By October 2018, Bitcoin had been experiencing a prolonged period of inactivity, having hovered around the $6,500 mark for eight of the previous ten weeks. This stability led to many to declare that Bitcoin had found its bottom, with the $730 trading range being the lowest since December 2016. Bitcoin had become boring, and no other cryptocurrencies were giving investors much to cheer about – with few catalysts, the entire market was following Bitcoin in doing nothing.
The news was more interesting than the price action in October, with Nouriel Roubini demonstrating just how ignorant he is about cryptocurrencies by launching into a scathing and for the most part inaccurate attack on Bitcoin in front of a US Senate Committee. He undermined his position somewhat in the following days by posting angry rants on Twitter in the manner of a drunk idiot who won’t stop shouting.
— Stephen Var (@Podrivel) October 11, 2018
October also saw Tether’s already creaking supports bend and begin to split, when doubts about its solvency, and that of partner Bitfinex, raised their heads once again, causing Bitcoin’s price to temporarily rocket and Tether’s to plummet to as low as $0.85, a 35% loss on a so-called stablecoin. The FUD quickly dissipated and the USDT token slowly returned to its normal price, although for several weeks a ‘Tether premium’ existed where the price of Bitcoin on Tether-traded exchanges was higher than that on non-Tether trading exchanges. October 31st also saw the 10th anniversary of the Bitcoin white paper, and a moment for crypto enthusiasts to forget the current market troubles and reminisce.
By November, a pattern was starting to emerge in the Bitcoin charts, with analysts drawing a triangle that would culminate, so they said, in a huge price movement either up or down when it concluded, which was due sometime in late October/early November.
— Ichi MokuM (@Ichi_MokuM) October 16, 2018
Sentiment was high that $6,500 was the floor, and that the following move would be upwards. Sentiment was wrong. On November 14, Bitcoin’s price dropped from $6,300 to $5,500, taking in new lows for the year and dashing hopes of an end to the bear market. The following weeks saw the price of Bitcoin, and all other cryptocurrencies, fall further, with Bitcoin ranging between $4,500 and $3,700. This left many wondering if the bear market was going to hang around through 2019 as well.
November also saw the contentious Bitcoin Cash hard fork, which created two separate strands of the coin and a war of words develop into a shouting match on social media between the main proponents. This hard fork led to mining power being drawn away from Bitcoin, which the media latched onto as a reason for the Bitcoin price continuing to stay low. In a further blow to the markets, Bakkt was delayed until January 2019, while blogging platform Steemit had to lay off 70 staff to cope with loss of revenue, further indicating the toll that the bear market was taking.
As the last month of the year rolled around, investors began to focus on 2019 and try to put crypto’s 2018 performance behind them. The price continued on a slow downward spiral, settling at around $3,200 before a Christmas rally, which began a year to the day that the Cboe futures were launched, took it back into the $4,000s. Waves exploded in the latter part of the month, causing some to wonder if it was showing signs of decoupling from Bitcoin and if other alts would follow.
“decoupling” will be the word of the year in #crypto world in 2019
— Sasha Ivanov (@sasha35625) December 12, 2018
For most, the imminent end of 2018 brought with it discussions on price and some very sobering statistics compared to 2017 – the best performing coin was 81% down from its all-time high, the crypto market was now worth a little over ⅙ of what it was last December and 83% of the top 25 exchanges were engaging in wash trading to hide their chronic lack of volume. Very little Christmas cheer could be had as far as the numbers were concerned.
Goodbye 2018, and Thanks (or Not) for the Memories
2018 has been a rough ride for cryptocurrencies, no doubt about it, with fortunes lost, dreams abandoned, and the media mocking the community at every opportunity. Statistically things look grim, but the fundamental news has never been better – trillion-dollar institutions are about to buy in, physically backed futures are coming, and the US government has been more positive on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency than at any point in the past. No one knows what 2019 will bring, but amid all the headlines about price it’s important to remember, as we leave Bitcoin’s 10th anniversary year behind, what Satoshi Nakamoto was trying to achieve when he published his white paper on October 31, 2008.
This will be my second Christmas with my family torn apart. Thanks to socialism.
Luckily, Bitcoin was there to save the day. My mom is spending Christmas safely with my sister outside the country, alongside my other 3 siblings who already left Venezuela.
Bless you all ❤️
— ⚡Eduardo⚡ (@Codiox) December 25, 2018
Goodbye 2018. Long live 2019!