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: I'm down on the 2018 Experiment as much as I'm up on the 2019 Experiment, so I've basically broken even at this point.
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 Nineteen - Down 75%
July certainly felt like a bloodbath (look at all of that red), but by month's end, the 2018 Top Ten were only down about 4% on the month, which is nothing for crypto. Although modest, this decline signals the end of the five month upward streak.
Lots of movement again in July, and again most of it downward. After briefly revisiting the Top Ten, Cardano gave up its position and then some, sliding all the way back to position #13. NEM continued its slow and steady fall now at #23 and IOTA, at #19, is now in real danger of falling out of the Top Twenty. Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash switched places with each other (again) and Stellar reclaimed its spot in the Top Ten, rising two slots from #12 to #10.
NEM, Dash, IOTA, and Cardano are the 2018 Top Ten dropouts - they have been replaced by EOS, Binance Coin, Tether, and BTCSV.
July Winners - Bitcoin was the only crypto to finish the month in positive territory, up +6%.
July Losers - Cardano lost -33% of its value and dropped three spots in the rankings. Tough month for ADA to say the least. Tough month for Dash too, down -31% in July.
For those keeping score, here is tally of which coins have the most monthly wins and loses during the first 19 months of this experiment. Most monthly wins (4): Bitcoin. Most monthly loses (5): Stellar. All cryptos have at least one monthly win. The only two coins never to lose a month? Bitcoin and Dash.
Overall update – No cyrpto close to Bitcoin as it inches closer to break-even point. NEM, Cardano, and IOTA in the cellar.
Bitcoin followed up a strong May and June with a solid +6% July. It is now down -11% since January 2018 and is approaching the break-even point. Litecoin is a very distant second at -56% since the experiment began.
NEM is still the worst overall performer (down -93%) followed by IOTA and ADA both down -92%. My initial $100 investment in NEM is worth just $7.04.
Total Market Cap for the entire cryptocurrency sector:
For the first time since February, the total crypto market cap decreased, losing about $13B in July. The overall market cap remains over $300B and Overall the 2018 Top Ten experiment has crossed the -50% threshold and is down "only" -46% at the moment, a level we haven't seen since June 2018.
Bitcoin dominance saw another large leap in July and now stands at almost 68%, easily the highest point so far in the experiment began in January 2018.
Overall return on investment from January 1st, 2018:
My Top Ten 2018 portfolio lost about $50 in total value this month. This decrease broke the five month streak of increasing total value, which was a record in the experiment.
If I cashed out today, my $1000 initial investment would return about $249, down -75%.
In contrast to the 2019 Top Ten Experiment where Litecoin is the top performer of the year, it's all BTC with the Top Ten 2018 Experiment. Altcoins again lost ground against Bitcoin which now represents over 2/3rds of the value entire crypto market. Although the 2018 Top Ten's streak of five consecutive positive months was broken, BTC's streak is now up to six straight months of growth. And once again this month marks a record high in Bitcoin dominance, 68%, the highest since the experiment started in January 2018.
And Bitcoin continues to increase its overall lead. After nineteen months, it is now 45% ahead of second place Litecoin in terms of return on initial investment.
The experiment's focus of solely holding the Top Ten Cryptos continues to be a losing approach. While the overall market is down -46% from January 2018, the cryptos that began 2018 in the Top Ten are down -75% over the same period. That's close to a 30% difference, the widest gap of the experiment so far.
At no point has this investment strategy worked: the initial 2018 Top Ten have under-performed each of the nineteen 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 +9.7% since the beginning of 2018. My initial $1k investment into crypto would have yielded about +$97 had it been redirected to the S&P.
Even a down month for crypto couldn't stop Bitcoin, which has seen six straight months end with gains. How much higher can it go in terms of dominance and when will we see the alts make a move?
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.