With the BIP148 UASF approaching, cryptocurrency markets are acting up. Prices are falling, so it is great to compare how these markets were looking like under more “normal” circumstances. That is why we took a cryptocurrency market snap shot of the top 5 alcoins in terms of market cap for the last 3 years. It is interesting to see how these markets were doing merely one or two years ago and how much they have evolved to gain some perspective. Readers be warned: the fact that markets behaved a certain way in the past, doesn’t mean they will follow that pattern into the future. Hopefully the snap shots together with that caveat, will contribute to your own analysis.
2017 Cryptocurrency Market Snap Shot
Let’s start by looking at the 2017 cryptocurrency market snap shot. This snap shot should be fresh in people’s minds, but it allows us to set a point of comparison. Spoiler alert – Bitcoin is the perennial #1:
There are many reasons why even as we head into the world of BIP148 and potential forks, bitcoin is still number 1 by a long shot. This is the original cryptocurrency, the one that opened the entire world to the wonders of P2P transactions. Maybe a post BIP148 cryptocurrency snap shot will show others dethroning it, maybe not. Only time will tell, in the meantime bitcoin still holds a 46% dominance over cryptocurrency markets. No other altcoin has been able to replicate bitcoin’s success since Satoshi Nakamoto introduced it in 2008, despite wild price fluctuations over the years.
According to Marc Kenigsberg, there are two main factors influencing bitcoin prices price right now: “Firstly, some of the speculative money that has been invested in the last few months by outside investors is being taken off the table as profits. Secondly, the market is still reacting to Bitmain’s threat tactics and the risk of a possible hard fork as retaliation for UASF. Ultimately Bitcoin is still up almost 150 percent YTD so I’m not concerned at all. Clearly, the fundamentals are strong and the demand is still increasing.”
This cryptocurrency market snap shot shows how far Ethereum has come in terms of price. Despite being at 50% of its all-time high, this is the second time Ether has found itself within the top 5 in a cryptocurrency market snap shot. Will it be able to stay there, will it overtake bitcoin or will it succumb to ICO bubbles? We will have to wait and see, but its growth so far in terms of market cap and price is just spectacular!
Vitalik Buterin invented Ethereum in 2014. The second most prominent blockchain of the industry has a market cap of $21,133,810,036, USD. That is about half of bitcoin’s market cap, putting its dominance at around 23% of the market. The main reason for its recent price drop could be the upcoming Metropolis hard ford, or an upgrade of the Ethereum blockchain that will happen in about one month. But that is not the only reason for its recent drop. ICO markets might have something to do with current prices. Nevertheless, anyone who focuses on this cryptocurrency market snap shot and then compares it with the following 3, could conclude that Ether came out of nowhere and is poised to take over.
The next altcoin in our cryptocurrency market snap shot is Ripple. The Ripple project is based on a distributed open-source protocol. This altcoin was designed to speed up settlements between banks, and the project was launched in 2012. This way, banks can meet growing demands for faster, low-cost, on-demand global payment services for any payment size.
It is a distributed network, but most pure cryptocurrency investors don’t rely on this altcoin because it is under the control of the banks. That is why it could struggle to reach a significant peak in price. Nevertheless, Ripple has done exceptionally well in terms of price and market cap. From a pre-sale price of $0,005 in August 2013, it is now worth $0,19 with a current market cap of $7,418,650,053.
Another spoiler alert. Just as bitcoin is the perennial #1, Litecoin is constantly among the top 5 altcoins in every cryptocurrency market snap shot we took. Litecoin just recently joined all the other coins that established new all-time highs this year, rising to $56.03 USD per coin. SegWit activation has a lot to do with this, and some investors are looking to it as a BIP148 bitcoin hedge.
The price of this altcoin fluctuated between $1.7 USD and $7.7USD from the end of July 2014 until April 2017. From that point on, its price grew by over 1,000% as its network gathered more support and media coverage thanks to the implementation of the Segregated Witness. Maybe SegWit can push bitcoin in the same direction, but with all the infighting it seems less likely. The transition on Litecoin was smooth and the sky now seems to be the limit for the coin many regarded as silver to bitcoin’s gold.
The other part of the post-DAO Ethereum fork. Many dismissed its potential, but Classic Ether and the Ethereum Classic network have proved their resilience. ETC reached the top 5 this year, so this is the first and only time you will see it in a cryptocurrency market snap shot in this article. ETC price surged this year in part because of the growing importance of its bigger brother, Ethereum, which gave it more exposure. Both blockchains work in a similar way – pending further changes on Ethereum – because they share common DNA a few million transactions back.
2016 Cryptocurrency Market Snap Shot
In 2016 the first four positions are occupied by the same digital currencies as in our 2017 cryptocurrency market snap shot, except for the DAO. A Year or so ago, the DAO was the most important project related to the Ethereum blockchain. It was a decentralized autonomous organization – hence the acronym DAO – that raised over US$100 million, but unfortunately a hacker targeted it. On June 17, 2016, The DAO was subjected to an attack that deployed a combination of vulnerabilities and the hacker gained control about $50M at the time of the attack.
2015 Cryptocurrency Market Snap Shot
The 2015 cryptocurrency market snap shot featured a couple of coins that grew in absolute terms from then until now, but dropped out of the top 5 since. These altcoins are Dash and Dogecoin.
Dash is currently in the sixth position, barely missing the 2017 cryptocurrency market snap shot. Dogecoin is in the 26th position, falling further behind. Dash is an open source peer-to-peer digital currency that offers similar features to those that bitcoin offers but it is a zero-knowledge coin. It also offers instant transactions and decentralized governance, with economic incentives to run a full – master – node. Dash was originally released as XCoin in January 2014. On February 28, the name was changed to “Darkcoin,” and then on March 25, 2015, Darkcoin was rebranded as “Dash.” Rebranding might have taken an early toll on its stance, but Dash recovered spectacularly.
Unlike Dash, Dogecoin was supposed to be a “joke currency”. Launched in December 2013, Dogecoin quickly developed its own online community and reached a market cap of US$60 million in January 2014. When we took the 2017 cryptocurrency market snap shot, it had a capitalization of about US$340 million. Just like Dash, it is better off in absolute terms, but it fell way below the top 5 and it seems that it will not recover its position among the cryptocurrency elite. Maybe it fell because of its unlimited supply.
Bonus: 2014 Cryptocurrency Market Snap Shot
The next cryptocurrency market snap shot shows us the top 5 altcoins by market cap in 2014. This was the year that followed the Mt Gox debacle, and the snap shot shows 2 coins that have since fallen from grace. While adding to their absolute market cap, neither NXT nor PeerCoin have been able to garner any steam. Both seem poised to add marginal amounts to their market cap while they keep on slipping further down the table. They are currently ranked #47 and #57 respectively.
A 2018 Cryptocurrency Market Snap Shot
So, there you have it, 4 years of cryptocurrency market snap shots. We hope this helps you reflect about how you saw cryptocurrency markets in the past and how you see them now. Maybe you can take a leap of faith and speculate about how the 2018 cryptocurrency market snap shot will look like for the top 5. We will refrain from doing so; your mind must be flow freely into its own conclusions. Just remember, BIP148 is coming. Assuming that the future will somewhat resemble the past might be perilous.