Instead of hypothetically tracking cryptos, I made an actual $1000 investment, $100 in each of the Top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap as of the 1st of January 2018. Think of it as a lazy man's Index Fund (no weighting or rebalancing), less technical, more fun (for me at least), and hopefully still a proxy for the market as a whole - or at the very least an interesting snapshot of the 2018/2019 crypto space. I’m trying to keep it simple and accessible for beginners and those looking to get into crypto but maybe not quite ready to jump in yet.
I have also started a parallel project: on January 1st, 2019, I repeated the experiment, purchasing another $1000 ($100 each) into the new Top Ten cryptos as of January 1st 2019. Spoiler alert: it's a night and day difference between the two experiments.
Buy $100 of each the Top 10 cryptocurrencies on January 1st, 2018. Run the experiment two years. Hold only. No selling. No trading. Report monthly.
Month Eighteen - Down 71%
Despite steady growth all month, the end of June ended on a downward trend. The final month-end numbers are still up from last month, but just barely, despite the excitement of Bitcoin briefly approaching $14,000. In fairness, May 2019 was an incredibly strong month in crypto - very hard to beat. The experiment has now seen five straight months of gains.
Lots of movement in June, most of it downward. IOTA slipped three places from #15 to #18, Stellar fell two spots and out of the Top Ten to #12, and both NEM and Dash dropped a slot to #21 and #15 respectively.
On the positive side, Cardano re-entered the Top Ten, moving two places from #12 to #10. And the most significant move this month was probably Litecoin switching places with Bitcoin Cash. Litecoin now sits at #4, Bitcoin Cash at #5.
NEM, Dash, IOTA, and Stellar are Top Ten dropouts - they have been replaced by EOS, Binance Coin, Tether, and BTCSV.
June Winners - Bitcoin dominated the headlines for good reason - even after a significant correction at the end of the month, it is still up 30% in June. ETH finished second, up 13%, followed by Litecoin, up 10%.
June Losers - For the third month in a row Stellar was the worst performer, down -20% followed by IOTA, down -13% in June.
For those keeping score, here is tally of which coins have the most monthly wins and loses during the first 18 months of this experiment. Most monthly wins (3): Litecoin and Bitcoin. Most monthly loses (5): Stellar.
Overall update – Bitcoin increases lead and approaches break-even point. NEM and IOTA still at the bottom.
Bitcoin followed up its stellar May with a very strong June. It is now only down -16% since January 2018 and is approaching the break-even point. Litecoin is a very distant second at -43% since the experiment began.
NEM is still the worst overall performer (down -90%) followed by IOTAwhich is down -88% and ADA down -87%. My initial $100 investment in NEM is worth just $10.03.
Total Market Cap for the entire cryptocurrency sector:
The total crypto market cap increased about $50B in June, a significant gain, but only half of what it added in May. Overall, the experiment has crossed the -50% threshold and is down "only" -44% at the moment, a level we haven't seen since June 2018.
Bitcoin dominance now stands at 61.4%, easily the highest point so far in the experiment.
Overall return on investment from January 1st, 2018:
My Top Ten of 2018 portfolio increased about $15 in total value this month. I can now mark five months in a row with increasing total value, a new record in the experiment.
If I cashed out today, my $1000 initial investment would return about $295, down -71%.
Although BTC is up +30% and the overall market added $50B, my Top Ten experiment cryptos only gained about +1.5%. It's fair to say that Bitcoin is leading the charge and that the altcoins haven't had their day yet.
Although gains in June were modest, this is now the fifth positive month in a row for the 2018 Top Ten, unprecedented thus far in the experiment.
Once again this month marks a record high in Bitcoin dominance, the highest since the experiment started in January 2018, over 61%.
Bitcoin continues to increase its overall lead. After eighteen months, it is now 25% ahead of second place Litecoin in terms of return on initial investment.
The experiment's focus of solely holding the Top Ten again looks like an especially poor strategy this month. While the overall market is down -44% from January 2018, the cryptos that began 2018 in the Top Ten are down -71% over the same period of time. That's over a 25% difference, is the widest gap of the experiment so far, and is significantly more than last month's record 20% difference.
At no point has this investment strategy worked: the initial 2018 Top Ten have under-performed every single month compared to the market overall.
I'm also tracking the S&P 500 as part of my experiment to have a comparison point with other popular investments options. The S&P 500 is now up +10% since the beginning of 2018. My initial $1k investment into crypto would have yielded about +$100 had it been redirected to the S&P.
Last month I ended my update wondering if Bitcoin would hit $10k, which it flew by. With still relatively little mainstream attention, is $15k attainable in the near term or are we back to moving sideways? How much longer can BTC sustain its momentum? And when its exhausted, will the alts see a bounce?
Thanks for reading and for supporting the experiment. I hope you’ve found it helpful. I continue to be committed to seeing this process through and reporting along the way. Feel free to reach out with any questions and stay tuned for progress reports. Keep an eye out for my parallel project:where I repeated the experiment, purchasing another $1000 ($100 each) of the new Top Ten cryptos as of January 1st 2019.