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Rise & Fall: A Brief History of the Biggest Swings in Crypto

Cryptocurrencies are notorious for their volatility. Outside of stablecoins, there isn’t really a single coin that is known for level-headed market behavior. Indeed, some cryptocurrencies have fallen and never recovered — they are dead as the dodo.

But let’s face it — if cryptocurrencies were predictable, it would be boring. Crypto thrives in volatility. Somehow, it’s the thrill that keeps insiders and spectators tuned in for more.

Cryptocurrency is pretty darn swingy.

Bitcoin (BTC)

Bitcoin has had its fair share of dramatic swings. The pioneer cryptocurrency’s first increase was in 2010, when it rose from $0.0008 to $0.08. Since then, the currency has had continued its trend of giant leaps and sharp corrections.

Bitcoin’s first remarkable jump was in 2017 when it rose from $974 to $20,000 — a 1,950% increase. This was arguably when the currency captured the public’s imagination like never before and began its march towards mainstream recognition.

Towards the end of 2013, BTC was fast reaching for $1,200 — which was a huge deal at the time. This rise was significantly fueled by the US Senate’s discussion on the “potential to promote more efficient global commerce” in reference to cryptocurrencies. China’s central bank had also weighed in with cautious approval. But later in December, the approvals were withdrawn, and China began restricting banks from dealing in Bitcoin. On December 18th, Bitcoin prices halved in a single day.

Crypto fans have not forgotten Bitcoin’s meteoric rise from $20,000 in December to almost $65,000 in April 2021. The world’s predominant crypto coin would go on to reach an all-time high of roughly $68,000 in November the same year but it suffered a staggering collapse in 2022. In the span of one year BTC went from a high of $68,000 all the way down to $17,000.  The cryptocurrency had risen more than 200% since September. As per usual, however, it has since recovered a great deal of the loss. Where will it go next?

Ethereum (ETH)

Like most of the crypto market, the second-largest cryptocurrency has been emulating Bitcoin in market behavior. Even so, Ethereum’s utility in smart contracts, NFTs and DeFi has allowed the currency to curve its own — but not so independent — bump and decline curve patterns.

On January 10th, 2018, ETH was exchanging hands at nearly $1,400 in one of its largest price rallies — a 60% increase in a week. This was a tight rally behind Bitcoin and can be attributed to Bitcoin’s success at the time.

But Ethereum’s most remarkable jump was in 2021, when the currency built up to $4,000. In a rare show of defiance, ETH proceeded to hit and exceed the $4,000 psychological mark even as BTC – which was leading the bull run – started receding from $50,000. Traditionally, Ethereum would rise or fall as Bitcoin does, but it showed determination to stamp its authority as a trendsetter this time.

As for price crashes, ETH investors remember how the cryptocurrency fell from $319 to $0.10 in seconds in June 2017. Although the crash only affected the GDAX exchange and lasted no more than a few seconds, many traders went into huge losses.

Dogecoin (DOGE)

Dogecoin registered lackluster performances since its launch in December 2013. But in 2021, “the world’s most expensive joke” rose by more than 20,000% — in one of the most dramatic climbs in the cryptocurrency’s history.

It’s an open secret that the currency rallied on due to publicity from Tesla head Elon Musk. After Musk declared himself the “Dogefather”, prices shot up by 32% in a matter of hours.

In May, the meme coin lost a third of its value after Musk called it a “hustle” on Saturday Night Live. However, the biggest slump is the cryptocurrency’s 45% decline was after China announced a new ban on cryptocurrencies in May. DOGE fell from $0.48 to $0.21 in a single day.

Ripple (XRP)

Industry observers remember XRP’s 366% gain in December 2017. By around the 22nd of the same month, the cryptocurrency gained another 160%, totaling to more than a 500% gain in one month.

XRP then made another massive 188% leap during the 23 – 29 December week, pushing its prices up to $2.24 from $1.19. The currency made the final dash in January 2018, moving from $1.93, where it had briefly fallen, to an all-time high of $3.86. News about Ripple being adopted by enterprises and how the foundation had already signed up tens of banks helped spike the prices.

However, XRP fell just as fast as it rose. On the week approaching January 16th, the coin tumbled from the glory of $3 to a paltry $0.89. In a matter of 12 days, Ripple had fallen from its highest-ever prices and the enviable position of the second-largest cryptocurrency to a 430% fall. Today, XRP is doing relatively well, still sitting in the top ten cryptocurrencies by market capitalization.

Cardano (ADA)

Cardano remained a little known blockchain until 2020 when DeFi began hitting headlines as the next big thing. However, the cryptocurrency’s recent rally has cemented its place in the crypto hall of dramatic rises.

In July, ADA embarked on a price increase, culminating in $3 in September. Per Forbes, the cryptocurrency has risen by 85% after founder Charles Hoskinson promised a network upgrade that will enable the network to support such contracts.

Cardano has since fallen substantially but still holds a position in the crypto top 10 and a series of upgrades to the protocol could take it even higher.

Bitconnect (BCC)

Bitconnect is a cryptocurrency project that was an exit scam. The project allowed investors to use their trading bot to make up to 40% interest per month by sending them Bitcoin. Even though a crypto riding on the coattails of another crypto should be a red flag, investors pumped their Bitcoin to the project.

On January 17th, 2018, the project’s founders shut down, citing negative press, denial of service attacks, and regulatory crackdowns as to why. After the announcement, BCC plunged to less than $1 from $500. The year before, BCC had risen from $0.17 to a high of $463 in December.


Final Thoughts: What Goes Up?

The nature of cryptocurrencies is that they’re highly unpredictable. A cryptocurrency that’s the talk of today may be irrelevant tomorrow. Similarly, a cryptocurrency can rise from obscurity to the hottest thing tomorrow.

The most important thing for a coin is to simply survive during down markets so they can get a shot a comeback. Many of the world’s biggest cryptocurrencies — including Bitcoin and Ethereum — have been counted out numerous times but have managed to come back stronger than ever.

Regardless, it’s a roller coaster ride, and crypto enthusiasts live for it.


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Hope Mutie

About the Author

Hope Mutie

Hope Mutie is a professional writer and editor whose interests include fintech, cryptocurrency, and blockchain. She engages with crypto audiences by curating content that’s fun-to-read, educational, and offers unmatched value. Hope is part of the brilliant team at Go Full Crypto – a podcast and service that enables your transition into crypto.

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