Thursday was a volatile day on the cryptocurrency markets with Bitcoin Cash forking into two different currencies, BCHSV and BCHABC creating considerable hash wars which are ongoing.
One worrying aspect of this fork is that some wallets, particularly the Bitcoin.com wallet saw its BCH value lower considerably. The average price on this wallet was around $360 on Friday morning, in contrast with the total price of $446 on eToro although admittedly, trading was frozen on that platform.
In the meantime, Bitcoin has hit another bottom and exchange volume spiked by 80%. Why is this happening? Are we going deeper into this bear market? What does this mean for the future of crypto? I spoke to a few luminaries from the crypto space to find out more.
Danny Kim, Head of Growth at SFOX, a dealer for institutional cryptocurrency trades said that volatility ultimately boils down to the basic economic forces of supply, demand, and uncertainty.
“Uncertainty is what's driving volume and volatility this time around, just as it did earlier this year with the Aug '17 BTC fork and the Dec '17 launch of BTC futures. This rampant volatility validates that there's still a lot of money behind crypto and that trading infrastructures have improved to handle more flow; we probably won't see that volume slowing down until the BCH hashwar settles."
Josh Fraser, co-founder of Origin Protocol, a platform for decentralized sharing economy marketplaces observed that the best path forward for blockchain is to stop focusing on market swings and focus on building great technology.
“We're bullish on both Bitcoin and Ethereum and think the market will recover before the end of the year, but we're most encouraged by the caliber of talent that is continuing to flood into this industry. Origin has always been focused on building; the rapidly increasing level of development driven by top talent that we're seeing across this space is what will continue to move the sector forward.", he added.
Andy Bromberg, co-founder, and president of CoinList, a platform for listing digital tokens explained that a single event, like a fork, can be a significant factor across wider crypto markets thanks to their relative immaturity. Large holders will often make trades across multiple coins, causing ripple effects beyond the asset that instigated the movement, he added.
Jimmy Zhong, co-founder of IOST, enterprise-grade blockchain infrastructure said that the market continues to be unpredictable, the way it has always been.
“Bitcoin has been declared dead 316 times. This feels like the continuation of a natural cycle, and it's important to note that even in this turbulence, the blockchain industry is flourishing. We've never had as much talent and interest in the space, and the tech has been evolving in leaps and bounds. I try not to concern myself with short-term market volatility, because this space is going to revolutionize nearly every facet of the economy. To quote the American classic Field of Dreams, 'If you build it, they will come.'", he concluded.
All very positive but what most of these people seem to forget is that the market has been sinking for a long time and absolutely no signs of an uptick are present. Price levels are, in many cases, 90% down from their all-time highs just a few months ago. Use cases are bountiful but is there any mass adoption going on out there? In most cases, it seems that cryptocurrencies and blockchain are being used in countries where the economy is totally broken, such as Venezuela and Palestine. Adding to the dubious prevalence of money laundering schemes and scams in eastern European countries such as Belarus (who incidentally are also legalizing cryptocurrencies), the future looks pretty bleak. As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, but we have had a pretty torrid time of late so what are we to expect in the next few months? It's anybody's guess.