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Blockchain and cryptocurrency 2018: Year in Review

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Blockchain and cryptocurrency 2018
Blockchain and cryptocurrency 2018

Blockchain and cryptocurrency industry has faced a lot of focus in 2018. Last year we also did a 2017 year in review in which the major focus was the meteoric rise in value of cryptocurrencies. ICOs dominated the space with a combined marketcap of all cryptocurrencies shooting to around $800 billion. By comparison, by around early December the market cap was nearly $100 billion.

This is the most comprehensive month by month analysis and review of all the major events in crypto and blockchain in 2018. Reviews, news and highlights are covered from all major crypto outlets such as coindesk, cointelegraph, bitcoinist, CCN, The block, Bloomberg among others.

January

The first few days of January saw Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies recording high prices with Bitcoin being at around $17,000. However, this was not to last as the tumble began soon after (crypto winter).

The last day of January came with bad news for crypto community as Facebook announced new stringent measures to regulate ICOs, the head of product management announced in Jan 30th that promotions of financial products and services related to misleading or deceptive information such as binary options, ICOs or cryptocurrency would be banned. Therefore information such as ‘click here to get tokens at discount NOW’ were banned. However, blockchain and cryptocurrency related promotions were not banned in entirety. More info here.

NEWM tokens worth $520 Million stolen by hackers, as reported by Coincheck.

March: Google announced that it would form new restrictions for financial products starting June 2018. The ban was to entail cryptocurrency related ads, ICOs, cryptocurrency exchanges and cryptocurrency trading advice.

Towards end of march, Twitter joined Facebook and Google in banning misleading crypto advertising. Specifically, the announcement by Reuters indicated that the company would in the next 30 days ban ads by cryptocurrency exchanges, wallets services unless a company was listed on certain major stock markets.

April: Telegram raises 1.7 billion in pre-ICO and therefore abandoning need for ICO. This was one of the most anticipated ICOs are Telegram had announced its intention to roll-out the most ambitious blockchain project yet calling it the Telegram Open network (TON). It promised to turn telegram from just a secure messaging platform into a platform for decentralized applications including money transfer, file storage, among others.

MAY: Coindesk annual consensus conference in New York attracts record attendance of more than 8000 attendees. Historically, the consensus conference saw cryptocurrency price rally but not this time round. Prices were as slow as $8100 at the end of the conference down from $8500 at the beginning. However, there was a lot of buzz around the event as speakers such as Jack Dorsey and Snoop Dogg performed.

HTC also announced plans to launch a smartphone that will be powered by blockchain technology. Dubbed exodus, it will have a built-in secure hardware to support cryptos, DApps.

Facebook forms a blockchain group to look into how the giant social network can get into blockchain by launching its own cryptocurrency. This comes barely two months after FB announcement that it was banning ICO related marketing.

EOS announced in May that it is partnering with universities across Africa in an initiative to bring EOS to the masses. In an announcement on steemint, EOSAfrica project said that it intended to host a full node at 15 African universities that had a computer science department.

The biggest blockchain and cryptocurrency event in Africa so far dubbed Africa Blockchain Conference 2018 goes down in Kampala Uganda. 2 presidents, over 700 attendees from 23 countries including Binance CEO CZ were in attendance.

June: EOS launches product for the first time EOS Mainnet

EoS introduces a new arbitration mechanism that involves having an arbitration committee look into cases of disputes. With a few weeks a few disputes are resolved that involved payments and accounts being cancelled. There was some backlash from the crypto community that this could compromise independence and decentralisation nature of cryptocurrency, where no one party has authority over the other.

Crypto market cap continues to get low. Market cap is about $277B with Bitcoin around $6500 before hitting new year lows of $5800 later in the month, Ethereum $500 and EOS at $10.

On June 29th Binance announces it was launching a crypto exchange in Uganda. Binance is currently the largest cryptocurrrency exchange in the world in terms of trade volumes. (https://www.binance.co.ug/). This follows earlier promise by CZ during the Africa blockchain conference in May in Kampala

Facebook relaxes its the earlier decision banning cryptocurrency adverts on its platform. It announced that cryptocurrency advertises needed to apply to make ads. However, ICO marketing, binaries remained banned. Some cryoto products would therefore be allowed.

Anderrssern Horowitz VC firm a16Z launches a $300 million crypto fund called a16z crypto.

July

Kenyan government makes progress in ensuring sandboxes for adoption of cryptocurrencies.

July 11: opera browser introduced a beta version of cryptocurrency browser that allows users to easily interact with decentralized apps including receiving and sending cryptocurrencies.

August:

cryptocurrrency rebounds as BTC hits new heights of $7000 for the first time since June.

Coinbase research shows that 18% of US students have cryptocurrencies.

Total estimated cryptocurrency uses at this time is 30-40M, Binance has 10m of those.

September

Bitcoin and alts tank in a few days to around $6300BTC. Eth ranging from 180-190.

Black blockchain summit held at Howard university, USA, biggest gathering of black cryptocurrency enthusiasts, developers, marketers, entrepreneurs including.

Gemini Dollar: the Winklevoss twins announced their stable coin  and received approval from New York regulators. According to a medium post announcing the deal: Cameroon said that while cryptocurrencies trading operates 24/7 365, fiat trading only operated during official business hours. With Gemini stale coin, you can convert your US dollars in your Gemini account into Gemini dollar and withdraw them to a Ethereum address.

Consensus Singapore held. Binance CEO CZ is the headline giving the all famous story about how he sold his house in 2014 to buy Bitcoin and the price moved from $600 to $200. CZ said at the event that Binance plans to open fiat-to crypto trading platform in every continent within the next year. This is aimed at bringing in  more money into crypto because most of the money is still in fiat and there is no gateway for many people to enter the crypto markets.

Japanese crypto exchange, Zaif hacked and losses $60m worth of crypto assets including about 6000 bitcoins.

Bitpesa partners with Japanese SBI remit to use bitcoin as payment gateway for Japanese and Africa merchants.

Sept 21/22: XRP passes Ethereum on coinmarketcap after an impressive 24 hour 60% surge in value.

Chamapesa announces that it has pushed forward its launch of the product to 2019 saying they were concentrating on improving the product.

Coinbase announces new listing rules to enable more cryptos to list on their platform. The move can be seen as strategic in order to compete with growing Binance. Coinbase bundle’ enables users to buy 5 cryptos in one buy- Bitcoin,BCH, ETH, Litecoin, and ETH classic

27 September: Pesamil crypto exchange launches in Kenya at popular tech events hub- metta Nairobi . Starting with support for 5 cryptos- Bitcoin, Ripple, BCH, Eth, Litecoin . says the product will tailor made for Kenyans- to accept mPesa, Equitel, Pesalink, Airtel money, MasterCard.

Google reverses complete ban on crypto adverts by saying it will start allowing certain crypto exchanges to  make adverts starting october, starting with US and Japan.

October

The number of cryptocoins with over 1bn market cap is 16, a drastic drop from 41 in January 2018.

Coinbase releases its Q3 results. shows it added 5M users in previous 6 months . Now has 25 million user accounts.

EOSHACKATHON grand finale announced to be held in cape town in December 7. Previous hackathons have taken place in London, San Fransisco, Sydney and Hong Kong.

 Institutional money into crypto: Fidelity investments with a portfolio of $7trillion in assets managing for over 13,000 institutional investors announced it has created a Fidelity digital assets  with aim of bringing cryptocurrencies to institutional investors. This comes weeks after Yale’s $29Bn endowment fund invested in two silicon valley crypto funds: Andreessen Horowitz and Paradigm.

This was largely received well by the crypto community and saw a surge in price of major cryptos such as Bitcoin on mid October before stabilizing to previous levels a few days later.

Stable coins continue to dominate the market as Coinbase adds first us dollar backed USDC coin . There are more than 50 stable coins in the market competing for this market. other major ones are: Tether, Maker.

Oct 31st- Bitcoin whitepaper release 10 year anniversary is marked with enthusiasm from the crypto and blockchain community.

Coinbase raises $300 million, bringing its valuation to $8bn.

November

Binance announces that it had registered 40,000 accounts with first week since its launch in Uganda.

Africa digital assets framework (ADAF) launched. The aim is ‘consolidating blockchain development standards across Africa and beyond’.

Winklevoss twins sue Charlie Shrem claiming he store 5000 bitcoins from them. Shrem was initially arrested and sent to 2 years in prison 2014 in Bitcoin related fraud.

Malta blockchain summit: one of the hottest locations for blockchain startups see attendance of more than 8000 people from 80 countries. Big players such as Binance also represented.

Nov 6/7: Ripple surges and briefly overtakes ethereum in market cap for the second time after a 18% rise on 24 hours to 0.536. generally, first week of November saw a bit of price increase in cryptocurrencies.

BCH also surges to new heights surpassing the $600 mark to $618, amid talks of looming hard fork.

Nov 14/15: crypto melt down: all cryptos go down, some up to -20%. BTC at 5600. ETH 180 BCH 433

Nov 15: Bitcoin cash hard fork. on one hand- Bitcoin ABC-supported by Roger Ver and the other Bitcoin SV (Satoshi Vision) supported by Craig wright. Bitcoin ABC wanted to undertake further protocol upgrades to increase blocksize. some of the main proposals of Bitcoin ABC are:

  • Canonical transaction order- including transactions in a particular order away from current model which allows for any order
  • OP_CHECKDATASIG (DSV)- enabling oracles (smart contracts)

The hard fork was received with mixed reaction from the crypto community. Initially there was no clear winner as major exchanges waited before taking any action.

Kenya’s blockchain taskforce says their report is ready and would be submitted to cabinet secretary before being released to the public

Nov 19: Bitcoin slightly hits below $5000 to $4,981 before rising up again to above $5000 mark. This is the lowest point in 13 months since Oct 12 2017- according to coindesk data. This is a continuation of overall yearly downward fall in crypto market that would later see BTC hit lows of $3200 later in December.

XRP continues to take the second position displacing ETH

Ohio becomes the first state to accept bitcoin as means of paying taxes, through an intermediary

Harbor becomes the first to launch tokenized real estate on the blockchain.

Benjamin Arunda launches a blockchain book in Kenya. ‘Understanding the blockchain’.

December

Dj Khaled and Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather fined by SEC for illegal promotion of ICOs without disclosing payments they received for promotions.

Reddit Bitcoin subreddit reaches 1 million subscribers

G20 leaders discuss blockchain and cryptocurrency: say that crypto-assets regulation is important in order to prevent money laundering and counter terror finance.

Bitcoin ASIC mining difficulty drops 15% making it the second largest drop in Bitcoin’s history.

Reports indicate US government is researching how to use privacy features adopted by cryptos such as Monero and Zcash for homeland security reasons.

DEBATE: continued drop in price of cryptocurrencies could make them more vulnerable to 51% attack. According to theblockcrypto.com, lower crypto prices, leads to decrease in mining hash activity. Hash rate determines networks security since if the hash rate is low, it wold require less money to attack the network.

A number of blockchain and cryptocurrency companies announce layoffs due to continued decline in value of most cryptocurrencies. Stemmit is laying of 70%, Spankchain-60%. ConsenSys  -13%. Po.et also laying off 5 employees.

Coinbase announces it is looking to add support for more digital assets on their platform. Currently with less than 10 digital assets, Coinbase announced that it would explore assets such as Aeternity, Civic, cardano, Aragon, Distrcit0X, among others

coinbase
coinbase

US congress intending to pass a law to avoid digital assets manipulation. Source: (coindesk)

Opera browser announces release of browser with built-in Ethereum wallet, previously in beta mode. It opted to start with Ethereum because it has the largest developer community at the moment. (source coindesk).

Basis: one of the best funded crypto startups, announces plans to shut down and return funds to investors. Basis stable coin had raised $133million from reputable VCs such a16z said that its move was necessitated by uncertain regulatory environment. (source: The Block)

A research by university of Cambridge shows that despite the slump in the market, crypto users had grown to 35M, confirming earlier reports that the current number of crypto users could range anywhere between 30-40M. However, other analysis shows that Ethereum alone has 50 million unique addresses, while overall number of active addresses dropped. (source: The Block).

Crypto users report

Prices: crypto prices made a relatively upwards bounce around December 20th with Bitcoin rising to $4000 from previous lows of around $3200.

Dec 21: News came out that Facebook was developing its own cryptocurrency for money transfers on its Whatsapp platform.  The focus would first be on the remittance market in India. India has estimated 200 million Whatsapp users, and therefore this is seen a move that would establish Facebook firmly in the payments ecosystem if they pull it off (source: Bloomberg).

In summary, blockchain and cryptocurrency market in 2018 has had to adjust after the boom of 2017 with price of Bitcoin losing almost 80% of its value from previous all time high. There has also been a lot of focus on best way to regulate the industry and pronouncements by many governments officials around the world. In addition, major industry leaders have emphasized on need to build real viable use cases that will drive the next wave.  We will keep track of all the happenings in the industry and see what 2019 brings.

That is all i was able to cover for the year 2018. Incase there is something i missed, feel free to add in the comments section. You can get in touch via Telegram

Seasons greetings

1 COMMENT

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