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EXPERIMENT - Tracking Top 10 Cryptos of 2018 - Month Thirty-Four - Down -74%
See the full blog post with all the tables here.
Month Thirty Four – Down 74%2018 Top Ten Summary for October
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.A) Paypal
Scroll down for the answer.
Ranking and October Winners and LosersRank of 2018 Portfolio - 40% of cryptos are drop outs
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 NEM, Dash, IOTA, and Stellar have been replaced by Binance Coin, Tether, LINK, and most recently, DOT.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.
Ws and Ls - One coin to rule them all
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:Total market cap - back over the $400B mark for the first time in over 2.5 years
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.
Bitcoin dominance:BitDom - growing
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, 2018:2018 Top Ten ROI
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:
2018 Top Ten Monthly ROI - Red, red, red
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:
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:
Combined 2018, 2019, 2020 ROI
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:
Three year club: BTC and ETH tied
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.
Monthly S&P 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:
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:
Three year S&P vs. Top Ten Crypto Experiments Combined ROI
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.
Conclusion: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…A) Paypal
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.
Crypto moves way too fast for me to keep up, so I started making a list of each day's biggest headline. Below is my list for last month. My main news source was reddit. My main holdings are ETH and NANO, but I tried to make the list as unbiased as possible. Hope you like this, and let me know if you have any feedback!
1/1 – Ethereum releases the Casper proof of stake protocol to its test network. 1/2 – Despite Verge’s claims of concealing users’ IP address info in their Wraith release, a website is discovered which publishes the IP addresses of all Verge transaction participants. 1/3 – Bitcoin celebrates the 9th anniversary of the genesis block. 1/4 – NEO breaks the $100 barrier. 1/5 – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announces plan to integrate cryptocurrencies into Facebook services. 1/6 – TRON breaks the $10 billion market cap barrier and becomes a top 10 crypto amid accusations of whitepaper plagiarism and fears of the project’s legitimacy. 1/7 – After a 2-week swap, Ethereum retakes the #2 crypto spot from Ripple. 1/8 – Cryptos on South Korea and Chinese exchanges are being traded at over a 50% premium compared to their western counterparts. This causes Coinmarketcap to classify those prices as outliers, and subsequently flash crashes the market. 1/9 – RaiBlocks is officially named the winner of January’s Binance community vote. 1/10 – South Korea proposes legislation to ban crypto trading, flash crashing the market. They roll back the announcement 4 hours later. 1/11 – Moneygram announces a partnership with Ripple in a pilot program for crypto payments. 1/12 - Twitch begins accepting Bitcoin and transfers from Coinbase accounts as means of payment. 1/13 - Walton announces plans to work with China Mobile IoT Alliance on integration. 1/14 - VeChain announces partnership with China’s National Tobacco Corporation and State Tobacco Monopoly Administration. 1/15 - Mark Cuban says that his basketball team the Dallas Mavericks will accept Bitcoin and Ether as payment for tickets next season. 1/16 - Increased concerns over tightened cryptocurrency trading regulations in South Korea, China, and France, as well as calls from Germany for international cooperation to regulate the market, cause prices of top coins to fall 30%. 1/17 - Long suspected of running a Ponzi scheme, BitConnect shuts down both its trading and lending platforms and releases all locked BCC tokens. This causes its price to fall 95%. 1/18 - The South Korean Financial Supervisory Service reports that several government officials were caught insider trading immediately prior to the January 10th crypto exchange ban announcement. 1/19 - ICON partners with Kyber Network with plans to use Kyber’s crypto-exchange services to connect ICON with other blockchains. 1/20 - The National Research Council of Canada says that it is using the Ethereum blockchain to proactively publish research grants. 1/21 - Johann Jungwirth, the chief digital officer of Volkswagen, joins the IOTA Foundation as an advisor. 1/22 - South Korean government officials announce that they plan to collect up to 24.8% in corporate and income taxes from cryptocurrency exchanges based in the country. 1/23 - Online payment toolkit developer Stripe announce in a blog post that they are dropping support for Bitcoin, citing increased transaction times, fees, and price volatility. They also express interest in supporting other cryptocurrencies, including OmiseGo, Ethereum, and Stellar. 1/24 - Rating agency Weiss releases the first ever cryptocurrency ratings for the top 74 coins. Ethereum and EOS receive a B, the highest grade in the first round, with Cardano, NEO, and Steem the next highest with a B-. 1/25 - Popular stock-trading app Robinhood adds support for 16 cryptocurrencies in 5 US states, with Bitcoin and Ethereum the first to be tradeable. 1/26 - Popular Japanese exchange Coincheck gets hacked, resulting in the theft of 526 million XEM ($400 million) and 101 milion XRP ($130 million), the largest crypto theft from an exchange in history. 1/27 - Amid accusations of insolvency, Tether announces that its partnership with auditing firm Friedman LLP has been dissolved. 1/28 - Online South Korean mall ??? begins accepting 12 different cryptocurrencies as payment, including Bitcoin, Ether, and Ripple. 1/29 - Walton affiliate Xiamen Citylink signs a research sharing and IoT ecosystem services deal with the Zhangzouh branch of China Telecom Corporation. 1/30 - A Bloomberg article states that Tether was issued a subpoena by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commision in December. This was due to a lack of conclusive evidence that the USD holdings that back the cryptocurrency exist. Bitfinex, the world’s 4th largest exchange by volume and supporter of Tether, was also subpoenaed. 1/31 - RaiBlocks announces that it is rebranding to Nano.
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