Last Updated On November 14th, 2018
2018 was undeniably a bad year for cryptocurrency prices. The overall value of cryptocurrencies dropped from more than $800 billion to just over $200 billion. This tremendous cryptocurrency bear market saw major currencies crash in value, with some disappearing completely.
We’ve put together a list of the 2018 top ten biggest cryptocurrency losers of the bear market. These aren’t all the biggest losers by percentage or lost value, but their high profile and the significant losses in value make them stand out from the pack.
10. Stellar (Lumen) – Down 79%
Stellar was created with the stated goal of becoming the next generation financial network. It’s designed to allow the near instantaneous transfer of large sums of money with very low transaction fees and high levels of security.
Its coin, the Lumen, acts as the token of transfer. Since its creation, Stellar has tried to forge partnerships with traditional financial institutions in pursuit of its goals. This stands in stark contrast to many cryptocurrency projects that have a distinctly anarchistic and revolutionary feel to them.
Stellar started the year in a very strong position as the 6th largest cryptocurrency by volume, with a per coin value of about $0.94. It’s maintained its 6th place position but has shed almost 80% of its value, dropping to a low of $.017.
This loss of value doesn’t really reflect on its overall operations. In 2018, Stellar made major deals with a number of large financial services firms and traditional banks.
9. Ripple (XRP) – Down 86%
Ripple has a very similar mission to that of Stellar. It’s designed to create a new frictionless, distributed method to transmit money across state and national borders. The founders of Ripple looked at the global financial networks in place and realized they were totally inadequate to the demands of the 21st century.
The systems being used by banks and credit card companies have been in place for decades and require days for a full transmission of information and funds. Ripple sought to solve this issue by developing RippleNet. It allows the instantaneous transmission of money in a secure and inherently verifiable way. It breaks down boundaries and allows global investments to proceed much faster than ever before.
Over the course of 2018, XRP went from a high of $3.84 to about $0.27. This was a drop in value close to 86%. As the third largest cryptocurrency by volume, this also represented the loss of almost $100 billion dollars in total volume.
The stabilization of XRP at a lower price in the last few months may actually be a blessing in disguise for Ripple. While individual XRP is no longer worth what it once was, the network itself functions much more efficiently without the wild value swings that come from speculators looking to make a quick buck. The drop in value certainly hasn’t discouraged major banks and financial companies from partnering with Ripple.
8. IOTA – Down 91%
The purpose of the IOTA foundation was to create a distributed network that would reduce the complexity of emerging internet of things devices. Their goal was to allow the vast number of devices to seamlessly communicate, identify one another, and share resources. This would allow technology to proliferate endlessly without overwhelming traditional broadband communications. They named their system the Tangle, and are developing it as an open source digital ledger technology to usher in a new era of innovation and discovery.
IOTA peaked in late December of 2017 at a high of $5.58 and has now reached a low of around $0.48. This seems like a devastating loss, but in the context of the IOTA foundation’s mission, it’s basically unimportant. There is strong evidence that IOTA’s decline in value is almost entirely due to the overall cryptocurrency bear market in 2018 rather than any failing on the foundation’s part.
From the very beginning, IOTA was envisioned as a nonprofit, open source project. Making money was never on the agenda for the creators or developers of IOTA. Just recently the IOTA foundation announced a fascinating application of the Tangle relating to identity management and biometrics.
7. DASH – Down 92%
Dash is an anonymous payment system based on the Bitcoin network. It was created in 2014 as a decentralized anonymous network (DAO) and designed to be run by users rather than the original developers. Anyone who set up a masternode was given voting powers and made all significant decisions in the blockchain. This was a major departure from most other altcoins that give blockchain voting powers to miners.
Dash’s purpose was simple, to provide an easy to use and inexpensive way to pay for things. It was built from the ground up to anonymize transactions and reduce the cost of sending money quickly and inexpensively.
It reached its all-time high in late December 2017 at $1642 but has since fallen as low as $135 in the second half of 2018. This puts its valuation at just 8% of what it was at its all-time high price.
6. TRON (Tronix)- Down 94%
TRON was envisioned by its creators as a way to cut out the middlemen in the entertainment industry. The purpose of the TRON network was to allow creatives to directly sell their works to consumers without having to pay the traditionally very high fees of publishers, agents, and studios. Anytime something you upload to the TRON network is used by other members, you receive a distribution of Tronix, the TRON currency.
It’s been a rough year for TRON, one of the worst out of the big coins. It opened up 2018 with values running as high as $0.30 per coin, but has since dropped down as low as about $0.017 per coin. That’s a 94% drop in value. Considering that it’s still the eleventh largest coin by market cap, TRON really illustrates the overall decrease in the value of the crypto market.
All isn’t lost of course. TRON is still active on numerous cryptocurrency exchanges and has a large and vocal community. The actual product of the network is not currently active but reports show that development is ongoing, with more than 100 employees working out of several global offices.
5. Bitcoin Gold – Down 97%
Bitcoin Gold was the second major hard fork of the Bitcoin network to take place in late 2017, after Bitcoin Cash. The major innovation its proponents wanted to enact was the substitution of standard proof of work for their own personalized version known as Equihash. It was intended to reduce the dominant position ASIC miners had in the main Bitcoin network and reintroduce true distributed networking to Bitcoin.
While the fork was a success, Bitcoin Gold was only adopted in a limited fashion. There were rarely more than a one or two hundred Bitcoin Gold nodes active compared to an average of 10,000 Bitcoin nodes. It began shedding value almost as soon as it was created.
Bitcoin Gold had a high of $488 in late December of 2017. Since then, it has traded as low as $15 in the third quarter and is currently hovering right around $20. That’s about a 97% drop in overall value.
The creators of Bitcoin Gold maintain an active pace of development. Throughout 2018 they announced numerous improvements to the network. These include security updates, the introduction of lightning network standards, and constant updates to block ASIC miners.
4. Secured Automatic Lending Platform (SALT) – Down 98%
Salt was set up as a way for investors to use their crypto assets to back real-world loans, similarly to securities-based lending. A potential borrower simply deposited an amount of SALT into their borrower account and received a fiat loan equal to the market price of SALT at their loan origination date.
SALT faced major growing pains throughout 2018. In February 2018 it suspended all new memberships but allowed existing members to continue borrowing.
The value of SALT fell alongside the decline of the general cryptocurrency market. It hit an all-time high of $16.58 in January but is now trading as low as $0.37. That’s a decline of almost 98%, a tremendous loss in value.
Despite this, SALT is still operating and issuing new loans. It’s since added Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum to the list of approved currencies but appears to be operating on a much smaller scale.
3. Bitcoin Diamond – Down 98.5%
Bitcoin Diamond was a hard fork in the Bitcoin network that took place in November of 2017. Its proponents claimed it would speed up transactions through the addition of lightning network enhancements and improve the overall privacy of the Bitcoin network. Unfortunately for them, there was never significant adoption of Bitcoin Diamond by the Bitcoin community.
Bitcoin Diamond was valued as high as $104.84 per coin after it was launched but has now stabilized around $1.74 per coin. This represents a more than 98% drop in value since its creation. There are few active traders that currently support Bitcoin Diamond and even fewer exchanges that allow its sale.
2. BitConnect – Down 99.9%
BiConnect should be held up as a cautionary tale against any investment that sounds too good to be true. BitConnect was launched in January of 2017 as a cryptocurrency investment service. It promised daily interest of 1% on all funds invested in it. From its creation, there was some significant criticism of this return rate, with many outright calling BitConnect a Ponzi Scheme.
BitConnect shut down all operations in January of 2018 after it received cease and desist letters from several major regulatory agencies. At last report, its former CEO is facing charges of fraud in several major jurisdictions.
BitConnect had an all-time high of just over $500 but was trading at around $0.50 when it was finally delisted from the last exchange trading it. That’s a decline of 99.999%, basically a total loss for anyone who didn’t get out in time.
1. Ethereum (Ether) – Down 87%
Ethereum certainly hasn’t lost the largest percentage of its value among the various cryptocurrencies but its prominence and the value it did lose make a strong argument for its place as the number one loser. It’s the second most valuable cryptocurrency project in the world and it popularized the innovative design of smart contract systems as we know them today. The inbuilt ability to create your own distributed applications (DAPP’s) allowed hundreds of crypto entrepreneurs to launch their own ICO’s and begin their own projects.
Things don’t look so rosy for Ethereum if you just look at its valuation. It opened the year as high as $1432 per Ether but has dropped down as low as $190 in the third quarter. That’s a decrease of 87%. What’s more, as the second largest currency by market capitalization, it also suffered the loss of well over $100 billion in value.
Despite these losses, Ethereum is still moving along at full speed. Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, is highly active in the cryptocurrency world and confident in the long-term prospects of the network.
The Future of Crypto is Still Bright
While this article may seem to be all doom and gloom for cryptocurrencies, there are many positive points to keep in mind. Despite showing massive losses over the course of 2018, most of the truly major cryptocurrencies are still going strong.
What Fortune 500 company do you know that could lose upwards of 90% of its value and still continue operations and development at full speed?
If we’ve learned anything from the cryptocurrency bear market of 2018, it’s that the true value of crypto isn’t related to a speculative feeding frenzy. Instead, it’s the innovative spirit of cryptocurrency developers and the potentially disruptive technologies they’re developing.