2018 in Review: The 10 Most Epic Crypto Events

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By Maud Guon Jan 02, 2019
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2018 was a tumultuous year in the crypto space, in which the prices of most cryptocurrencies drowned in a sea of red. More investors hopped on the crypto rollercoaster and new arrivals sprang up to vie for pieces of the stablecoin pie.

Though it seemed to pass in the blink of an eye, 2018 was bound to be an eventful and memorable year for the crypto market as a whole—full of ups and downs, yet mostly downs.

Here is a round-up of the most significant moments and events which happened during the past year.

Crypto Market Nosedive

Nothing matters more to the crypto market than prices.

Based on a “Titanic” attitude, Bitcoin, the king of all cryptocurrencies, entered the year 2018 with an air of triumph. Happiness, however, is often short-lived. The price of Bitcoin slumped from the $17,000 level in January to less than $4,000 at year-end.
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(Source: CoinMarketCap)

December 17 marked the one-year anniversary of Bitcoin’s heady record-breaking high of almost $20,000. The price of the most dominant cryptocurrency, however, was on track for record losses on the same day.

Bitcoin usually gets ready to drag down the majority of the top altcoins with it whenever it suffers a sharp sell-off. The prices of cryptocurrencies plunged 80–95% from the beginning of 2018, while the total crypto market cap shed more than $700bn since the January high, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

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Token volumes also took a dive across major exchanges, with 60% of cryptocurrencies trading at lower volumes than January. At the year-end, a staggering 41% of cryptocurrencies were seeing less than 75% of the trading volumes they saw in January.

Tether Teeters

A stablecoin is supposed to be stable, yet things leap out to remind you that this is not so.

USDT suffered massive losses on October 15 after a panic among crypto investors over the Tether trust issue. The sudden dump of USDT caused the Tether price to plunge to an 18-month low, while the king of the stablecoins momentarily slid below its $1 peg to trade at 85 cents.

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Some people ascribed the USDT tumble to investors losing faith in the token, along with trust issues about Tether, such as a lack of transparency over its USD holdings and lack of regulatory oversight. The “king” was also not immune when it came to online rumors about Bitfinex at that time.

A few days after the crash, the price of Tether bounced back. In early November, 2018, the controversial cryptocurrency company said it was holding $1.8bn at Bahamas-based Deltec Bank & Trust Ltd., enough to back up its claim—the 1.78 billion in outstanding USDT.

Not long after the rally, however, Tether’s new banking partner Deltec was allegedly involved in a money laundering case. The stablecoin toppled again, with the price of USDT dropping from $1 to around 95 cents.

Tether dominance also fell to a three-year low in mid-December, as new arrivals—the likes of GUSD, USDC, TUSD and PAX—were jockeying for more market share from the king of all stablecoins.

Mining Giants’ IPO Dream Ends Up in Failure

Top three Bitcoin mining titans—Bitmain, Canaan Creative and Ebang International—all decided to file for an IPO in Hong Kong in the year, but failed in the face of a more brutal “crypto winter” than one could ever imagine.

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(Source: Cryptonews Hub)

  • Canaan Creative took the lead in the crypto IPO race. The world’s second largest Bitcoin mining hardware producer filed for an IPO in HK on May 15, but the application lapsed six months later
  • On June 24, Ebang International submitted an IPO application to the HKEX, which was stopped as the company was suspected of being involved in illegal fundraising
  • Bitmain also filed to go public in Hong Kong, which was delayed due to various reasons including the Bitcoin Cash hash war

As Bitcoin bleeds, the HKEX is worried about the future growth of these mining behemoths, and is in no rush to approve IPO applications from them.

EOS Block Producer Election

After the launch of the EOS MainNet in June, 2018, the EOS ecosystem used a voting system to elect the top 21 block producers (BPs) for the network.

EOS BPs earn tokens as block rewards, which are created via token inflation. The annual EOS inflation rate is capped at 5%, and BPs are rewarded with only 1% of that amount. The competition is fierce among EOS BPs, as 0.25% of the reward is given only to the top 21.

Seven Chinese candidates ranked among the top 21 EOS block producers at that time, including eoscannonchn, eosisgravity, eoshuobipool, eosbeijingbp, eosstorebest, eosasia11111 and helloeoscnbp.

BCH Hard Fork

The Bitcoin Cash hard fork was scheduled for November 15, 2018.

The hashrate battle involved two sides. On one side was Bitcoin ABC and billionaire Wu Jihan-backed Bitmain, opposed by the Craig Wright-backed nChain and Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV).

Bitcoin ABC, the leading development team of Bitcoin Cash, insisted on limiting the block size to 32 MB while supporting the BCH infrastructure. By doing so, the team believed that BCH is able to explore more potential applications like Ethereum.

Yet CSW-backed Bitcoin SV sought to replace Bitcoin ABC with its own version, expecting to expand the BCH block size from its current 32 MB to 128 MB.

Both sides were doing their utmost to prepare for the BCH hash war. Yet the Bitcoin network was not immune from the battle in any case, no matter who had the last laugh.

Trans-Fee Mining

FCoin’s novel business model, or “trans-fee mining,” quickly gained notoriety and led the trend in the crypto space for a while, where all transaction fees were reimbursed to users via the token issued by the exchange. 51% of the FCoin token supply was locked up and could only be extracted through trading based on “trans-fee mining.”

FCoin also made use of a revenue distribution mechanism, distributing 80% of its revenue to FT holders. In this way, the exchange miraculously stood out from the crowd, shooting to the top rank by trading volume.

In view of this, many other exchanges started to imitate similar business models, such as OKEx and Binance.

Yet soon afterwards, FCoin was allegedly involved in illegal ICOs and operations, along with criticism from FCoin users, including token price manipulation and frequently changing rules.

As the price of FT continued its slump since mid-June, FCoin announced it would destroy all unsold tokens on August 15, 2018.

Booming DApp Games

New decentralized applications, or DApps, have constantly sprung up since last year.

According to data from DAppReview, there were 1,997 blockchain-based DApps in total by December 17, 2018. Game-related DApps accounted for 43.6% of the total.

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(Source: Cryptonews Hub)

Fomo3D, an Ethereum blockchain-based gambling DApp, has won over a large number of players.

EOS gambling DApps, on the other hand, have become increasingly prevalent, serving as a major feature of the EOS ecosystem. EOS gambling DApps have surpassed those on the Ethereum blockchain in both quantity and activity for a long time. As gambling DApps account for more than 90% of the total transaction volume, EOS has jokingly been dubbed the “top public blockchain for gambling.”

SEC Keeps Rejecting Bitcoin ETF Proposals

A big question mark hangs over crypto land in 2018 in regard to SEC’s denial of Bitcoin ETF applications.

The SEC rejected more than 10 proposals for a Bitcoin ETF last year, 9 of which were denied on August 23 alone.

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(Source: Cryptonews Hub)

The U.S. top financial watchdog proved to be tougher than expected when it came to crypto ETFs. SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said that no Bitcoin ETFs will be approved until they are free from the risk of market manipulation.

Nonetheless, the SEC has softened its stance towards the industry. Some officials even argued that crypto ETFs will be approved in the future.

During an interview with Cryptonews Hub, Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper talked about the reason why the SEC has not yet approved Bitcoin ETFs, claiming that within a year or two, the first Bitcoin ETFs would be approved by the SEC.

Venezuela’s Petro

Back to February of 2018, Venezuela became the first country in the world to issue a digital fiat currency.

The Petro, the nation’s oil-backed cryptocurrency, was initially issued by President Nicolás Maduro to stabilize Venezuela’s embattled financial market and curb runaway hyperinflation.

Maduro subsequently doubled down on his support for the Petro:

  • All banks in Venezuela were ordered to display account balances in Petro. Banks such as Citibank and Spain’s BBVA were no exception
  • Venezuelans seeking to obtain passports were forced to pay passport fees with the Petro
  • He even ordered a price hike on the Petro, enabling the price of the state-backed cryptocurrency to sharply increase from 3,600 bolivars to 9,000

The Petro cryptocurrency, however, seems like nothing more than a “smoke and mirror” trick, which could only make things worse and deepen its troubles for the moment at least.

Millions of Venezuelans, facing the unprecedented economic and political crisis, have poured out of the crippled nation.

Exchanges and EOS DApps Fall Prey to Cyber Attacks

Hacks and scams have been running rampant in crypto land since last year, especially crypto exchanges and EOS gambling platforms that were hit by the onslaught of cyber attacks.

Back in September 20, 2018, Japan-based crypto exchange Zaif was hacked and three cryptocurrencies—BTC, BCH, and MONA—were stolen, resulting in the loss of around $60m (6.7bn yen).  

Early last year, Tokyo-based crypto exchange Coincheck was hacked, with $532.6m worth of crypto assets stolen. This was one of the largest heists in crypto history.

Apart from exchanges, a number of EOS gambling platforms were also sabotaged by organized attacks.

Cryptonews Hub looked through the EOS cyber attacks, finding that a total of 35 DApp attacks took place on the EOS ecosystem on December 19, 2018, resulting in the theft of $1.88m worth of EOS tokens.

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(Source: Cryptonews Hub)

As multiple attack groups are now exploiting vulnerabilities behind the scenes, the EOS ecosystem is likely to see similar attacks emerge more frequently, with greater efficiency.

In Closing

As we look back now, the crypto space indeed has seen a lot of twists and turns in the year. Yet it was still eventful and impressive, as blockchain technology and crypto markets continued to thrive and grow around the globe.

No one knows what’s going to happen next, but one thing is clear—we will be here for you every step of the way.

Cryptonews Hub is an emerging blockchain media and information services company specializing in crypto assets. Its team of experts is committed to editorial independence and journalistic professionalism, providing key insights on the latest developments involving cryptocurrency regulations around the world and innovations in blockchain technology.
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