After a historic 2017, the cryptocurrency markets took a decided downturn in Q1.
Bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin – and most major cryptocurrencies – saw declines in a variety of metrics: exchange volumes, transaction counts, and, of course, price. With it, too, public sentiment on the technology appears to have become more mixed.
Some naysayers, like Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, saw the decline as confirmation that 2017 was a mirage and that bitcoin “ought to be outlawed,” while Warren Buffett joined the chorus as prices started to tank and stated that it would “all come to a bad ending.”
Still others, like Twitter & Square CEO Jack Dorsey, ignored lowered prices to suggest “the world ultimately will have a single currency…[and] that it will be bitcoin.” Peter Thiel made similar comments, while Goldman Sachs issued a report that stressed bitcoin’s usefulness as a crisis currency.
Besides the prices, there was more bad news: Coincheck experienced a huge hack of $400 million, while regulators everywhere from South Korea to the U.S. took pointed aim at the industry. Several banks even went so far as to ban crypto purchases with credit cards, and the most heavily trafficked websites in the world (Twitter, Facebook and Google) all banned crypto-related ads.
While these events all spoke to dimmed prospects for the industry, there were other positive signs: the launch of the Lightning Network, the historic Telegram ICO that raised $1.7 billion and Rakuten (the Amazon of Japan) announcing plans to migrate its entire $9 billion loyalty program over to a cryptocurrency.
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