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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: the 2019 Experiment makes for much happier reading.
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. Compare loosely to the 2019 Top Ten Experiment.
Month Twenty-Three - Down 85%
After a strong October bounce, the 2018 Top Ten portfolio reverted to downward trajectory of the summer months. While all cryptos in the experiment were either in the green or flat last month, the opposite was true in November as each crypto ended the month solidly in the red.
Ranking and November Winners and Losers
There was no upward movement in November: every crypto either held onto its position or slid. After slipping three slots last month, Dash fell two more places in November and has now fallen to #22 and out of the Top Twenty for the first time since the beginning of the experiment. For the second straight month, IOTA dropped two places and now is in danger of joining Dash outside the Top Twenty. Bitcoin Cash and NEM also fell one position each, ending November at #5 and #28 respectively.
November Winners - Although it lost -11% in November, Cardano handily outperformed its peers. NEM finished in second, "only" down -15% on the month.
November Losers - Dash had a rough month, losing -28% of its value and dropping out of the Top Twenty. November also marks the first time since January 2018 that Dash ended a month at the bottom. Bitcoin Cash followed close behind Dash, finishing -27% in November.
For those keeping score, here is tally of which coins have the most monthly wins and losses during the first 23 months of this experiment. Most monthly wins (5): Bitcoin. Most monthly losses (5): Stellar. All cryptos have at least one monthly win. Up until last month, the only two coins never to lose a month were Bitcoin and Dash. Thanks to a Dash's loss in November, Bitcoin now stands alone as the only crypto that hasn't lost a month.
Overall update – Bitcoin still well ahead. 60% of cryptos have lost at least -90% of their January 2018 value, NEM still absolute worst performer.
Although down -45% since January 2018, Bitcoin is still miles ahead of the rest of the field. Litecoin and Ethereum are virtually tied for second place, down -79%.
NEM has performed the absolute worst (currently down -96%) but has plenty of company at the bottom: six out of the ten cryptos that started 2018 in the Top Ten are down at least 90%: NEM, Cardano, Dash, IOTA, Ripple, and Bitcoin Cash. My initial $100 investment in NEM is worth just $3.83.
Additionally, 40% of the cryptos that started 2018 in the Top Ten have dropped out, specifically NEM, Dash, IOTA, and Cardano. They have been replaced by EOS, Binance Coin, Tether, and BTCSV.
Total Market Cap for the entire cryptocurrency sector:
The crypto market gave up its October gains and then some as $50B was shed in November. The overall market cap now back to the $198B mark, last seen in May 2019. Since January 2018, the total market cap is down -66%.
Bitcoin dominance decreased slightly in November. For context, the range since the beginning of the experiment in January 2018 has been quite wide: a high of 70% in September 2019 and a low of 33% in February 2018.
Overall return on investment from January 1st, 2018:
The 2018 Top Ten Portfolio lost -$42 in November. If I cashed out today, my $1000 initial investment would return $150, down -85%.
The 2019 Top Ten Experiment is doing better. If I cashed that experiment out today, that $1,000 initial investment would return $1,100, a +10% gain. Full November report to come.
Taken together, here's the bottom bottom line: after a $2000 investment in both the 2018 and the 2019 Top Ten Cryptocurrencies, my portfolios would be worth $1,250.
That's down -37.5%.
As always, the experiment's focus of solely holding the Top Ten Cryptos continues to be a losing approach. While the overall market is down -%66 from January 2018, the cryptos that began 2018 in the Top Ten are down -85% over the same period. This of course implies that I would have done a bit better if I'd picked different cryptos.
At no point in this experiment has this investment strategy been successful: the initial 2018 Top Ten have under-performed each of the twenty-three months 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 +17.5% since the beginning of 2018. My initial $1k investment into crypto would have yielded about +$175 had it been redirected to the S&P.
After a bounce in October, it seems like we're back to our previously scheduled programming of downward movement. One month to go in 2019, let's see what happens.
A note: although I'm planning on continuing to track both the 2018 and 2019 Top Ten Cryptos next year, I'm undecided on whether or not to repeat the experiment yet again in 2020. Please do leave your suggestions and ideas in the comments below.
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 a new set of Top Ten cryptos as of January 1st 2019.