See the full blog post with all the tables here.
And learn about the history and the rules of the Experiments here.
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Month Thirty Four – Down 74%
After an all-red September, it’s nice to see a bit of green this month. Thanks mainly to Bitcoin, the 2018 Top Ten Portfolio finished October with modest gains overall.
But, STOP THE PRESS, what is that!??! Green in the “Total % Change” column!?!? Yes indeed: for the first time in 34 monthly updates, I’m happy to announce that BTC ended October worth more than the price I paid for it on the 31st of December, 2017. Although only up +4% overall, it’s been a long road: this small 2018 Top Ten victory is to be celebrated.
Question of the month:
In October, this global payment service announced it will support cryptocurrency buying, selling, and shopping through its platform.
Scroll down for the answer.
Ranking and October Winners and Losers
Not much movement this month, a bit strange for the 2018 Top Ten Portfolio. Only three cryptos shifted positions in October: NEM’s Top Twenty hopes seem to be fading fast (it dropped from #22 to #24); XLM picked up one spot (#18 to #17); and, much to the relief of long time crypto-ers with a soft spot for the silver to BTC’s gold, Litecoin was able to stop its freefall, rebounding back into the Top Ten nicely, picking up four spots (#12 to #8). Welcome back LTC.
Drop outs: After thirty-four months of this experiment 40% of the cryptos that started 2018 in the Top Ten have dropped out. NEM, Dash, IOTA, and Stellar have been replaced by Binance Coin, Tether, LINK, and most recently, DOT.
October Winners – For the second month in a row, this month’s W goes to Bitcoin, up +25% for the month. Litecoin finishes the month in second place, up 17% and climbing back into the Top Ten.
October Losers – For the second month in a row, this month’s L goes to NEM, down -16%. IOTA finished down -11%, the second worst performer of the month.
For the overly competitive nerds, below is a tally of the winners of the first 34 months of the 2018 Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Experiment. Bitcoin still has the most monthly wins (9) and Cardano in second place with 6 monthly wins. With another poor performance in October, NEM now has 8 monthly losses.
Every crypto has at least one monthly win and Bitcoin is unique as the only cryptocurrency that hasn’t lost a month yet since January 2018.
Overall update – BTC far ahead and breaks even, ETH in distant second place. Dash in last place.
So here we are: point break even. On the 31st of December, 2017, I bought $100 worth of BTC (0.008) at $13,170. Nearly three years later that same 0.008 is worth $13,665. Although only 4%, it’s a symbolic victory and one that’s been a long time coming. The initial investment of $100 thirty-three months ago is now worth about $83. A distant second place, Ethereum is down -45% since January 2018.
At this point in the 2018 Top Ten Experiment, Dash is at the bottom. It has lost -93%. The initial $100 invested in Dash 34 months ago is now worth $6.52.
The 2018 Portfolio welcomed LTC back Top Ten in October. September 2020 was the first time since I started the experiment back in January 2018 that Litecoin had fallen out of the Top Ten.
Total Market Cap for the entire cryptocurrency sector:
The crypto market gained about $50B in finished October over the psychologically important $400B mark, a level we haven’t seen since the end of April 2018.
After a few months of dipping, BitDom shot back up to 63.1% in October. A big move, but for context, it was up over 68% earlier in 2020.
For even more context: since the beginning of the experiment, the range of Bitcoin dominance has been quite wide: we saw a high of 70% BitDom in September 2019 and a low of 33% BitDom in February 2018.
Overall return on $1,000 investment since January 1st, 2018:
The 2018 Top Ten Portfolio gained about $25 bucks in October. Despite BTC breaking even, the portfolio overall is still struggling: if I cashed out today, the $1000 initial investment would return about $264, down -74% from January 2018.
Down -74% sounds bad (and it is), but the overall direction lately has been encouraging and a nice break from the negative eighties. Here’s a look at the ROI over the life of the experiment, month by month, for some context:
The absolute bottom was -88% back in January 2019.
So the Top Ten Cryptos of 2018 are down -76%. What about the 2019 and 2020 Top Tens? Let’s take a look:
- 2019 Top Ten Experiment: up +66% (total value $1,660)
- 2020 Top Ten Experiment: up +61% (total value $1,613)
So overall? Taking the three portfolios together, here’s the bottom bottom bottom line:
After a $3000 investment in the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Top Ten Cryptocurrencies, my combined portfolios are worth $3,537 ($264+ $1,660 +$1,613).
That’s up about +18% for the three combined portfolios, compared to +11% last month.
Here’s a table to help visualize:
That’s a +18% (actually +17.9%) gain by investing $1k on whichever cryptos happened to be in the Top Ten on January 1st for three straight years.
But surely you’d do better if you went all in on one crypto, right?
Depends on your choice. Let’s take a look:
Only five cryptos have started in the Top Ten for all three years: BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, and LTC. Knowing what we know now, which one would have been best to go all in on?
As of this month, it’s basically a tie between BTC and ETH. Both are up +121%, (although BTC is technically $21 ahead of ETH).
So: with $3,000 USD, dropped in $1k chunks on January 1st three times in a row since New Year’s Day 2018, you would be up +121%, by going all in on either BTC or ETH.
The worst choice? At this point in the experiment, that would be XRP, down -32%.
Comparison to S&P 500:
I’m also tracking the S&P 500 as part of the experiment to have a comparison point with other popular investments options. The S&P 500 Index continued its fall from an all time high in August. It ended October up +22% since January 2018.
The initial $1k investment into crypto on January 1st, 2018 would have been worth about $1220 had it been redirected to the S&P.
But what if I took the same invest-$1,000-on-January-1st-of-each-year approach with the S&P 500 that I’ve been documenting through the Top Ten Crypto Experiments? Here are the numbers:
- $1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2018 = $1220 today
- $1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2019 = $1300 today
- $1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2020 = $1010 today
Taken together, here’s the bottom bottom bottom line for a similar approach with the S&P:
After three $1,000 investments into an S&P 500 index fund in January 2018, 2019, and 2020, my portfolio would be worth $3,530.
That is up +17.6% since January 2018. Compared to a +17.9% gain of the combined Top Ten Crypto Experiment Portfolios. You can compare against five individual coins (BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, and LTC) by using the table above if you want.
Gentlemen and lady (hello lady, I see you back there) we have a tie.
Well, not quite a tie, crypto is up .3% so crypto gets the win:
That’s seven monthly victories for the S&P vs. three monthly victories for crypto. The largest gap so far was a 22% difference in favor of the S&P in June.
October saw a bit of divergence between crypto and the S&P: crypto up, S&P down. That separation is nice to see when it often seems that crypto moves in tandem with traditional markets. Two more months left in the year. What more will 2020 throw at us? And how will crypto and traditional markets respond?
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 projects where I repeat the experiment twice, purchasing another $1000 ($100 each) of two new sets of Top Ten cryptos as of January 1st, 2019 then again on January 1st, 2020.
And the Answer is…
Paypal announced in October that it will allow customers to buy, sell, and hold Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Customers will also be able to pay with crypto at 26 million merchants on its network starting in early 2021.
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