After an absolutely dismal 2018, we’re excited to lay out the market’s performance within the very first month of this year.
It wasn’t dramatically negative or positive, which we consider a great start to the year.
Though many of the coins still ended up dropping in value from the 1st of January to the 31st, the percentage decrease wasn’t nearly as scary as it’s been in the past handful of months.
And, generally speaking, the same could be said for the cryptocurrency news this month. There weren’t a ton of breaking news stories, though there were a few situations that we believe deserve some extra attention during this end-of-the-month reflection.
So, get ready for your first cryptocurrency market update of the new year, and celebrate the fact that we’re not totally cringing at the state of affairs this month (which can’t be said for most of the monthly overviews in recent memory).
Ranking Market Capitalization and Performance – January
Since our very first monthly cryptocurrency market update, we’ve provided the top 10 coins in terms of market capitalization, and we’ve broken down their individual performance for that month.
Additionally, we provide a little bit of general information on the coin to help you get a better overall picture.
We list the coins from #1 to #10 by their market cap ranking, otherwise known as how much market saturation that particular coin has, and we give an additional ranking from 1 to 10 in terms of their performance.
#1 is the top-performing coin, and #10 is the worst-performing. You can find that ranking within the small table of information shown for each coin.
How do we determine performance ranking? For each coin, we calculate the percentage of its value that it lost or gained from the 1st of the month to the last day of the month. Because the coins range so much in value, the only fair way to compare them is to do so using percentages.
This is a very small snapshot that we provide to give you an overview of a coin’s performance on specific dates during the course of a month. We recommend that if you have any money in a crypto digital asset, you check its performance every single day at market close.
#1 – Bitcoin (BTC)
Bitcoin can sometimes be incorrectly used interchangeably with the word cryptocurrency, a term used to describe the digital asset itself and not just a single coin.
It’s like when people say, “I need a Kleenex” when they actually mean, “I need a tissue.” Why is that? Bitcoin’s 2017 explosion made it pretty much a household name, as well as many people’s first and only introduction to the cryptocurrency market.
So, it isn’t a stretch to subscribe to the idea that Bitcoin’s value has an influence on the direction of the value of some other larger coins like ETH and LTC.
We don’t have any data to prove or disprove that school of thought this month, other than the fact that its value high and value low dates this month were very close to, if not identical to, the dates for those larger altcoins.
As seems to be its pattern now, BTC dropped in value from January 1st to January 31st. The good news is that this value drop was only by around $385, or 10%. Though it would have been better to see the coin increase in value, you won’t catch us complaining.
On January 1st at market close, a single BTC was valued at $3,843.52, and on the 31st, it was valued at $3,457.79 at market close. Its highest value this month came on January 9th at $4,076.63, and its lowest occurred on January 29th at $3,457.79.
Because it only dropped in value by 10%, it ranks #4 in performance for this month.
#2 – Ripple (XRP)
Ripple, a platform that created its own native coin with the same name (abbreviation XRP), offers peer to peer transactions that are faster and more efficient than Bitcoin. Ripple has also taken an additional step to allow trading of traditional fiat currencies on its platform using the blockchain technology.
The Ripple coin (XRP) ranks #6 this month, decreasing in value by 15%. But it overtook Ethereum this month in terms of its market capitalization. On January 1st, XRP was valued at $0.3647 at the time of market close and ended the month at $0.31.
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#3 – Ethereum (ETH)
Ethereum was another platform created in the shadow of Bitcoin, hoping to improve upon its existing protocol and setup.
The platform’s native coins are called Ether (ETH), and it’s used mainly for peer to peer (P2P) transactions. Ethereum prides itself on its protocol updates, doing what it can to remain a fresh platform that keeps up with the needs of its users.
At market close on January 1st, ETH had a value of $140.82. On January 31st, its value had dropped by 24% to $107.06 at market close. This percentage value decrease puts ETH at #7 in terms of performance this month.
#4– EOS (EOS)
EOS “does not have any value, use, or purpose” according to its creators, but it continues to find itself on our top 10 market cap coin list every month.
The value of EOS only experienced an overall percentage decrease of 13%, landing it in position #5 in terms of its performance this month. On January 1st at market close, a single EOS was valued at $2.66, and on January 31st, it was valued at $2.32.
#5 – Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
After the success of Bitcoin, lots of different coins (sometimes known as altcoins) entered the market, trying to improve upon the existing model.
Bitcoin Cash, however, did not come about this way. It was instead created after what is called a hard fork occurred in the original Bitcoin protocol. BCH claims to offer faster and more efficient transactions than the original.
Though BCH was #5 in terms of market cap for January, it was #9 in terms of its performance. Its value, from market close on January 1st to close on January 31st, dropped by 30%.
We can speculate that the hard fork and subsequent creation of the Bitcoin SV (BSV) coin had at least something to do with the coin’s third disappointing month in a row, but it’s impossible to say for sure.
On January 1st, the value of BCH was $164.85, and on January 31st, that value was $114.81. Its highest and lowest values at market close in January weren’t much higher or lower than their start and end values, which indicates some level of stability.
#6 – Tether (USDT)
The Tether coin is a representation of fiat currencies in Europe and the US. The US dollar representation (USDT) can be found on our top 10 list pretty frequently because it is a relatively stable coin. It typically only fluctuates by 1% either way, and this month was no different.
We ranked it at #2, but truthfully, it shares that position with Litecoin, which also had a value drop of 1% from the 1st to the 31st.
USDT’s value in January was either $1.02 or $1.01. This just further illustrates how incredibly stable and consistent this coin is.
#7 – Litecoin (LTC)
By its name, you’ve probably already guessed that Litecoin (LTC) was introduced as an alternative or improvement to the original Bitcoin protocol. Its biggest pull to users is that it offers transaction speeds that are markedly faster than those of Bitcoin.
We ranked LTC as #3 in terms of performance this month, but truthfully, it’s tied with USDT for the #2 spot. Both coins saw a value decrease of 1% from the 1st to the 31st of January.
At market close on January 1st, LTC had a value of $31.98. At close on January 31st, each LTC was valued at $31.65.
#8 – TRON (TRX)
TRON, the platform dedicated to decentralizing and detaching the internet as a whole from certain authorities, has a native coin that is called Tronix (TRX). Through 2018, we saw it appear on our top 10 radar a few times, but it seems to be starting this year out strong!
This month, TRX has not only climbed up to the #8 market cap position, but it has also managed to take the #1-performing coin spot, as it was the only coin that actually increased in value this month.
On January 1st, a single TRX coin was valued at $0.0195, and that value had jumped to $0.0245 by market close on January 31st. To some, that may not seem like a huge deal, and truthfully, it may not be, but it is notable. We’ll have to keep an eye on TRX through February to see how it does!
#9 – Stellar (XLM)
Stellar, a crypto platform that boasts a transaction time of 2 to 5 seconds, has its own coin that they call Lumen (XLM). The Stellar platform was opened to the public in 2014 by its creator, Jed McCaleb.
XLM was the 8th performing coin in January, dropping in value by 29%. This coin has remained well under the 50 cents per XLM mark for quite some time, and this month, its lowest value at market close was as low as $0.08.
#10 – Bitcoin SV (BSV)
Bitcoin SV, a crypto market newbie, is still holding on to the top 10 market cap coin list.
A hard fork occurred in the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) setup in November 2018, which created the Bitcoin SV coin. Bitcoin Cash was the result of a hard fork in the original Bitcoin setup, so Bitcoin SV might be considered the third iteration of the “original” crypto coin.
On January 1st at market close, a single BSV was valued at $92.14 and had dropped by 31% by the time of market close on January 31st, where its value was $63.98.
It’s impossible to determine the “why” for any coin’s performance over the month, but we can assume that the maturity (or lack thereof) with the Bitcoin SV coin on the market may have had something to do with the drop.
January Cryptocurrency News
As we said earlier, there isn’t a whole lot to report in terms of big January crypto news stories, but there are two important ones that we’d like to call your attention to.
The first is a 51% attack that occurred on a large coin in the first few weeks of the month.
Attacks of this nature are not uncommon within the world of cryptocurrency, but they’re usually seen in coins that do not have a high amount of volume or supply, as it’s easier to gain the targeted amount of hash power. This month, however, reminded us that even the larger coins have some major flaws that have not yet been addressed.
The second and final story that we’ve featured here this month is regarding Bitcoin and its probability to experience a “nuclear” value in the near future, again illustrating that even the largest and most popular coin is far from safe from collapse.
We hope that 2019 will be a year for reflection and more importantly for important action related to some major soft spots and vulnerabilities within the crypto and blockchain setup as a whole.
Strengthening security, even minutely, will in turn strengthen the legitimacy of the market in the minds of the public.
And that is not only important but necessary when the goal is expansion and stability.
Ethereum Classic Falls Victim to a 51% Attack
Ethereum classic, the platform that was created to improve upon Bitcoin’s model, fell victim to what’s called a 51% attack in the first few weeks of the month.
These attacks are rare on platforms of this size and are more typically associated with much smaller coins and platforms because the attack begins when a group or individual obtains 51% (or any percentage over 50%) of that coin’s hashing power when mining that coin.
After this percentage has been obtained, the group or individual can do things like reversing transactions via the blockchain because of how much of the computing power they have control over.
In this particular instance, the group or individual made off with over $1 million ETH, and the attack was so large that Coinbase had to suspend all transactions being made with that coin.
What does this attack mean for Ethereum and the entire blockchain-based setup as a whole?
Ethereum and the ETH coin will be just fine, barring the typical slower transaction speeds that should be expected on the tail of an attack of this nature, but it again puts a spotlight on the potentially catastrophic flaws with the mining and blockchain setup.
It proves to those with malicious intent that, while 51% attacks on these larger coins are on the rare side, they’re certainly not impossible.
Because mining and the blockchain setup go hand in hand, finding a way to combat this issue may prove to be daunting, but it is a worthy cause for platforms that want to increase the strength of their technology.
Bitcoin’s (Possible) Nuclear Winter
“If we break below $3,000 for Bitcoin, crypto winter will become crypto nuclear winter,” Vinny Lingham, CEO of Civic, said via Twitter.
With the value of Bitcoin at about $3,450 at market close on January 31st, that possibility posed by Lingham is definitely scary.
And he continues with a great point that if Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general are to start succeeding and moving back upward, more real-world uses and applications need to become available.
Lingham also said this.
“Until we have that we’re not going to have another bubble. The speculative mania is over. People want real numbers and usage and transaction volumes.”
Remember that this is his interpretation of the market and the public’s current thoughts and feelings regarding Bitcoin and cryptocurrency and that it isn’t necessarily provable in any way. But he does make a thoughtful argument that, because cryptocurrency and Bitcoin are relatively mainstream, it’s important that we start connecting the digital asset to some real-world uses if longevity of the market is the desired goal.
Many that purchased their coins after the 2017 boom were under the impression that the market was soon to be legitimized by certain banking and financial institutions developing their own digital coins and platforms, but it just hasn’t panned out.
Fidelity Investment’s plans for a crypto coin are still going back and forth between “we’re still working on it” to insinuating that the project has all but fizzled out.
And while no one can possibly predict what will or won’t happen with the market or individual crypto coins, it’s not far-fetched to predict that with the lack of real-world application and the very difficult 2018 performance of the market in general, people are going to continue to bail.
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