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See the full blog post with all the tables here.
Month Twenty-Six – Down 81%
After a strong start to 2020, February saw a bit of a pullback with nearly every 2018 Top Ten crypto ending in the red. Ethereum is the notable exception, gaining +21% for the month.
Ranking and February Winners and Losers
A mixed month in terms of movement for this group of cryptos. NEM and Stellar made positive moves while Cardano and IOTA, fell two and four positions, respectively. Dash gave up some of the ground it made in January when it jumped an unprecedented 10 slots, but this month it fell from #16 back to #20.
For overall drop out rate, we’re back at the 50% mark: half of the cryptos that started 2018 in the Top Ten have dropped out, specifically NEM, Dash, IOTA, Cardano, and Stellar. They have been replaced by EOS, Binance Coin, Tezos, Tether, and BSV.
February Winners – Ethereum easily outperformed the field this month with a +21% gain. NEM finished in second place, up +4%.
February Losers – All the other cryptos ended the month in the red. IOTA picks up the L this month, losing -28% of its value followed closely by Dash which finished down -27%.
For nerds: here is tally of which coins have the most monthly wins and losses in the first 26 months of the 2018 Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Experiment. Most monthly wins (6): Bitcoin. Most monthly losses (5): Stellar. All cryptos have at least one monthly win and Bitcoin now stands alone as the only crypto that hasn’t lost a month (although it came close in January 2020), when it gained “only” +31%).
Overall update – BTC far ahead, ETH takes second place from LTC, IOTA and NEM worst performing
No news here: Bitcoin is still well ahead of the field. Although down -35% since the beginning of 2018, BTC is still returning roughly double of the next crypto down, Ethereum – which, thanks to a strong February, has overtaken Litecoin for second place.
While NEM remains at the bottom, IOTA is dropping quickly. They are down -95% and -94% respectively.
Total Market Cap for the entire cryptocurrency sector:
The overall crypto market lost about $12B in February 2020, a non-event in the crypto world. Since January 2018, the total market cap is down about -57%.
Bitcoin dominance ticked down another two points to 64% in February 2020. The last time BitDom was this low was back in July 2019. 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 since January 1st, 2018:
The 2018 Top Ten Portfolio lost about $16 bucks in February 2020. If I cashed out today, my $1000 initial investment would return about $186, down -81% from January 2018.
Here’s a look at the ROI over the life of the experiment, month by month:
As you can see, nothing but red. The closest the 2018 Top Ten group has come to breaking even was after the very first month, when the portfolio was down -20%. It has been at the at least -80% loss level for the past seven months in a row.
The 2019 Top Ten Experiment and the just launched 2020 Top Ten Experiment are both doing much better:
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 portfolios are worth $3,170.
That’s up about +5.6%.
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 -57% from January 2018, the cryptos that began 2018 in the Top Ten are down -81% 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-six months compared to the market overall.
There are a few examples, however, of this approach outperforming the overall market in the parallel 2019 Top Ten Crypto Experiment. And the first two months of the 2020 Experiment show that focusing on the Top Ten is a winning strategy.
I’m also tracking the S&P 500 as part of my experiment to have a comparison point with other popular investments options. After a rough coronavirus fueled week, the S&P 500 has lost a lot of ground. It is currently up only +11% since the beginning of 2018. The initial $1k investment into crypto would have yielded about +$110 had it been redirected to the S&P.
Taking the same drop-$1,000-per-year-on-January-1st approach with the S&P 500 that I’ve been documenting through the Top Ten Crypto Experiments would yield the following:
- $1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2018: +$110
- $1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2019: +$180
- $1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2020: -$90
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 $3,200.
That’s up about +6.7% compared to +5.6% with the Top Ten Crypto Experiments.
That’s getting pretty close now, eh? While this month’s update/snapshot is greatly influenced by the coronavirus stock market correction, a difference of only 1% is definitely worth noting.
Not a great month for crypto, but not a horrible one, especially if you compare to the free fall in the stock market. Depending on how the coronavirus influences both traditional and crypto markets, we could be in for an interesting few months.
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.