2017 was a great year for cryptocurrencies. As of January 1st, 2017, the market capitalization of all outstanding digital currencies – or cryptocurrencies – was $18 billion. As of December 31st, 2017, the world of crypto’s market cap was collectively $613 billion.
January 7th, 2018, brought a total market cap of $835 billion. Ever since the, however, cryptocurrencies have unarguably tanked, and tanked horribly.
Earlier today, all cryptocurrencies’ collective market capitalization sunk to a troublingly-low $278.5 billion.
Bitcoin is worth little more than $6,000 per coin, in terms of the United States Dollar. Its market cap was once at $330 billion not too long ago; today, Bitcoin’s capitalization is threatening to fall below $100 billion.
Altcoins Are Faring About As Well As Bitcoin
Altcoins, or alternative bitcoins, are cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin. Let’s take a look at Ether, Ripple, and Litecoin, all three of which became attractive alternative investment options to Bitcoin over the past few months.
Ether was once worth $1,433 per unit, when the foundation of Ethereum’s blockchain – Ether uses the Ethereum blockchain technology to operate, and trades as ETH on digital currency exchanges – was at its most popular point. Now? Roughly $845.
Ripple, trading as XRM on cryptocurrency exchanges, was worth a paltry $3.84 – though, because so many units are available, $3.84 is actually quite a high price for the totally-anonymous cryptocurrency – plummeted 84 percent, down to just $0.61.
Last on our list of examples is Litecoin. Trading for $375 at its peak, Litecoin has since dropped roughly 70 percent of its trading value. Units of Litecoin sit at just 112-odd United States Dollars.
No matter how you look at it, Ripple was unarguably hit the hardest by early 2018’s painful, drastic cryptocurrency crash, with its market cap’s floor falling through, down to $24 billion from a whopping $150 billion.
But Why Did Cryptocurrencies Lose Their Momentum, And Why Did They Slow Down So Much?
In short, nobody really knows. Because cryptocurrencies are so new, there hasn’t been much time for financial experts to conduct analytical research regarding digital currencies and external factors’ effects on their performance.
However, tightening regulations around the globe has turned many investors off from the dwindling prospects of Bitcoin and company.
People aren’t seeing immediate integrations of blockchain technology – which was far-fetched to think in the first place, though. Lastly, credit card issuers have decided not to treat cryptocurrency exchanges fairly, with Visa and MasterCard both classifying such transactions as cash advances, racking up additional fees for traders.