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2017 was a big year for cryptocurrencies. Significant rallies in coins such as bitcoin, ethereum, and ripple have caught the media's attention, while listings on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) have gone some way in providing legitimacy to this new asset type. Some people, such as Finder.com CEO Fred Schebesta, believe that these cryptocurrencies will continue to grow in price and adoption, but whether or not 2018 proves to be another breakthrough year is yet to be seen.
There are certainly a number of potential positives on the horizon. The back-end technology is slowly gaining momentum, with more and more development time being put into resolving some scalability issues. While institutional investment could see a significant uptick if market demand for safety and security in holding significant value is matched. Live applications on the Ethereum network, while better on ramps and use cases for other cryptocurrencies, are certainly scheduled for 2018.
Regulation could play a big part in curbing any upward price action, however, if a major player such as China were to lift any negative regulations regarding cryptocurrencies, then their prices could boom. Given the historical volatility on these cryptocurrencies, it would seem the only thing that's certain is that 2018 will be a rollercoaster ride.
From a legitimacy point of view, the CME and CBOE futures would need to see significant increases in liquidity and open interest to really become a legitimate part of the crypto pie, but now the listing is quoted, all that may be required is time.
Going forward, we will require a better way to measure cryptocurrencies, and how to price them. Factors such as market cap, price to earnings (PE) ratios and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) are dated, and should be left to the equity markets. We don't value gold or oil by market cap, so why do we apply the same to a cryptocurrency or crypto commodity? Tax hash rate (processing power) growth, address growth, transaction fees, blocktime, and block rewards may all sound alien now, but in the future these may be used as the cornerstone of an analyst’s report on cryptocurrencies? As with all things, this will take time, but until then, 2018 could be the year we see this asset type really change.