Large-cap cryptocurrencies may have had a stellar 2017, but 2018 hasn't been so kind.
Among crypto assets with over $1 billion in invested value, Ripple's XRP cryptocurrency may have been the biggest disappointment to newer investors, declining sharply amid heightened scrutiny after a period in which it became an industry darling for new investors.
Still, XRP was far from alone in its sizable declines.
Bitcoin forks saw a similar sell-off, with bitcoin cash (BCH), which forked from the network in August, and bitcoin gold, which quickly followed, falling sharply amid a broad market decline.
- January performance: -49.56 percent
- All-time high: $3.84 hit on Jan. 4
- Price on Jan. 1: $2.39
- Price on Jan. 31: $1.16
- Rank as per market capitalization: 3
Entering January, it's safe to say investors were high on XRP.
A key product for one of the most well-known industry startups, the digital asset won no shortage of favor from investors enamored by its goal of disrupting an oligopolistic global payments industry.
And the company provided fresh reasons for the interest. By the time XRP had become the world's second-largest cryptocurrency, three of the top five money transfer companies worldwide were said to be in the process of implementing XRP in their payment flow systems.
However, as the month progressed, the optimism failed to keep XRP bid.
A rumored listing on Coinbase never happened, and this, coupled with a broader market weakness weighed heavily over XRP. As of now, XRP is changing hands at $0.89 – a figure that's down almost 80 percent from its record high.
- January performance: -41.29 percent
- All-time high: $4,355.62 hit on Dec. 20
- Price on Jan. 1: $2,432.54
- Price on Jan. 31: $1,486.89
- Rank as per market capitalization: 4
Bitcoin cash (BCH), a fork of the cryptocurrency bitcoin, soared in the fourth quarter of 2017, as investors took note of the faster transaction speed and low fees.
Not only that, its surprise listing on Coinbase's GDAX exchange in December boosted its appeal, while cryptocurrency exchange CoinEx implemented bitcoin cash as its default currency in January.
Still, it wasn't all green for BCH, as it dropped 41.29 percent last month, possibly due to fears of stricter regulations in South Korea and China, the latter region being one from which it draws the majority of its support.
As of writing, BCH is trading at $1,169, down around 72 percent from its all-time high.
- January performance: -40.02 percent
- All-time high: $488.57 hit on Dec. 20
- Price on Jan. 1: $272.91
- Price on Jan. 31: $156.96
- Rank as per market capitalization: 23
Created via a fork of bitcoin in mid-November, bitcoin gold (BTG) surged to record highs in 2017.
Still, despite the temporary highs, in its initial days, it was perhaps the most unloved of bitcoin's many forks. Back then, the investor community felt BTG was overvalued with few (or no) apparent use cases.
Entering January, it seems that sentiment won out, as BTG was one of the worst performers in January amid broad market sell-off.
As of writing, BTG is trading at $108, down 78 percent from lifetime high.
Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Ripple, the company that oversees XRP development.
Charts via CoinMarketCap
Deflated ball image via Shutterstock