Cryptocurrency Market Down 54% in Q1 2018, Losses Top $500 Billion

Pratik Makadiya
  • In the first quarter, most major cryptocurrencies took a beating as the market lost over $500 billion
  • Bitcoin, the flagship cryptocurrency, is only now starting to recover

Cryptocurrencies had a rough first quarter with several governments throughout the world cracking down on crypto related businesses. According to Coinmarketcap data, that does not include data from South Korean exchanges, at the start of the year the overall cryptocurrency market cap was around $611 billion. By the end of the quarter, $342 billion was wiped off the market, a 56 percent drop.

On January 7, 2018, the total market capitalization skyrocketed to a peak $831 billion, but lost $315 billion by the end of the month.   

Crypto Market Cap And Bitcoin’s Performance

In the first quarter (Q1), most major digital currencies took a beating. The world's largest cryptocurrency, , lost half its value in Q1. Nevertheless, bitcoin still did better than most altcoins. The only positive for bitcoin in the first quarter was an increase in its dominance from 38.676% to 45.5%.

At the start of the year, bitcoin was valued at $14,268 against the US Dollar. Soon after, the cryptocurrency witnessed a price surge of 23 percent, which saw its value rise to $17,568. Since then bitcoin kept losing its value and never returned to the $17,000 mark.  Q1's lowest point for bitcoin value was on February 6, 2018, when its price was of $6,048. At present, the bitcoin price is fluctuating around $7,400.

Altcoins Lost Ground To BTC In Q1

Most of the top altcoins prices have dipped in the Q1. At the start of the year, Ripple was the second biggest cryptocurrency by trading volume, followed by . On January 1, 2018, dominance in the market was 14.29% whereas Ethereum dominated only 12.18%. On January 4, Ripple's price surged to $3.84 against the dollar, raising its dominance to 19% in the market. On January 8 both Ripple and Ethereum leveled with about 14% dominance over the crypto market and soon Ethereum took the spot as the second largest cryptocurrency by trading volume.

The highest point of Ethereum’s market cap was on February 1, when its dominance marked at 22.53%. At the start of Q1, Ethereum’s market volume was $73 billion and by the end, it's dropped to around $38 billion, a drop of over 48%. Whereas Ripple’s market cap experienced a drop of almost 78%, reducing from about $89 billion to $20 billion.  

In the first quarter of 2018, the entire crypto market suffered badly. However, bitcoin’s price may not have seen a surge but its dominance in the market have increased gradually. As for altcoins most of them had a bloody quarter losing ground to bitcoin.

New Cryptocurrency Ransomware Could ‘Become Very Dangerous’, Researchers Warn

Francisco Memoria

A newly discovered cryptocurrency ransomware strain called “Anatova” has the potential to “become very dangerous,” according to cybersecurity experts who revealed the strain is more advanced than others that have in the past launched successful campaigns.

Anatova, according to cybersecurity firm McAfee, hides in common files, usually those of popular games or applications, to fool potential victims. Once downloaded, it asks the victim for admin rights, and then proceeds to encrypt as many files as it can in a short amount of time, to then demand a Dash ransom.

As first reported by The Next Web, researchers have detected over 100 instances of Anatova in the US already, with various countries in Europe also being significantly affected.

Known cases of Anatova by region

Speaking to the news outlet Christiaan Beek, McAfee’s lead scientist, revealed Anatova has “the potential to become very dangerous with its modular architecture which means that new functionalities can easily be added.”

Specifically, Anatova is reportedly more sophisticated than Ryuk, a malware strain that is estimated to have collected over $3.7 million in bitcoin ransoms over a five-month period. The researchers believe the team behind Anatova is better than that of Ryuk, as it has a “more advanced design” that “tries to make analysis difficult.”

Per Christiaan, those behind Anatova “have embedded enough functionalities to be sure that typical methods to overcome ransomware will be ineffective.” This, by making sure data cannot be restored without the payment being made, and stopping generic decryption tools from being working on it.

Notably, Anatova is using Dash instead of other cryptocurrencies. While it isn’t the first ransomware strain to demand Dash instead of Bitcoin or Monero, demanding the privacy-centric cryptocurrency is uncommon.

Per Christiaan, there’s a reason:

The main reason [Antova is] using DASH is that it has implemented a number of privacy enhancing protocols that make tracing transactions difficult.

As The Next Web pointed out, the GandCrab ransomware family, first discovered early last year, was reportedly the first to demand Dash payments.