2019 Tech Predictions: Bitcoin Will Remain the Biggest Cryptocurrency

The world's largest cryptocurrency will keep its place.

Bitcoin is the king of the crypto world, but whether it will keep its position is another story. The world’s first cryptocurrency still commands the largest share of the market, but challengers like Bitcoin Cash and Ripple could take its position. Inverse predicts that while the future price of the coin looks uncertain, it will maintain the largest market cap out of all cryptocurrencies.

It’s not been a good year for bitcoin. Having rallied from a price of $2,000 in May 2017 to around $20,000 by December 2017, bitcoin gradually slumped back down to $3,400. Its market cap dropped from $336 billion on December 17, 2017, to $60 billion at the time of writing. However, its market share has stayed strong at 55 percent, recovering from its dip to 33 percent on January 8 as “altcoins” like Ethereum gained traction, as the cryptocurrency’s slump coincided with a larger drop in the market.

We’re reporting on 19 predictions for 2019. This is #7.

“Once the market begins to recover will Bitcoin maintain its position? Yes,” Paul McNeal, co-founder of CryptoMarket360, tells Inverse. “Why? Because once the big money begins to flow into this market, it will do so into the most trusted assets, and Bitcoin is the all time trusted asset on the market.”

Big Bitcoin Bonanza

McNeal notes a number of factors suggesting that bitcoin will retain dominance. The second-largest cryptocurrency, XRP, is well behind with a market cap of just $12.5 billion — and some proponents argue its centralized nature means it shouldn’t count as a cryptocurrency anyway. McNeal says that the only chance XRP has of taking the top spot would be “monumental news that either a major financial institution begin adopting xRapid and was buying XRP by the boat loads or a bug was found in Bitcoin’s software that rendered it nearly useless.”

The third-largest coin, Ethereum, has a market cap of $9.4 billion, and while it looked as if it could challenge bitcoin for the top spot in June 2017, it’s slowly lost this momentum amid a diversifying market:

Bitcoin's market cap over time.
Bitcoin's market cap over time.

Bitcoin also retains a great deal more familiarity with the wider public, based on a Google Trends comparison between Ethereum, Ripple and the similar-sounding Bitcoin Cash:

Bitcoin Google trends over time.
Bitcoin Google trends over time.

Bitcoin may even boost its lead. Management consulting firm A.T. Kearney stated in a report this month that bitcoin will claim 66 percent of the market in 2019.

“As someone who is constantly watching the news cycle, deeply engaged in the Crypto community, actively participating on all the social channels and offline as well, I can say with unequivocal certainty that Bitcoin will in fact continuing being the King of the Crypto Jungle,” says McNeal. “It’s a beast!”

Betting Against the Big Guy

Not everyone is convinced. XRP proponents on social media have been talking up the possibility that the token could surge ahead over the coming year. A non-scientific poll from CNBC Africa host Ran Neu-Ner asked followers what they would do if given $10,000. While 39 percent said they would buy bitcoin, 52 percent of the 15,816 respondents chose XRP.

Proponents of this prediction also note that, as bitcoin and Ethereum slid in November by 14 and 16 percent, XRP actually gained 10 percent.

2019 Tech Predictions: What Inverse Thinks

While XRP shows promise, Inverse considers it unlikely that XRP will overtake bitcoin next year. Bitcoin has remained the largest cryptocurrency for its entire existence, requiring a seismic event to enable such a dramatic shift. This appears to be more unlikely than likely, so we see bitcoin remaining the largest cryptocurrency by market cap for at least another 12 months.

The author of this story has a stake in bitcoin and Ethereum.

Related video: Why Roger Ver Doesn’t Care About the Crypto Price Slump