Cryptocurrencies burst onto center stage in 2017, delivering what might very well be historic gains. For the year, the aggregate value of all digital currencies soared from a starting value of $17.7 billion to an ending value of roughly $613 billion. That works out to an increase of more than 3,300%! By comparison, the stock market has historically gained 7% a year, inclusive of dividend reinvestment and when adjusted for inflation. It would take traditional equities decades to deliver similar returns.
But that’s not to say that the cryptocurrency ride hasn’t been without its bumps in the road. Earlier this year, virtual currency investors got their first taste of a major correction in years. After briefly hitting an all-time market cap high of $835 billion on Jan. 7, 2018, the combined market value of cryptocurrencies slid by 70% over the next three months. Even though they’ve nearly doubled off their recent lows, virtual currencies’ combined market cap is down by 23% year to date (through May 5, 2018).