Cryptocurrency Top 10 – What a Difference a Year Makes

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Bitcoin’s slight dip of about $500 to $5151 on 18th October 2017 may have seemed incidental at the time, but in hindsight it acted as the starting pistol for the epic 2017 bull run. The price of Bitcoin rocketed to almost $20k during the close of last year and, for the time being at least, has never returned to that low. A ten-month bear market has ensued, and, given how much the cryptocurrency landscape has changed since Bitcoin bounced off that low a year ago, it’s worth looking back at the top ten coins as they were back then and seeing how they have fared during the boom and bust periods. Who has made gains, who has made losses, and who has flat out died?
N.B. Price and position refers to standings on 18th October 2017 and 18th October 2018

Bitcoin

2017 position: 1 2018 position: 1
2017 price: $5,151 2018 price: $6,536
Report card: The daddy is still head of the table. Up $1,385 on the year and has held $6,000 area fairly resolutely in 2018 despite huge drop. Lightning network continues development. Bullish sentiment surrounding institutional adoption.

Ethereum

2017 position: 2 2018 position: 2
2017 price: $314 2018 price: $204
Report card: Huge decline from $1,390 January peak. Hit $172 in September and has been dethroned in second place by XRP on multiple occasions. Constantinople hard fork delayed following testnet failure. Questions raised over long-term future, but still most popular platform for ICOs.

XRP

2017 position: 3 2018 position: 3
2017 price: $0.22 2018 price: $0.46
Report card: Astronomical rise in 2017 and has settled at double last year’s value during the downturn. Adoption of xCurrent system by banks, but questions remain over centralization and token use case. Still not on Coinbase.

Bitcoin Cash

2017 position: 4 2018 position: 4
2017 price: $318 2018 price: $445
Report card: Reached $4,000 in December 2017 before slumping to almost a 10x decline, though it still remains up on its 2017 value. Wracked by internal squabbles amid little obvious development.

Litecoin

2017 position: 5 2018 position: 7
2017 price: $61 2018 price: $52
Report card: Founds its way to $369 in December 2017 at which point founder Charlie Lee sold his entire Litecoin holdings. Down, down, and down since then and now sitting at a $9 deficit compared to this point last year. No big developments in 2018, but mainly victim of bear market in regards to price.

Dash

2017 position: 6 2018 position: 13
2017 price: $290 2018 price: $157
Report card: Rocketed to over $1,500 in January, but has since seen a Bitcoin Cash-sized 10x decline in price. Now sits at almost half its value compared to last year. Has seen adoption in Venezuela as a form of currency. Delays in rolling out Evolution upgrade have disappointed investors, reflected in dramatic slide to 13th place.

NEM

2017 position: 7 2018 position: 17
2017 price: $0.21 2018 price: $0.095
Report card: Another big decliner from bull run highs, dropping from $1.94 in January to $0.095 today. Not much evident development, reflected in the drop of ten places. Still an unknown quantity to many.

Monero

2017 position: 8 2018 position: 10
2017 price: $89 2018 price: $104
Report card: The purists’ privacy coin. Just about held its top ten place following a peak of $485 in January and remains above 2017 price. Recently implemented ‘bulletproofs’ into its blockchain, improving efficiency by up to 80% and will soon hard fork into four separate coins.

BitConnect

2017 position: 9 2018 position: N/A
2017 price: $190 2018 price: N/A
Report card: Exposed as a ponzi scheme in January. Price dropped from $450 to $6 within ten days. Prominent social media promoters currently subject to a class action lawsuit and SEC investigation.

NEO

2017 position: 10 2018 position: 15
2017 price: $30 2018 price: $16.85
Report card: Touted as the ‘Chinese Ethereum’ but hasn’t backed up the style with substance. Critics say it is heavily centralized and the code does not stand up to scrutiny. Almost half the value it was this time last year and now sits outside of the top ten.

The Old Dogs Keep Pace

The biggest casualties from last year, if you exclude BitConnect, have been Dash and NEM, both of which have dropped out of the top ten and are now worth less than they were before the bull run. Almost half of the top ten is now different from this time last year, with EOS, Stellar, Tether, and Cardano replacing the dropouts. Despite this, it’s interesting to note that the old timers of crypto are still holding their own, with Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, and Monero retaining their places at the top table. This seems to demonstrate that, while newer projects can offer higher returns in the right conditions, tried and tested cryptocurrencies are often a better bet in less favorable circumstances.
Given the clear division between those who think we are in for an extended bear market and those who say we have turned the corner, it will be very interesting to see what the top ten looks like this time in 2019.

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