Cryptocurrencies ended 2017 on a relatively high note, with the most famous and popular digital currency Bitcoin trading steadily between a $16,000-$19,000 record high. And relative newcomers to the crypto currency market such as Ripple, Litecoin, Monero and Ethereum rewarded currency traders with big returns. However, into January and February of 2018, the initial hype and hysteria wore off with Bitcoin dropping significantly to a 2018-low of just $6,800. Now we are entering March and although it looked as though Bitcoin was heading for a crash just 4 weeks ago, it has now rebounded back up to $9,000 at time of writing, though prices for all cryptocurrencies remain volatile.
So, let’s take a look at the projections for Bitcoin and some of it’s newer competitors through 2018…
Although dozens of cryptocurrencies have emerged in the past 6 months, Bitcoin is still the oldest and most popular, hogging much of the limelight. Bitcoin raced to dizzying heights in late 2017, but it seems that many of the people buying them were not really sure what they were signing up for, caught up in media hysteria and trying to make a quick buck. Indeed, many warned of a “Bitcoin Bubble Burst” and in some ways this did happen with Bitcoin dropping from $19,000 to $9,500 in just a few months, with a period of panic selling. But it is now being argued by analysts that Bitcoin will be soon approaching a period of relative stability and stable growth now the initial excitement and hysteria has dissipated. Bloomberg and CNBC analysts are still projecting eye-watering Bitcoin values of up to $100,000 by summer of 2018. That might seem far-fetched, but Bitcoin surpassed all expectations and predictions in late 2017, so there is no reason to think this won’t happen.
But Bitcoin has a few markers determining whether it will be a boom or a bust in 2018. Firstly, it enjoys the advantage of being the oldest and trusted cryptocurrency on the market, but that could also see it eventually becoming obsolete in several years from now because the technology used to store and send Bitcoins via the Blockchain is becoming updated compared to the new kids on the block.
Security is also an issue with stolen Bitcoins hitting the headlines much more frequently, and much more significantly, the threat of regulating Bitcoin just as if it were any other currency is a real concern this year. That has already caused a drop in value in the opening few days of March, as much of the initial appeal of Bitcoin was that it was anonymous and decentralised with the value determined by independently of governments. But, if Bitcoin can weather these storms, there is no reason to suggest that it will stabilise and enjoy a period of steady and stable growth into 2018. Will that last into 2019 and beyond? That is much more uncertain.
What about Ethereum?
After much jockeying, Ethereum has settled in as Bitcoins main rival as of March 2018, with a value of $700. It has clear advantages over Bitcoin as it’s main rival, with better technologies such as “smart contracts”, which makes trading and storing the currency much more secure than Bitcoin, and this is the most attractive aspect of Ethereum that is now projected by some to increase in value from $700 to $5,000 by the end of 2018. All in all, Ethereum is generating a lot of interest from corporations such as Microsoft because of the “smart contract” technology, and it’s long-term projections look as though Ethereum will surpass Bitcoin as early as 2019. Although it suffers from the same problems that all of the cryptocurrencies face (such as over-regulation), it seems it is in a much better position to deal with them when compared to Bitcoin. Bitcoin may rise to that $100,000 value in 2018, but Ethereum is increasingly the choice for long-term traders and investors.
Ripple doesn’t have those big figure values enjoyed by Bitcoin and Ethereum with the currency value currently hovering around $0.80, but when you consider only 12 weeks ago it was trading at just $0.20, you can begin to see why it has generated investor excitement especially with it’s the long-term projections. However, Ripple is really generating a lot of excitements for it’s far superior technological prowess.
Ripple may actually be used to replace the current SWIFT international bank transfer system, with its ability to process 1500 transactions per second compared to Bitcoin’s 7 per second. Needless to say, this is getting more and more banks interested in the currency and it is driving up value exponentially. Sure, Ripple has experienced volatility in 2018, going from a meagre $0.20 in December, to a record high of $3.10 in January, and now back down to $0.80, but this is all down to the same hysteria that drove similar Bitcoin patterns. Now, Ripple is stabilising somewhat around $0.80, but projections for 2018 see it valued to around $10.00 after a period of constant stable growth, partly fuelled by rumours that Coinbase will add it to it’s list of trade-able currencies by the summer, rumours that look set to be reality considering the currency sits at 3rd place behind only Ethereum and Bitcoin.
Although projections expect these main cryptocurrencies to enter a period of stability as we approach Spring this year, and then a period of stable and steady growth through the summer and into late 2018, it pays to remember that cryptocurrencies are prone to be more volatile than traditional currency. So approach with caution!