2017 In Review: Top 10 Events in the Crypto World
2017 was an event of all-time highs, but also a catalogue of disasters, crashes and fears.
Most of the notable events of 2017 happened in the second half of the year, when the rolling ball of the crypto space gained speed and the mainstream paid more and more attention. Besides Bitcoin growing from $1,000 to $20,000, the year saw an evolution in thinking regarding cryptocurrencies, and set the pace for even more growth in 2018- or, alternatively, a bear market, though it is early to state the outcome.
1. The ICO Boom: The new year and the spreading of Ethereum led to the launch of the most notable ICO projects in the first half of 2017. Afterwards, in the open market, the projects rose or floundered, but 2017 was the year that saw the true boom of ICO financing, expecting it to continue in 2018. Toward the end of the year, the projects became smaller, but it was not unusual for token sales to raise easily up to $25 million.
2. The Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork: Bitcoin was becoming seriously congested, as transactions in creased. In hindsight, this was nothing like the current congestion, but it created enough discontent- and a well-organized group split off to create Bitcoin Cash, a blockchain that has gone through rough patches, but in just six months managed to produce a digital asset with a market price around three times as much as that of Bitcoin in December 2016. The launch of Bitcoin Cash also led to a spike in Bitcoin prices to $6,000 before a correction, one of the most dramatic rises for the year. This also opened the doors to a series of hard forks, some better than the others- Bitcoin Gold making it through, while projects like Bitcoin Diamond, Bitcoin Platinum and SuperBitcoin were seen as scams.
3. The SegWit2X Project: After Bitcoin Cash split off, Bitcoin faced the same problems, and a solution appeared- to implement larger blocks. Unfortunately, this fork did not go through, but it led to more hype and another spike in Bitcoin's price. After that, the price increase continued, without the fears of the effects of the fork, such as creating two digital assets that would fight for the "BTC" name and ticker.
4. The Chinese ban on exchanges and ICOs: This ban, coming in the middle of a bull market, caused both Bitcoin and altcoins to slump. Bitcoin recovered, but other digital assets were left reeling, losing ground against BTC. But soon, liquidity picked up again as some Chinese exchanges managed to find ways to work outside the mainland and Korea and Japan picked up the slack. ICOs continued, this time using direct offers, or registration in other countries.
5. The Ascent of Tethers: Starting in April, a minting wallet started to increase the number of USDT in circulation, lately reaching a total of $1.2 million in market capitalization. Tethers are a way to add extra liquidity to Bitcoin trading, and some believe the increase in Tethers, injected just when the Bitcoin price is about to crash, has distorted the market and caused an unwarranted bull run.
6. The Parity Wallet Freeze: This event showed that smart contract technologies are still risky. What turned out to be a newbie hacker managed to tamper with a multisig wallet smart contract and "accidentally killed it", in his own words. Right now, the funds in the Parity Multisig wallet, which has seen this second big hack after an earlier problem in the summer, cannot be released without a hard fork in the Ethereum protocol.
7. Bitcoin futures: The mainstreaming of Bitcoin continued with the launch of Bitcoin futures on CBOE and CME Group markets in December. Afterwards, the price of BTC tanked, but no one could tell for sure if this was the effect of the futures, or just a regular bout of volatility.
8. The Altcoin Bull Market in December: As Bitcoin reached $20,000 and retreated, it seems to have run its course, at least for now. But investors were hungry for "flipping cryptos" and a great bull run in altcoins happened once again, as prices were pushing rock-bottom. Even obscure or sleeping coins rose to all-time-highs, some spiking against Bitcoin as well, as the market was hungry for multiple returns. The leading coins: Litecoin, DASH, Ethereum, Monero, all moved upward.
9. The NiceHash Hack, losing more than $60 million's worth of Bitcoin. As the value of Bitcoin rose, more attacks were expected. But more often, those happened to exchanges - until the NiceHash hack happened, this time targeting the infrastructure of miners.
10. The Mining Wars of 2017: Mining became even more competitive in 2017. Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash competed for miners and hashing power, and may continue to do so in the future. This may reflect in the market price of Bitcoin Cash, as the forked coin continues to appreciate.