Well, 2018 was certainly a terrible year for the cryptocurrency market.
December’s performance was par for the course, but it did fare a little bit better this month than it has in the past few months.
With that being said, it didn’t end the month with a positive net gain. But it didn’t fall nearly as much as it has in previous months, which is a win as far as we’re concerned.
If you remember, one-third of the entire cryptocurrency market value was slashed in the month of November, so we’re relieved that December was more stable overall.
In this December Crypto Market Update, we’ve gone over the top ten market cap coins and their performance over the month, a few top news stories for the month of December, and a 2018 year in review section to cap things off.
We’ve got equal doses of reality and optimism for you here in this December cryptocurrency market update, so keep reading.
Ranking Market Capitalization and Performance – December 2018
If we’ve learned anything from the last few months, it’s that keeping a close eye on the market and your coins is absolutely imperative if you want to have a productive and successful cryptocurrency experience. This isn’t a casual investment, and you should set aside 30 minutes a day to check up on the market, current crypto news, and how your coin or coins are doing on that day.
We do these market performance updates every month where we rank the top ten coins in terms of market capitalization and in terms of its performance over the course of that month.
The coins are listed by their market cap rank, or how much of the cryptocurrency market is saturated with that coin, and then within each coin’s description and information for that month, we’ve assigned it a rank from 1 to 10 based on its performance. The market cap standings don’t vary much from month to month, but there are occasions in which we see the last few coins change.
In terms of our performance ranking, we determine their spots based on the percentage lost or gained within that month. So, the #1 coin has had the best month in terms of performance, and the #10 has had the worst. You’ll find our rankings next to the specific performance information under each coin.
Again, we do these each month to give a big picture look at the market, but we absolutely recommend that you strive to also gain a smaller day-to-day picture by checking up on the market daily.
#1 – Bitcoin (BTC)
Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s mysterious creator or group of creators, introduced the coin and the blockchain to the world in 2009. It is one of the most famous (or maybe infamous) cryptocurrencies on the market today and consistently is the #1 ranked coin in terms of market capitalization.
Bitcoin experienced a boom in November and December 2017, and it took a number of other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum along with it.
Many people believe that Bitcoin’s performance influences the performance of other coins on the market and maybe even the market in general. And though there’s no way to prove that to be true with 100% certainty, the market daily trends back up that statement.
The coin did lose value in December, but not nearly as much as it’s lost in previous months. On December 1st at market close, the value was $4,214.67 per BTC.
That was also its highest value of the month. December 15th gave a lot of coins their lowest value of the month, including Bitcoin, which fell to $3,236.76 at the time of market close. On the last day of the month, and the last day of 2018, it had risen to $3,742.50.
So, from December 1st to December 31st, Bitcoin dropped in value by 11%. This put it at #7 on our performance ranking this month.
#2 – Ethereum (ETH)
After Bitcoin, many other coins (sometimes known as altcoins) took it upon themselves to attempt to improve the pre-established Bitcoin model. Ethereum, created by Vitalik Buterin in 2013, was one of them.
Ethereum itself is a platform used for peer to peer (P2P) transactions using assets like cryptocurrency, and its coin is called Ether (ETH).
Ethereum regularly schedules and performs updates to its protocol and setup, ensuring that they’re constantly evolving with the market instead of staying stagnant.
At market close on December 1st, a single ETH was valued at $118.64. It experienced its highest value on December 24th, where it hit $140.24, and its lowest on December 14th at $84.31. It finished the month and year out at $133.37, meaning that it had an overall positive change of 12% in December.
#3 – Ripple (XRP)
Ripple is another P2P cryptocurrency platform that also rolled out a coin. This one is just called Ripple (XRP).
The platform opened in 2012 with the intention to not only allow users to trade using cryptocurrency but to also use the blockchain technology efficiently when making transactions with fiat or regulated currencies.
XRP did not have a huge fluctuation in value this month, starting December at $0.37 and ending at $0.35. It had a total percentage loss of 5%, which put it at #4 in terms of performance. Its highest value occurred on December 24th at $0.41, and its lowest occurred on December 15th at $0.29.
#4 – Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
After a hard fork in the original Bitcoin protocol, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) was born. It differs from the original Bitcoin mostly in terms of transaction speeds, where BCH claims to offer transactions at a much faster and more efficient rate than the original platform.
Bitcoin Cash experienced a fork in November, and consequently, it had the worst performance of the top ten market cap coins that month. This month, it has risen to #8 in terms of performance with an overall loss of 12%.
On December 1st, the value of a single BCH was $172.12, and on December 31st, that value was $151.05. Its value high came on December 23rd at $197.66, and its value low came on December 15th at just $77.37.
#5 – EOS (EOS)
EOS.IO, the coin native to the EOS platform, entered the market with the express statement that it “does not have any value, use, or purpose.” But that hasn’t stopped people from investing!
It is currently topping 906 million EOS that are in circulation and doesn’t yet have an established supply cap like you see with Bitcoin.
The value of EOS only experienced an overall percentage decrease of 13%, putting it in the #9 performance spot for December. On December 1st at market close, a single EOS was valued at $2.96, and on December 31st, it was valued at $2.57.
Its highest value of the month was its December 1st value of $2.96, and its lowest was on December 7th at $1.74.
#6 – Stellar (XLM)
Stellar was launched in 2014 by Jed McCaleb, founder of the Mt. Gox exchange and co-founder of the Ripple platform.
The coins native to the platform are called Lumens (XLM). The Stellar platform calls itself “the future of banking” and claims to “move money across borders quickly, reliably, and for fractions of a penny.” The network also claims to complete transactions in 2 to 5 seconds, which is significantly faster than Bitcoin’s average transaction time.
XLM came in at #10 in terms of performance this month, having dropped in value by 32%. On December 1st, the value of each XLM was at $0.17, and by December 31st, it had fallen to $0.11.
Its highest value of the month was $0.17, and that occurred on December 1st, and its lowest was $0.10 on December 15th.
#7 – Tether (USDT)
USDT is always relatively stable because it is the representation of a stable fiat currency. It experienced a growth of 1% from December 1st, where it was valued at $1.00, to December 31st, where it was valued at $1.01.
Its highest value this month was $1.03 on December 29th, and its lowest was $0.99 on December 5th.
#8 – Litecoin (LTC)
Another improvement to the original Bitcoin setup is Litecoin (LTC). It was introduced to the market in 2011, again to improve the speed in which transactions are carried out.
At the time of market close on December 1st, the value of LTC was $34.34. On December 31st at market close, it had a value of $30.47. It experienced an overall drop in value of 11% from the 1st to the 31st, which put it at #6 in terms of performance this month.
Its highest value occurred on December 1st at market close at $34.34, and its lowest on December 14th at $23.46.
#9 – Bitcoin SV (BSV)
Bitcoin SV is the newest coin on our top ten list. It entered the market last month, November 2018, after a hard fork occurred within the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) protocol.
December was Bitcoin SV’s first official entire month in the cryptocurrency market. It was introduced on November 9th, so it didn’t have the entire month’s data. It was ranked #5 in terms of performance for December, having dropped in value by 9%.
On December 1st at market close, a single BSV had a value of $93.54. On December 31st, it had a value of $84.96. Its highest value of the month occurred on December 20th, at $112.03, and its lowest occurred on December 15th at $68.44.
#10 – TRON (TRX)
TRON, and its official coin called Tronix (TRX), is focused on “decentralized entertainment content sharing” and hopes to make the internet more disconnected from certain authorities. This coin is typically within the top 15 market cap coins, and only occasionally does it breach the top ten.
TRX, though it was #10 in market cap for December, came in at #1 in terms of performance with an overall percentage increase of 25%. On December 1st, the value of TRX was $0.0151. On the last of the month, TRX was valued at $0.0188.
Its highest value occurred on December 24th at $0.021, and its lowest occurred on December 14th at $0.0127.
December Cryptocurrency News
There wasn’t a ton of cryptocurrency news this month, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Most people are ready to shed the 2018 stress in favor of looking forward to what’s to come in the new year.
We’ve selected a couple of headlines that we thought were the most thought-provoking (and hopefully reassuring) as we head into 2019.
McAfee’s 2020 Bitcoin Prediction – Does It Have a Chance?
Back in July of 2017, John McAfee, founder of the McAfee security software, made a prediction that Bitcoin would reach $1 million USD per BTC by the end of 2020. Without getting too graphic, he didn’t put money on the line with this bet, but he did bet the existence of one of his body parts.
With Bitcoin, and the crypto market in general, having the year that it did, you’re probably not surprised to hear that he has begun to backtrack a bit, though he hasn’t officially announced his concession.
McAfee believes that regulation will be the death of cryptocurrency and is what will eventually cause him to lose the bet if Bitcoin does not reach $1 million by the end of 2020.
Why is this prediction so controversial, aside from what he’s placed at stake? Predicting the path of Bitcoin, and any crypto coin for that matter, is impossible.
As we’ve stated before, the cryptocurrency market is volatile and unpredictable, which is in part what makes it such a risky investment.
Want some further proof? A number of financial experts made Bitcoin price predictions for the end of 2018, where Bitcoin was valued at $3,742.70 on December 31st.
These predictions ranged from $20,000 to $100,000, and the unpredictable market plunge obviously meant that none of these predictions came to fruition.
We certainly hope that the entire cryptocurrency market starts to make a comeback sooner rather than later, but attempting to predict where it will end up, especially if you have as much at stake as John McAfee, isn’t something we’d recommend.
Reasons to Be Optimistic About Cryptocurrency in 2019
Cryptocurrency is fantastic in theory, and it has a lot of upsides for those that would prefer to use a type of currency that is not connected to a central authority like a bank. Since January 2018, though, it has proved itself to be less and less reliable as a standalone financial asset.
There are a few speculative reasons that you could use in the argument in favor of cryptocurrency, the first being a bounce-back due to market cycles.
This is an idea based on the natural market cycles of the stock market, which doesn’t have a direct correlation to the cryptocurrency market but is still something we can watch out for in the coming year.
As we know, the crypto market is volatile and unpredictable, and additionally, there isn’t a ton of data that we can rely on to even begin to try to predict its future path.
This can make it difficult to feel secure with the future of the market both as an onlooker and an investor. But if we can glean anything from the stock market’s cyclical nature, 2019 may be a slow and steady reward for everyone who has stuck to their guns and kept their investment although things have been looking bleak.
Another reason is the popularity and possible growth in legitimacy of the market as the year progresses. Theoretically, the more people that invest their money in a coin, the more stable that coin will perform.
Of course, there are lots of other factors at play, but typically speaking, coins that are backed by more investors seem to fare better than the new coins that come hobbling into this violent market on fresh legs.
The last reason, which some may feel the opposite way about, is that financial and governmental institutions are learning more and more about cryptocurrency every day, and they are tentatively dipping their toes in.
When Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies first became popularized, there was a really tough stigma against them due to their decentralized nature. But as officials and members of the government learn more, their response seems to be largely positive, or at least not overwhelmingly negative.
This positive response may help further legitimize the use of cryptocurrencies and may encourage some people who still remain wary and skeptical to venture toward investment. This will then help to, theoretically, stabilize certain coins and the market in general as more and more people turn to investing.
The article we’ve linked above goes into much more depth, and we’ve only just scratched the surface, so if you’re looking for some positivity and optimism regarding cryptocurrency in 2019, we strongly recommend that you give it a read!
2018 in Review and 2019 on the Horizon
December 2017 was an all-time high for the cryptocurrency market. Bitcoin had broken through the $20,000 ceiling, and everyone gathered around their holiday tables and listened to their brother-in-law talk about how cryptocurrency was the currency of the future.
And then a value plunge in January 2018 gave many people, both current investors and prospective investors, pause.
The value of Bitcoin began to creep back down, seemingly losing more and more value every single day with no reprieve. Experts debated when it would start to bottom out and begin to steadily rise again, and that brother-in-law that spoke so highly of Bitcoin at last Christmas’ dinner didn’t have much to say at all this year.
But what does that say about 2018 from a market perspective? Of course, it was pretty devastating to watch the market do worse and worse every day, but it’s important to take the timeline into consideration.
Famously, in 2009, the first ever real-world Bitcoin transaction occurred when 10,000 BTC was used to purchase two pizzas. Now, we balk at that story, trying to imagine how two pizzas could be worth so much. But it’s all about the market.
We like to think of the cryptocurrency market as a baby. It was essentially born, in its current iteration, in 2009 with the introduction of Bitcoin. Yes, Bitcoin was definitely not the first attempt at a digital currency, but it was the first to get it right and make a lasting impact.
The “baby” slowly started to grow through its milestones. It can hold its head up on its own, hold and drink from a bottle on its own, and then it starts to crawl – slowly at first, because it doesn’t quite have the hang of it, and then it starts to pick up speed.
In our opinion, the “crawling” stage began in January 2016, as the value of Bitcoin began to very slowly creep upward.
And then the “baby” learned how to stand on its own for a few seconds at a time, but it couldn’t yet walk. This was around May/June 2017 when the value of Bitcoin took a sharp turn upward.
We won’t go through the entire analogy, but you get the picture. Early December 2017 was the cryptocurrency baby’s first steps, and after the first steps, there are going to be some first falls (some worse than others) that occur before it is steady enough on its feet to walk smoothly and without accident.
Now, of course, we’ll reiterate for the hundredth time in this update that the cryptocurrency market is unpredictable at this point in time. We can make inferences about why it moved the way that it did, but we don’t know anything with absolute certainty.
With that being said, the average person could take a look at the entire timeline of Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market and see that 2018 was not a great year but is also cryptocurrency’s first real active year. It will probably take a few years before it truly begins to stabilize, and that’s normal. Patience will be the name of the game in 2019.
Yeah, we’re sick of these gloomy crypto updates, too, but it never hurts to stop and take a big-picture view to really gain a better understanding of where you’re at today, both in life and in your investments.
Our advice, as always, is to keep a close yet calm eye on your cryptocurrency investments. Make your decisions after lots of consideration and try not to make reactionary moves if the market takes a sharp plunge again.
So, go get yourself two pizzas, kick your feet up, and remember to always consider things on both a small and large scale.
Happy New Year. Here’s to a much brighter 2019!
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