2017 in Review: Crypto Tendencies and Achievements
2017 was a milestone year for cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin has risen to tremendous heights, its price increasing 16x. Other cryptocurrencies set new records; some of them rising as high as 100x. ICOs went from relatively unknown fundraising methods to the biggest craze of 2017, raising over $ 4 billion. This year was probably the first year that the general public took notice of the crypto world, Let’s take a look at some of the most notable events in the crypto world that happened during this year.
Cryptocurrencies Become a Part of the Global Financial System
Being the first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin was also the first to gain foothold as a legitimate asset within the global financial system. 84 internationally recognized hedge funds invested in Bitcoin during 2017. International exchange powerhouses CBOE and CME started trading Bitcoin futures, with Ethereum futures also announced. In developed countries like Denmark and Japan Bitcoin and Ethereum were recognized as legitimate means of payment, while in countries plagued by economic problems like Zimbabwe or Venezuela Bitcoin remained the only safe haven in the sea of financial volatility.
The Rise of the Altcoins
The total market cap of altcoins skyrocketed from $2.2 billion at the beginning of the year to over $350 billion at the end of the year. Monero, NEM, Dash, Ripple and the ever-present Ethereum increased in value as much as 100x during 2017. The Ripple network has been adopted by banks throughout the world and is considered a legitimate competitor of SWIFT, Dash has been used for payment in multiple online stores, Zcash has partnered with JPMorgan to create a protocol for transfer of value, the IOTA Tangle technology has been adopted by Netherlands for administration of legal documents, while Monero continued its rise as the star currency of the Darknet.
Ethereum in an Amazing Shape
2017 was a great year for Ethereum. Its price set a new record of $800, rising by over 5,700 per cent, and it is now processing a million of transactions of per day, which is exactly double the amount that Bitcoin is processing. The value of Ethereum is conditioned by its blockchain technology which allows for the use of smart contracts and decentralized applications. The biggest use case for Ethereum this year were ICOs: Ethereum was the platform of choice for nearly 97% of all ICOs launched in 2017. Ethereum-based lending solutions (think ETHLend) are also on the rise. Decentralized applications such as EtherDelta and CryptoCribs have also demonstrated a considerable commercial potential and are starting to compete with centralized cryptocurrency systems on the market.
The Year of Blockchain
2017 was considered by many experts the make or break year for the blockchain technology. Blockchain emerged as the biggest buzzword of 2017, with several governments announcing plans to adopt blockchain for official purposes. The Prince Sheikh of Dubai announced that the government of this emirate will migrate to blockchain by 2020, while Estonia is transferring its medical records to blockchain. Some other countries are following suit.
There has been no shortage of innovative blockchain projects, and the highlight is the emergence of blockchain in areas not directly linked to fintech. There are blockchain projects operating in healthcare, in logistics, in travel and in sports. 2017 has been especially fruitful to gaming industry, with CryptoKitties exploding in late November, and some other promising projects such as Hash Puppies on the NEO blockchain under development.
The Explosion of ICOs
Before 2017, there were very few companies that managed to raise over a million US dollars by way of ICO. However, the concept of ICO that allowed innovative startups even in the most underfunded markets to raise big money really took off this year. The most active ICO month was November, with over $900 million of funding raised.
Due to relatively low entry barriers, there were also quite a number of scams on the ICO market this year. In order to help investors to distinguish their legitimate ICOs from scams, ICO projects began recruiting experienced lawyers, bankers, blockchain developers and respected advisors to legitimize themselves. Some of the ICOs were endorsed by high-profile celebrities from Lady Gaga to Lionel Messi.
Top ICOs of 2017
The undisputed number one ICO that raised the most money this year ($257 million) is Filecoin. Filecoin is a decentralized storage network where users rent out unused storage space on their hard drives and are rewarded with FileCoin tokens. The system is based on a new file sharing protocol called InterPlanetary File System. Such high-profile names of the financial world as Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and Union Square Ventures declared support for this project.
The second highest-grossing ICO of 2017 is Tezos ($232 million). It is a smart contract platform similar to Ethereum and EOS but with proposed improvements in the coding language, consensus and governance. An innovative feature of Tezos is a self-governance mechanism, wherein users vote to initiate changes on chain, instead of forking.
Number three on our list is EOS ($180 million). It is an Ethereum-like blockchain which supports smart contracts and decentralized apps. It did not exactly fulfill its mission as the “Ethereum killer”, but it offered a solution to Ethereum’s scalability issues.
The fourth place belongs to Bancor ($153 million), a decentralized liquidity protocol that allows holders of any Ethereum tokens to convert them to any other token supported by the network at a price that is calculated automatically, bypassing exchanges and their commissions.
Top five of the highest-grossing ICOs of 2017 is rounded up by Status ($108 million). It is a mobile Ethereum OS which turns your mobile phone into a secure client and allows you to browse, chat, and make payments on a decentralised web. It operates a decentralized p2p protocol that allows users to exchange encrypted messages.
At the end of the year experts and users are sharing their predictions for the coming year. It promises to be even more exciting for the crypto industry that 2017. Stay with us to get a roundup of expert predictions and analytics for 2018.
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