2017 saw some unprecedented growth and happening, so what can 2018 dish up for the cryptoworld?
Predicting is a big part in cryptocurrencies, especially when it comes to prices, but in this volatile market it is not only the price that can see-saw, all kinds of occurrences are affecting this burgeoning market.
This has led to people to speculate already what 2018 will hold for the cryptocurrency world. 2017 was definitely a massive platform on which a sturdy foundation was built for this market, but what does 2018 hold?
1. Bitcoin will still be king
As Bitcoin peaked to $20,000 just before Christmas last year, it was unstoppable in both its growth and dominance, but since then it has dropped away in both respects as altcoin seasoned opened up the new year.
The original cryptocurrency saw its dominance fall to below 33 percent as others such as Ripple, Stellar and Tron have snatched some of the overall market cap.
However, already on the comeback trail, the belief is that Bitcoin will still be the market leader through 2018.
Erik Voorhees, CEO of digital asset exchange ShapeShift, has said that there has been a decline in Bitcoin’s dominance in transactions since a year ago on their platform, but that Bitcoin is actually benefiting from growth in Altcoins.
"Bitcoin has such magnificent network effects that I don't see another altcoin that's a little better at payments" or some other function right now, Autonomous' Global Director of fintech strategy, Lex Sokolin said.
2. More institutions will join the fray
Already, after mostly laughing, then shunning, then finally taking note, the Wall Street-types have been forced to pay attention to Bitcoin. It has led to more institutions either accepting Bitcoin or even joining the fray.
The likes of CME and CBOE taking up Bitcoin futures are indicators of this.
"Our institutional investor base is very interested in learning more and getting exposure," said Michael Graham, a Canaccord Genuity analyst, said.
"With the regulated futures markets going live in 2017, the stage is set for ETFs to gain approval in 2018," Nolan Bauerle said. "In fact, the CBOE filed for six cryptocurrency ETFs at the end of 2017 which could go live in 2018. This would dramatically increase how institutional investors can get exposure."
3. Regulators also ready to jump in
Up until now, regulation has been a symptom treatment rather than an established procedure on the cryptocurrency market as they are still playing catch up.
However, 2018 will be a year for them to consolidate and make up ground as cryptocurrencies steady and slow somewhat in their pioneering ways.
“One of the things we'll see is enforcement here from the regulators," Canaccord’s Graham added. He expects that greater regulation will cause a "major price dislocation event for the whole sector."
Regulators will no doubt cause some issues in the growth as they spook the burgeoning but fragile market.
Spencer Bogart, managing director and head of research at venture capital firm Blockchain Capital is predicting big losses in regulation.
"I think we could easily purge 60-75 percent of crypto hedge funds in this type of market," Bogart said. "In this environment, funds that can call capital and deploy it counter-cyclically stand to benefit significantly."
4. Volatility will still be synonymous
You cannot talk about Bitcoin without making mention of its volatile market nature, and although it is a year older and wiser, it will still be a wild ride.
“We think we're going to have more forks in 2018 than 2017," Canaccord's Graham continued. "Ultimately we think those forks are going to be a short-term tailwind to Bitcoin's value and a long-term headwind."