptible to outside and external pressures than it ever was, and two, the immediate fate of Bitcoin & other digital currencies will continue to remain somewhat uncertain for the present. It is difficult to say whether Bitcoin and other currencies will climb back on the bull ride, or lag behind to go on a bear’s stride. That said, 2018 saw a number of countries & traditional financial institutions acknowledge the presence of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain. While the latter was greatly favoured, the former garnered a lot of speculation.


What to expect in 2019?
Debate. Debate. And some more debate. The coming year might be no less of a stage show for unexpected changes in the realm of digital currency.
Regulations from monetary and financial institutions all over the world are expected to impact price, utility and acceptance of the various digital currencies floating in the market. In any case, 2019 will be sure to test the patience of those invested in the market as cryptocurrency promises new adventures each day, every day.


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