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4Q 2018. Key Trends: Cryptocurrencies and ICO

The Bloomchain analysts observe that total capitalization of the crypto market continued to decline in 2018: in the last three months of 2018 it fell by 49% — from $222 billion to $129 billion, while overall market decline for 12 months of 2018 amounted to 77%. Bitcoin remains the leader by capitalization: at the end of December 2018 its capitalization was $66.97 billion, which exceeds 50% of the total volume of the crypto market. XRP with a capitalization of $14.92 billion comes second, having beaten Etherium ($14.23 billion) by the end of the year.

A crypto investor employing the «buy and hold» strategy would suffer losses in the 4Q of 2018 as none of the top 5 currencies has grown in value. Investments in XRP would be the least unprofitable (about 40%), while Bitcoin Cash would be the most loss-making (nearly 70%). Investments in leading currencies were also mostly unprofitable, as shown by the results of the year: average ROI (return on investment) for top 5 coins was −80% at year-end 2018.

Bitcoin, despite its popularity, had high spreads on some exchanges, which opened up possibilities for arbitrage. Unlike two previous years, in 2018 both cryptocurrencies and traditional benchmarks had a negative Sharpe ratio, which means that such investments had a negative average annual profitability. Decreased commission per Bitcoin transaction in 2018 led to a drop in total miners’ revenues — in 4Q 2018 it amounted to an average $7 million a day (a 40% decrease in three months).

The Bloomchain experts point out an increase in the volume of ICO (initial coin offering, i.e. attracting investments by selling cryptocurrencies to investors), stressing the fact that total investments attracted through ICO and Pre-ICO in 2018 amounted to as much as $21.5 billion, or 76% of the total volume of all ICOs ever. Apart from this, the analysts note a new trend in the digital assets market — STO (security token offering), meaning initial offering of so-called «regulated tokens» which come close to securities by their features and functionality.

Analytics on the topic