The year 2017 is over, and what a year it was for Bitcoin. The queen of cryptocurrencies rose over 1000% from January to December, and even flirted with a price of 20 000 dollars. New technologies were implemented, new companies begun to see the opportunities of Bitcoin and mainstream investors got on to the cryptocurrency train en masse.
If the signs are to tell us anything, the year of 2018 will be just as interesting.
Large things are poised to happen in year 2018; large things that could mold Bitcoin to truly harness the potential of blockchain and free economy. The year 2017 saw the first major scaling upgrade to Bitcoin, Segregated Witness. In year 2018 SegWit is poised to become the standard for Bitcoin, as Bitcoin Core reference software will be including SegWit transactions. This means that the transaction costs will reduce and speeds will increase.
But an even bigger upgrade will see the light in 2018:
Lightning Networks, thus named because of their potential to offer near lightspeed transactions with minimum to zero costs. The main developers of Lightning Networks ACINQ, Blockstream and Lightning Labs are thinking that Lightning Networks could run in Bitcoin’s main network within 2018.
The year 2018 will probably also be the year of the “side chains”. Side chains allow the creation of alternative blockchains that interact with the Bitcoin blockchain. This allows the creation of alternative tokens with different capabilities, but which still gain the benefits of Bitcoin’s networks. For example side-chains could be used to power applications or smart-contracts.
Total Market Cap of Cryptocurrencies Over 770 Billion
The combined market cap of all cryptocurrencies has broken through new record highs during the last week. At the time of writing cryptocurrencies total more than 770 billion dollars. This is over 100 billion increase to previous record market cap of 654 billion on December 21st. Though bitcoin still constitutes most to the overall market cap, bitcoin dominance has fallen to levels of 35% while other cryptocurrencies have been gaining momentum. Coins like Ether and Ripple have seen significant surges in price with both achieving their own all-time highs of 1 000 dollars and 4 dollars respectively.