Tracking the price of Bitcoin gives us a good indication of the overall cryptocurrency market in the past 18 months.
Bitcoin started 2017 at under $1,000 and took a dip when China announced investigations into cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. At that point, the majority of Bitcoin trading took place in China, and the price of Bitcoin dropped to lows of around $775, while the overall cryptocurrency market cap stood at close to $15 billion.
Bitcoin made a slight recovery to well over $1,000 but by March 2017, dropped back down to below $1,000 when the SEC denied the go-ahead for a Bitcoin ETF. The overall market cap dropped $5 billion in two days.
In April 2017, Japan declared Bitcoin legal currency, which saw the price jump back up over $1,000. The total cryptocurrency market cap stood at around $26 billion at that stage.
From April 2017 to July 2017, Bitcoin steadily climbed close to $3,000 while the overall market cap went past $100 billion. However, by mid-July 2017, the price came crashing down to below $2,000 in a few short days when the Bitcoin/Bitcoin Cash split took place.
The effects were short-lived and, by the end of August 2017, Bitcoin recovered to almost $5,000 and the overall cryptocurrency market cap came close to $170 billion.
But then, on Sept. 4, China famously banned ICOs. The move, however, caused far less of a correction than was expected. Bitcoin did drop to around $3,300 by mid-September 2017 but quickly recovered and, by the end of September 2017, it reached well over $4,000. The cryptocurrency market cap was just below $150 billion at this point.
From here, the Bitcoin price really picked up momentum. By the end of October 2017, it had gone past the $6,000 mark and finished November 2017 at just under $10,000 per BTC.
In mid-December 2017, it reached highs of $20,000, but it finished the year at around $15,000, while the market cap closed the year at around $235 billion.
By the end of January 2018, the price of Bitcoin had come back down to around $10,000 and reached lows of $6,000 during February 2018.
In February 2018, we saw Bitcoin push back up past $11,000 and the overall market cap recovering to around $500 billion — after reaching lows of around $300 billion earlier in the month.
Since then, amid talks of increased regulation across the various markets, and other bumps — such as Google banning crypto ads — the price of Bitcoin has been on a steady downward trend, despite occasional, short-lived recoveries. As of the beginning of July 2018, Bitcoin is hovering around the $6,000 mark, with the total cryptocurrency market cap holding steady at around $250 billion.