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Marking 2017’s All-Time-High Record, Report Highlights Crypto Market Positivity

The crypto space is celebrating a year since the price of the top cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, reached its all-time high of about $20,000. The anniversary coincides with the release of the second global crypto asset benchmarking study by a team of researchers at the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School. They found that despite the current negative state of the market in terms of price unlike last December’s, there’s still some positivity being recorded.

Though the industry saw a few rebounds early this year, the crypto price decline since 2017 has seen 2018 record a short of more than $600 bln of market capitalization. Yet, the report says the total user accounts at service providers now exceed 139 mln – about 35 mln of which are identity-verified users (almost a 4x growth over 2017 numbers). It adds that though only 38% of all users can be considered active, the cross-segment expansion observed in 2017 has continued.

The report states: “…57% of cryptoasset service providers are now operating across at least two market segments to provide integrated services for their customers, compared to 31% in early 2017… Multi-coin support has nearly doubled from 47% of all service providers in 2017 to 84% in 2018; a trend primarily driven by the emergence of common standards on some crypto asset platforms (e.g. ERC-20 on Ethereum) that has resulted in a rapid increase in the supply of tokens.”

Some of these facts and last year’s memory could bring to reasons for many in the ecosystem to pin their hopes on 2019 for a bounce back. After all, there are reports of some altcoins still doing well in the current bear market context. The inactivity around the Christmas period is expected to flatten the market until the new year which could drag to the end of January until the Chinese new year. The launch of the Bakkt platform is expected at the end of January.

A good news regarding the approval of a crypto-based exchange traded fund (ETF) by the SEC in February is crucial too. An ETF would supposedly bring in institutional money to cryptocurrencies. It is particularly important now that there is an increasing number of self-regulatory initiatives to reflect the growing maturity of the industry.

The Cambridge University report notes that the entry of traditional financial services firms into the cryptoasset market with new offerings like Bitcoin futures and dedicated cryptoasset hedge funds “further fuelled the expansion of the industry” in the past year and “also brought with it increased regulatory attention.”

In the future, the researchers think, among other things, that the increased multi-coin support trend would likely continue as all single-coin storage providers plan to support more cryptoassets in the near future. Also, off-chain payment networks like Bitcoin’s Lightning Network will continue to hugely impact on service providers’ business models and operations.

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