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It's been a bad year for bitcoin. After the highs of 2017, which saw the price of bitcoin surge to $20,000 (£15,700), the world's most valuable cryptocurrency is currently trading close to its lowest point in 16 months.

Bitcoin has fallen by 3 per cent over the last 24 hours, adding to losses of 5 per cent in the last week, 10 per cent in the last month and almost 80 per cent over the last year – leaving little doubt that last year's peak was indeed the result of an over-inflated bubble.

There have been five major price spikes in bitcoin's 10 year history, and after each previous crash the market has managed to recover to even higher levels. But the scale of the 2018 losses have left some cryptocurrency experts questioning whether bitcoin will once again see a market turn-around.


Predicting bitcoin's fortunes in 2019 has therefore divided analysts, with forecasts from high-profile figures within the cryptocurrency industry ranging from a complete capitulation, to a 10-fold increase from today's price of $3,650.

The most radical predictions come from bitcoin cash founder Calvin Ayre and Fundstrat co-founder Thomas Lee. Mr Ayre predicts bitcoin will become completely worthless and crash to $0 in 2019, as it has "no utility." 

Bitcoin's volatile history in pictures

Satoshi Nakamoto creates the first bitcoin block in 2009

According to Ayre, bitcoin will be superseded by a more technologically advanced cryptocurrency that functions better as an actual currency, such as bitcoin cash.

On the other end of the scale is Mr Lee, whose predictions about bitcoin have been proved to be wildly optimistic in the past. As recently as November, Mr Lee predicted bitcoin would hit $15,000 by the end of 2018, but appears undeterred by more price falls in his forecast that bitcoin could hit $36,000 in 2019. 

Those positive about bitcoin's future point to he general progression of the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry over the last 12 months, with one analyst suggesting bitcoin is currently undervalued.


"In my opinion, now is a great time to purchase bitcoin," blockchain adviser Olver Isaacs told The Independent. "Bitcoin's surrounding infrastructure has never looked better. Along with the likes of Coinbase, Cirlce, and Blockchain, huge traditional financial institutions are stepping into the market." 

Bitcoin's price fall in 2018 (CoinMarketCap)

This is a sentiment shared by Misha Libman, co-founder of blockchain art laboratory Snark.art, who puts bitcoin's price volatility down to the nascency of the industry.


"Ultimately we are dealing with a new technology and new asset that is highly speculative, illiquid and elusive, and drivers for its rise and fall is anyone's guess," he said. "But without a doubt I believe that blockchain and cryptocurrencies have a place in our future and the roller coaster volatility that we are seeing today is something we are going to have to live with for a while until we will start using cryptocurrency to buy chewing gum."

"For those feeling nostalgic for the excitement they felt about bitcoin's boom at the end of last year, keep the faith," added Donald Bullers, who works for blockchain firm Elastos. 

"The latter half of 2018 was a critical maturation point for the industry, and 2019 will bring with it viable products going to market. Crypto is far from dead."



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