By July 2018, crypto was in a confirmed bear market with prices massively down on the start of the year, but the fundamentals had never been better. July to September would see Bakkt and Fidelity throw their hats into the ring, ETFs get rejected then unrejected, and Bitcoin become a stablecoin.
Bitcoin began July around the $6,500 area, setting what would be a theme for the following months. Over the course of the month it made its way up to $8,000, but these moves weren’t met with any great enthusiasm. By the end of the month the market cap had started to tip downwards to the high $200 billion area, almost four times off its January peak. Alts had followed Bitcoin’s volatility, with very few catalysts to take price in an opposing direction. Many ICOs and projects were in fact starting to realize that survival would be the name of the game from now on. Meanwhile, a conflict was brewing that would have a huge impact months down the road:
For those who don’t know, there’s a civil war going in the Bitcoin Cash community right now between users and miners who support Craig and his ideas, and those that don’t. Inevitable there will be a split at some point. Though IMO, Bitcoin Cash Craig Edition != Bitcoin Cash.
— Cøbra (@CobraBitcoin) July 22, 2018
Bitcoin hit the headlines in an unexpected way in July when Robert Mueller’s team revealed that Russian hackers were paid in the cryptocurrency for hacking the DNC servers. Some argued this was proof of Bitcoin’s illegal use cases, while others championed it, saying that its open ledger allowed easy tracking of the payments, unlike cash. Coinbase also got the go-ahead to add security tokens to its platform, immediately raising the hopes of XRP fans, despite many arguing for some time that the XRP token was not actually a security token.
Crypto prices were already starting to edge to the negative side by the end of July, and this pattern continued into August, with Bitcoin declining to $7,500 in the first week. The market failed to react when ICE, the owners of the New York Stock Exchange, announced that it had teamed up with Microsoft and Starbucks to create Bakkt, a futures trading platform that settled in Bitcoin rather than cash. This potentially huge news was undone days later by the SEC, who voted on the 7th to delay the VanEck/SolidX ETF proposal vote until September. This news alone pushed the price of Bitcoin down nearly $1,000 to $6,300, where it stayed for most of the month, showing that the bears were well and truly in control. The SEC wasn’t done with just the one ETF this month – they also denied three more on the 22nd, then reversed those decisions the next day, to leave the crypto world scratching its head.
— NYSE (@NYSE) 3 August 2018
By this point in the year the world seemed largely bored with cryptocurrency and it had fallen off the radar of most news organizations, except for the odd jibe about its performance in 2018, which was reflected in the stagnating price and the disinterest among non-diehards.
September saw the start of the ‘Bitcoin as a stablecoin’ memes, following a $1,000 flash crash at the very start of the month that took $40 billion out of the market. This would be followed by two months of less volatility than the coin had seen in years. Bitcoin hovered around the $6,500 mark for pretty much the entire month of September, as sellers seemed exhausted, and calls that we had reached the bottom began to emerge. This was matched with new lows in the overall market cap of $185 billion. Hopes were raised of a recovery of sorts when XRP rocketed 70% around the time of its Swell conference, but it soon retraced all its gains and resumed its place with the rest of the depressed market, although it did temporarily jump ahead of Ethereum in the number two spot.
3 months ago XRP reached 78 cents a week before SWELL. Since then it’s crashed down to 28 cents. And through all that time nothing but great news has been coming out about XRP. I feel as a retail investor that I’m getting royally f**ked over. I’m NOT selling for a loss!!! ??
— XRPSTACKER (@btcstacker) 21 December 2018
Once more the fundamentals didn’t match up with the price action, as Fidelity Investments, worth an estimated $26 billion, announced they were working on a number of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related products. This huge news was added to by Morgan Stanley. who announced they had been preparing Bitcoin derivative trading, and Google, who partially lifted their ban on crypto advertising. There was more suspicion than ever that prices were being suppressed to let the big money pick up Bitcoin on the cheap, and the last quarter of the year would see them have their best opportunity yet.
Crypto 2018 Review Part 4 – Bitcoin is Dead