Crypto’s black Wednesday: Where do we go from here?


Times are tough for Bitcoin owners.Image: mokee81/gettyimagesBy Stan Schroeder2018-11-15 12:51:54 UTC

Cryptocurrencies are notoriously volatile, but even seasoned traders were taken aback by the price action on Wednesday and Thursday. 
Bitcoin is down roughly 15% compared to the day before and is trading at $5,380 on Coinbase at writing time. Ethereum fared even worse, dropping roughly 17% to $171 and losing the position of the second largest coin by market cap to XRP, which is also down more than 10% in the last 24 hours. 
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We’ve seen sharp price drops like these before, but this selloff is notable for several reasons. For one, it came after nearly three months of relative stability in the crypto market; some even pointed out that Bitcoin has become more stable than some of the stocks listed on Nasdaq. 
And while the prices showed signs of modest recovery in early Thursday trading, the depths that they’ve reached aren’t very promising for the crypto market’s future. Bitcoin has recently been trading at roughly one third of its December all-time-high price of $19,789, but (except for a very short period in June) it steadfastly refused to go below $6,000 all year, which established that price as an important resistance level. The fact that that level’s now broken indicates the bear market will continue. 
The reasons behind Wednesday’s crash aren’t easy to discern. The Bitcoin Cash power struggle (read the sordid details here) and the uncertainty it brings, was a factor. But it was more likely just a catalyst for a market that needed a reason for a correction. On a broad level, Bitcoin’s adoption as a means of payment has been glacially slow, and Ethereum’s promise to become a world computer has been hampered by scalability issues, which probably won’t get solved very soon. 

The total market capitalization of all crytpocurrencies has plummeted from more than $800 billion in January to just $184 billion in November.Image: Coinmarketcap”Price volatility is not unusual in the crypto landscape — however, today’s dip is significant enough to prompt industry players to stop and take stock of the reasons why. It’s safe to say that Bitcoin Cash’s upcoming hard fork was stirring uncertainty amongst crypto investors, and forecasters across crypto and traditional markets alike have predicted a prolonged bear market heading into 2019,” Donald Bullers, the North American Representative for Elastos, said in a statement sent to Mashable. 
The Bitcoin Cash drama still isn’t over (the coin is set to fork — divide into two coins — on Nov. 15), so more volatility over the next couple of days is to be expected. But what will happen to cryptocurrencies in the long run? According to experts, these sudden price changes don’t mean much. 
Charles Hayter, the CEO of CryptoCompare, told Mashable via e-mail that volatility like this is to be expected in a “nascent industry” such as crypto. “The story remains the same for bitcoin and other cryptos – better regulatory clarity and institutional interest as we see the continuing trend of digitised assets with the birth of a new asset class,” he said.
One possible event that would help that become a reality would be SEC accepting one of many proposals for a Bitcoin ETF. The regulator has rejected or postponed the decision numerous times this year, and several more proposals are to be decided on in the near future. However, with the cryptocurrency space getting increasingly regulated, countries like Malta and Switzerland bidding to become the next “crypto valley,” and major players such as Coinbase launching tools that cater to the needs of institutional investors, one has to wonder if it’s just a matter of time. 
“Crypto price slumps can often create misconceptions about the future of our industry, but perhaps what is most important to remember during periods of volatility is that the underlying blockchain technology solves real-world problems across the real economy. Crypto prices may rise and fall for reasons that are difficult to identify, however, the blockchain industry will remain strong and continue to grow,” Casey Kuhlman, CEO of Monax Industries, said in a statement sent to Mashable.
Disclosure: The author of this text owns, or has recently owned, a number of cryptocurrencies, including BTC and ETH.

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