2018 was a difficult year for the cryptocurrencies market. The currencies saw a massive decline of more than $700 billion in market value. Bitcoin, the poster child of the currencies has seen its market cap drop to about $60 billion from a high of more than $300 billion.
Part of the reason why the cryptocurrencies saw a massive decline last year was on security. People did not believe that their holdings were safe in the exchanges. This was compounded by the massive theft of currencies that happened during the time. In fact, recent reports show that cryptocurrencies worth more than $1 billion was stolen in the year. One of the biggest hacks was the $500 million hack of Coincheck, a big Japanese company.
Therefore, with the security of the currencies at stake, many investors decided to exit their trades, which led to a sharp decline. With all this in mind, the least the industry wanted this year was more uncertainty.
This happened recently when a big Canadian crypto exchange announced that its CEO had died while on a trip to India. The CEO and the founder of an exchange known as Quadriga died in December. According to court filings, he was the only one with the passwords that had access to the coins. The total coins were worth more than $137 million. Experts brought in to hack the system with the goal of getting access have been unable to access the coins.
The death of the CEO raises questions on security and regulations. On security, the question is on how secure the currencies are in the major exchanges. Second, there is an issue on regulation and how such matters should be sorted out. The chart below shows the performance of the three biggest cryptocurrencies in the market.