Bitcoin BTC – the cryptocurrency that started it all – was released in 2009 as open-source software by a person or group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto. The idea was to create a peer-to-peer electronic currency that was not based on any central or intermediary authority to validate the exchange of money.
The entire transaction process makes Bitcoin a pseudonymous currency that guarantees a certain level of privacy – if done carefully. This meant that some people who abandoned themselves to illegal activities found attractive Bitcoin; in turn, raising the eyebrows of regulators around the world.
Over the years, Bitcoin has been sacked by many prominent leaders and organizations including the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Jamie Dimon.
It has been called "fraud", "ponzi scheme", "terrorist money" and "a speculative bubble".
Popular digital media – including Facebook, Google, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, MailChimp and Bing – have imposed restrictions on their advertisements on their platforms. The governments of different countries have issued general bans on everything related to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
According to a tracking website, Bitcoin has been declared dead 336 times so far.
Yet, through all this, Bitcoin has survived and is gathering more attention than ever before.
Not all the concerns raised on Bitcoin come from ignorance or fear. The cryptocurrency continues to cede to high transaction fees, slow speed, scalability problems and the alleged centralization of power in the hands of a few miners.
Since then a series of cryptocurrencies and blockchain networks have emerged, which claim to improve on Bitcoin, but in terms of market adoption, none has managed to approach the pinnacle of virtual currency.
Review of BTC / USD performance
The year 2017 saw the BTCs gain historical gains, as it brought the "cryptographic boom" from the front. BTC opened 2017 at $ 963 and closed the year at $ 12.897, marking an increase of more than 1200% of the market price. The year 2018 has seen an inversion of this trend.
The BTC met for the first week of January with a 36 percent fall at $ 17,527 on January 7th, the highest market price it would have seen for the rest of the year. By keeping a single wedge on the downside, BTC dropped to $ 7,051 on 6 February, losing 60% of its market value in the month since 7 January.
BTC has regained its price to reach $ 11,372 by February last week, but has traded at under $ 7,000 again by the end of March.
The cryptocurrency started to rise again in the second quarter of the year to exceed $ 9,000, but the market was corrected again in May last week.
BTC saw another minor rally at the start of the third third quarter, but maintained relative stability between September and mid-November on average at $ 6,300 after market correction.
The BTC market saw another fall in the second half of November, rising from $ 6,351 on November 14 to $ 4,465 by November 21, a 30% decline.
As of December last week, BTC is trading at $3,898, marking a decrease of 70% in value from the beginning of the year.
Bitcoin – Major events in 2018
In February, Bitcoin transaction fees fell significantly from an average of $ 26 to $ 3. Cryptocurrency analysts attributed this improvement both to the implementation of the Bitcoin Segregated Witness soft fork (SegWit) and the reduction of the hype after the end of the market run. In April, Bitcoin's median transaction fees were among the lowest since 2011. The seventeenth millionth Bitcoin was extracted in April from the possible 21 million.
A study conducted by the cryptocurrency research firm Chainalysis found that an increasing number of Bitcoin is held by individual active users rather than long-term investors. Another cryptocurrency research firm Diar suggested that one percent of the portfolios continue to hold up to 55 percent of all BTCs.
In March, another Bitcoin fork called Bitcoin Private was launched, but failed to gain significant traction on the market. The same month, the US Marshals Service sold 2,170 BTC (worth about $ 25 million at the time) that were seized in relation to federal, criminal and civil cases.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Bitcoin will surpass the US dollar to become the world's main currency in ten years or less. In the meantime others like Kenneth Rogoff – a Harvard professor and former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – predicted that Bitcoin could go down as much as $ 100 over the next decade.
Warren Buffet again cast his doubts on seeing Bitcoin as a real investment, calling it a "gambling game" in an interview with Yahoo Finance.
In August, the company of mobile payments Square He said that its cash app, originally announced in January, could now be used to buy Bitcoin in all 50 states in the United States.
In October, a Chinese court ruled that despite the illegal status of the exchange of cryptocurrencies in the country, Bitcoin is still protected as private property with economic values according to the laws of the country. Previously, a Dutch court also ruled that Bitcoin was a legitimate transfer value under local law.
In November, Ohio became the first US state to allow Bitcoin taxes to be paid, after many other states, including Arizona, Georgia, and Illinois, had already canceled these plans after first consideration.
At a time when 600,000 mining operations were interrupted due to a lack of profits, Intel was successful has filed a patent for a low power consumption cryptocurrency extraction processor.
Many members of the cryptocurrency community have put their hopes on the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to approve Bitcoin's ETF proposals, but the federal agency has so far responded by briefly rejecting all submitted proposals.
In December, two US lawmakers proposed to exempt cryptocurrencies from federal securities laws. According to a Bloomberg report, the New York Nasdaq exchange rate operator it is also planning to list Bitcoin futures in the first quarter of 2019, subject to regulatory approval.
What to expect in 2019
Even at the end of 2018, where there are at least 2 different cryptocurrencies, there is no doubt about who the boss is. Bitcoin currently has a market capitalization of $ 73.8 million, or 51% of the entire cryptocurrency market! In comparison, the second highest cryptocurrency (Ripple / XRP) has 12% of market capitalization and the fourth highest (Bitcoin Cash / BCH) has only 2.5%.
In such a scenario, it is not wrong to say that Bitcoin will probably continue to be the captain of the cryptocurrency ship throughout 2019, seriously affecting the market price of all other currencies.
Many doubts have been expressed on BTC due to the fall of 2018, but it can be argued that this crisis is only a correction of the market for the growth of 2017 (which ideally should not have happened anyway).
The interest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology is growing and, being at the forefront of everything, it is likely that Bitcoin will reap the maximum benefit. The top cryptocurrency will not see similar growth again in 2017, and if the cryptocurrencies would like to be taken seriously, it should not either. The 2019 year could finally "normalize" Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, making growth relatively stable.
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Published 28 December 2018 at 09:00 UTC