How Bad Was Q1? Just Two Top-Tier Cryptos Saw Gains

The crypto markets had a rough ride in the first quarter of 2018, with just two tokens bucking the downtrend.

The buying frenzy seen at the turn of the year quickly ran out of steam in the first half of January, and what appeared to be a healthy pullback soon turned into a bear market on fears South Korea and China would announce deeper regulations.

South Korea, in particular, has been effective in curbing excessive speculation, as the so-called “Kimchi Premium” fell sharply following the new regulations. Further, trading volumes dropped sharply in February and March, which, according to many is a sign of normalization in the markets.

All told, the total value of all cryptocurrencies, which hit a record high of $830 billion in early January, fell close to 70 percent to $251 billion in the last week of March – the lowest level since Nov. 23, according to CoinMarketCap.

While most of the top 25 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization have seen losses since their January peaks, lesser-known binance coin (BNB) and VeChain’s VET token have managed to etch out gains.

Q1 top losers

Bitcoin Gold

Quarterly performance: -83.00 percent
All-time high: $484.78
Closing price on Mar. 31: $44.34
Current market price: $42.73
Rank as per market capitalization: 23

Created via a hard fork in mid-November, bitcoin gold (BTG) topped out above $500 immediately after launch.

But, right off the bat, the investor community struggled to see the cryptocurrency’s unique selling point and have largely ignored it. Hence, by the turn of the year, BTG was already down more than 40 percent from its record highs despite a broad-based crypto market rally.

The 83 percent drop seen in the first quarter of 2018 is hardly surprising, coming as it did amid the wider markets sell-off.

NEM

Quarterly performance: -78.74 percent
All-time high: $2.09
Closing price on Mar. 31: $0.221104
Current market price: $0.219834
Rank as per market capitalization: 15

NEM’s XEM token was in the news for all the wrong reasons in the first quarter.

The token was involved in a huge cryptocurrency heist in January, which saw hackers steal about 500 million XEM tokens, worth roughly $430 million, from Japanese exchange Coincheck. The broader market sell-off did not help the matters, either. And rumors that NEM would serve as an underlying platform for Venezuela’s petro cryptocurrency failed to put a bid under XEM prices.

Consequently, by the first week of March, NEM was down more than 85 percent from record highs set in early January. The token did witness a sort of revival on March 8, possibly due to reports that Coincheck would be compensating customers that lost money in the hack.

However, the token failed to take out resistance at the descending 50-day MA (moving average) on March 15, according to Poloniex data, and fell back below $0.22 on March 31.

Cardano

Quarterly performance: -78.31 percent
All-time high: $2.09
Closing price on Mar. 31: $0.221104
Current market price: $0.219834
Rank as per market capitalization: 15

Cardano (ADA) witnessed a head-and-shoulders breakdown on March 7 and fell to $0.1206 on Binance – the lowest level since Dec. 13.

In a tweet dated March 18, ADA Founder Charles Hoskinson blamed fears of regulatory crackdown, the activity of “whales,” thin markets (low volumes) and inexperienced retail investors for the sell-off in cryptos. A month earlier, Hoskinson has said that ADA will be better than bitcoin and ethereum, but his comments received a lukewarm response from investors.

Q1 top gainers

Binance Coin

Quarterly performance: +28.15 percent
All-time high: $22.48
Closing price on Mar. 31: $11.06
Current market price: $11.77
Rank as per market capitalization: 18

It’s becoming more common for exchanges to issue their own cryptocurrencies, and that trend could accelerate given the performance of binance coin (BNB) this quarter.

The asset decoupled from the broader markets in mid-March after developers disclosed plans to launch “Binance Chain” – a decentralized exchange. As part of the plan, BNB is to be upgraded to exist on its own blockchain mainnet, becoming a native coin to Binance Chain –  a move that is expected to increase the scope of the token.

The positive news flow, coupled with the minor bout of recovery in the crypto markets in the third week of March, pushed BNB to $15.17 on March 24 on Binance – the highest level since Jan. 21.

As of writing, the cryptocurrency is holding well above its 200-day moving average and could soon revisit its recent high of $15.17, technical studies indicate.

VeChain

Quarterly performance: +3.47 percent
All-time high: $9.45
Closing price on Mar. 31: $2.38
Current market price: $2.74
Rank as per market capitalization: 16

The first quarter turned out to be a good one for VeChain as it signed a deal with BMW, launched “my story” – an application aimed to help the wine industry address the problem of counterfeit products. Also, in March, the company also entered into a partnership with LogSafer – leading supply chain risk management and a major logistics insurance platform in China.

The cryptocurrency has soared 21 percent in the last 24 hours, according to CoinMarketCap, possibly helped by a new listing on Bithumb, the major South Korean cryptocurrency exchange.

Balloons image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.



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