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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 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.
Month Twenty - Down 80%
August ended completely in the red with all of the 2018 Top Ten losing ground. BTC performed the "best", down -10%. While February through June saw five straight months of upward trajectory, July and August have ushered in two-month downward streak.
Despite being down for the month Cardano and IOTA both gained a place in the rankings against their peers. NEM continued its slow and steady fall, now at #24. Stellar keeps yo-yoing in and out of the Top Ten, this month dropping to #11. Dash had a tough August, dropping two places to #17.
NEM, Dash, IOTA, Stellar, and Cardano are the 2018 Top Ten dropouts - they have been replaced by EOS, Binance Coin, Tether, Monero and BTCSV.
August Winners - Although down -10%, this was enough for Bitcoin to outperform the field.
August Losers - All coins finished in the red, but Litecoin had roughest month, down -29% followed by NEM, down -26%. Stellar dropped back out of the Top Ten as well.
For those keeping score, here is tally of which coins have the most monthly wins and loses during the first 20 months of this experiment. Most monthly wins (5): 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 – Bitcoin opens widest lead of the experiment. NEM, Cardano, and IOTA worst performers.
Although down -10% on the month, Bitcoin is crushing the other Top Ten experiment coins. BTC is down -20% since January 1st 2018 but now holds a +50 percentage point lead over second place Litecoin which is down nearly -70% over the same period. This is by far the widest lead Bitcoin (or any coin for that matter) has held since I started the experiment nearly two years ago.
NEM is still the worst overall performer (down -95%) followed by IOTA and ADA both down -93%. My initial $100 investment in NEM is worth just $5.20.
Total Market Cap for the entire cryptocurrency sector:
For the second straight month, the total crypto market cap decreased, shedding about $40B in August. The overall market cap dipped below the $300B mark and is back to a level we saw around early June 2019.
Bitcoin dominance continues to increase, now at 70%. This is easily the highest point so far since the experiment began in January 2018. For context, Bitcoin dominance was at 33% in early February 2018.
Overall return on investment from January 1st, 2018:
My Top Ten 2018 portfolio lost about $45 in total value this month. The August decrease confirms a two month losing streak after an impressive five month straight run of gains (February to June).
If I cashed out today, my $1000 initial investment would return about $203, down nearly -80%.
Although still down overall since January 2018, Bitcoin is dominating the space and showing no mercy towards other cryptocurrencies. August did snap BTC's streak of six straight months of growth but this month also saw it shatter the 70% dominance figure for the first time since the experiment began.
Bitcoin continues to increase its overall lead. After twenty months, it is now about 50 percentage points ahead of distant second place Litecoin in terms of return on initial investment.
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 -%53 from January 2018, the cryptos that began 2018 in the Top Ten are down -80% 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 twenty 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 +8.7% since the beginning of 2018. My initial $1k investment into crypto would have yielded about +$87 had it been redirected to the S&P. (By the way, I'm not counting reinvested dividends, just as I'm not tracking potential staking rewards in cypto. Reason? Laziness).
No doubt about it, August was a down month for crypto - the first all red month for the Top Ten 2018 experiment cryptos since January 2019.Bitcoin, after getting tantalizingly close to the break even point in July (the price I paid on January 1st 2018) retreated a bit in August, but still continues to dominate. 70% dominance seems incredibly high - how much higher can it go? Will alts ever 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.