To say that 2018 was not a great year for cryptocurrencies is an enormous understatement. Following euphoric price highs at the end of Q4 2017, the 12 months that followed brought continued downward pressure across the market. Investors are curious about what the market will do in 2019. Below are predictions for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and XRP based on current market trends.
Bitcoin bottom’s up?
Bitcoin is the unquestioned leading indicator in the cryptocurrency market. Where Bitcoin prices go, all other tokens tend to follow. BTC led the entire field in bringing crypto prices down, starting from a high of nearly $20K in December 2017 only to drop over 80 percent over the course of the year.
Bitcoin finally settled in the mid $3000 range, where it has hovered for a few months now, enjoying support from the 200-week moving average. This price, while nowhere near the ATH of last December, is still a better outcome than the scores of other cryptocurrencies who have disappeared over the past year.
Is this slump into which Bitcoin has settled finally rock bottom? If so, the only place to go is up. But one factor that has not been taken into account is the crushing fear gripping many investors. Despite the inherent risk involved with investing in cryptocurrency, the hope of a better financial system has attracted countless investors.
Fatigued by the bulky, archaic fiat markets, even long-time fiat investors flocked in great number to cryptocurrency. Some saw tremendous payoff. Others, particularly those who bought at last year’s peak, lost their fortune. However, in spite of the substantial sell-off last year, the silver linings of an increasing hash rate and increased difficulty adjustment would indicate that a bottom has been reached.
Additional positivity comes in the form of a large number of corporations investing directly in cryptocurrency platforms. Projects such as Bakkt, Fidelity Digital Investments, and Galaxy Digital are developing specific platforms for retail establishments to offer crypto payment options for their clientele.
Of course, some pretty extreme predictions exist on either side of this news. For example, some analysts see the ongoing struggle to keep operational costs low as well as Bitcoin’s seeming inability to cross over into an everyday payment method as reasons to predict continued price declines. However, given the stability of the $3,400 MA, and movement at the institutional level, further downside is not likely.
All of this is apparently positive for Bitcoin in 2019. Given these statistics, it seems reasonable that BTC will recover to a price point north of $6,000 in the coming year. This prediction is partially based on the historic volatility of the token and its somewhat predictable recovery patterns.
ETH following suit?
Ethereum performed even worse than Bitcoin over the past year, with a drop in value of over ninety percent from its ATH. While ETH has faced major challenges, it is important to remember that Ethereum offers one of the most useful and flexible platforms in cryptocurrency. The forerunner in smart contract formation, ETH also gives users relatively quick transaction speeds and a user-friendly business development platform.
As such, it holds high potential for value growth, leading to mainly bullish expert predictions for the coming year. These predictions are based on several factors, including the now-delayed Jan 2019 Constantinople hard fork, implemented primarily to increase ease of use on the Ethereum smart contract platform. Ethereum is also seeking to move to a Proof of Stake protocol called Casper, which should elicit a positive effect on token price.
While ETH could drop below $100, many suggest that a successful PoS implementation could cause growth of anywhere from $500 to over its ATH of $1300 in 2019. However, these predictions are generally from insiders and ETH evangelists.
More reasonable analysis would indicate that ETH will follow on the coattails of Bitcoin, recovering some of what it lost in 2018. A reasonable prediction, assuming network upgrades occur, would be somewhere close to $300.
XRP bringing up the rear?
Another top-three token is Ripple’s XRP. The true value of XRP lies not in the fact that it boasts one of the largest market caps in the industry, but rather in its parent corporation, Ripple. Ripple is actively accomplishing what every decentralized platform in existence has dreamed of achieving by not only establishing a strong presence in the traditional financial space, but also by providing a product that is light years ahead of any fiat alternative.
Ripple simultaneously satisfies two main gauges of crypto business viability. Experts claim that in today’s market, one of the major success indicators of any cryptocurrency is its potential as a valued service. Ripple has done just that by offering cross-border payment services at rates that are vastly less than normal SWIFT charges.
Pending partnerships with financial mainstays such as Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley are certainly indicative of widespread financial market acceptance. Ripple’s stated goal is to work alongside existing financial institutions, improving upon well-established infrastructure and providing streamlined cross-border payment services for clients who are unwilling or unable to leave fiat banking.
Ripple and XRP have a lot to offer enterprise-level clients. With transaction speeds measuring in the seconds, Ripple is the clear frontrunner over typical cross-border payment providers. Ripple is even faster than Ethereum and Bitcoin, with transaction speeds of a few minutes and a few hours, respectively.
Of course, XRP could very easily reverse this positive technology trend, losing any ground gained should partnerships fall through. Because the business model requires enterprise involvement as a value proposition, negative news could bring massive price declines.
However, given the underlying fundamentals, a positive outlook on the XRP price is appropriate. Values have managed to stabilize at around $.30 for some months, and should see gains as positive news continues to unfold. Again, a relatively conservative prediction of around $.60 by year end is appropriate, however, given the overall ethos of the market.
Regardless of the future of any cryptocurrency price over the next 12 months, the future of cryptocurrency is clear. While it isn’t happening the way original crypto pioneers envisioned, a slow but steady increase on the business front is taking place as entire industries begin to see the potential value of integrating cryptocurrency into existing business models.