What was the top cryptocurrency of 2019?

The market saw some major highs and lows in 2019, but one coin trumped all the others

The past 12 months have proved to be a roller-coaster year for the cryptocurrency market.

Major hacks, an exchange flash crash, the launch of Bitcoin futures, and crypto discussions among global regulators saw some coins surge in value while others floundered.

Ripple (XRP), for instance, which has struggled ever since the 2018 market crash, is currently trading at £0.17 – a drop of 37% since the start of the year. The majority of altcoins have struggled to gain any traction and have been on a downward trajectory since the spring.

In contrast, while Bitcoin has seen its fair share of highs and lows, it has been a largely positive year for the market’s “king coin” – making Bitcoin the top cryptocurrency of 2019.

Bitcoin highs

Bitcoin started 2019 on a fairly muted note, trading at just £2,837. In April, however, things started to take off and the coin enjoyed a strong rally that saw its price hit nearly £10,000 in June.

There was no one specific catalyst for Bitcoin’s jump in the summer, but some industry onlookers highlighted increased appetite for Bitcoin following the launch of crypto ventures by institutional investors.

In the second half of the year, Bitcoin’s price started to drop and, in November, it fell by more than 10% in just one day when a market crash wiped billions from the value of several major cryptocurrencies.

Despite this, Bitcoin is currently trading at £5,554, which represents an impressive gain of 96% since the start of the year. In other words, Bitcoin almost doubled in value in the space of 12 months, which is a remarkable feat given the market’s volatility.

Major milestones

It isn’t just Bitcoin’s price growth that makes it the top cryptocurrency of 2019. Bitcoin has also celebrated some major milestones, which have helped to drive positive sentiment towards Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market generally.

In April, the 400 millionth transaction was recorded by Bitcoin’s public blockchain. And in October, the 18 millionth Bitcoin was mined, leaving only three million BTC remaining out of the hard-capped 21 million BTC supply.

2019 also saw the official launch of Bakkt, a Bitcoin futures platform, which finally took place in September after several delays. Within 48 hours of the announcement, Bitcoin surged by more than 10%.

It is hoped the world’s first Bitcoin futures platform will bring liquidity to the market and help to drive further adoption of Bitcoin among the financial sector.

Alongside these developments, Bitcoin’s adoption has continued with major financial institutions, technology firms, and other corporations around the world increasingly acknowledging its value and potential.

For consumers, it’s now possible to pay for items using Bitcoin at some online stores, buy real estate, and gamble at an online casino.

Looking ahead

Many analysts think Bitcoin is set for further positive developments in 2020. Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, for instance, has said the Bitcoin charts sent to him in prison show the price could hit $100,000 in 2020 based on the Elliott Wave Theory.

Peter Brandt and cybersecurity developer John McAfee also think Bitcoin could see significant growth during 2020.

“Ignore this drop in Bitcoin’s price. I am firmly with Peter Brandt in his medium term $50k price prediction,” McAfee tweeted.

“I am also firm on my $1 [million] price by the end of 2020. Stop wringing your hands!”

An important event that could propel the price of Bitcoin is the next halving event. Due to take place in May 2020, this will reduce the reward for mining new blocks by half. Since a halving event limits the supply of new coins, prices could rise if demand remains strong.

According to Charles Hwang, managing member of the hedge fund Lightning Capital, the next halving could boost the Bitcoin price to between $20,000 and $50,000 in the future.

His projection is based on the assumption that demand holds steady at 633,000 Bitcoin through 2021, while mining rewards drop to 328,500 Bitcoin a year from the current 657,000 a year.

“This sudden shift in the supply curve will most likely be the catalyst for the next Bitcoin bull run,” Hwang said.

German bank BayernLB, meanwhile, has predicted that the 2020 halving could drive the Bitcoin price as high as $90,000.

No one really knows what will happen to the Bitcoin price in 2020, but after a relatively successful 2019, things are looking positive for the market’s king coin.

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