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Month Twenty-Eight – Down 82%
Welcome back from the brink. While March saw the experiment enter full zombie apocalypse mode, the crypto market recovered bigly (or big league?) in April: every crypto finished in the green by at least double digit percentage gains.
Ranking and April Winners and Losers
Some ups, some downs, a good deal of movement. IOTA and NEM fell one position each down to #25 and #27 respectively. Although it seems like an eternity, remember these were the #7 and #8 ranked coins just a little over two years ago. On the upside, Cardano and Dash both climbed one position, while Stellar clawed back two spots, once again knocking on the door of the Top Ten at #11.
The overall drop out rate remains at the 50% mark (meaning half of the cryptos that started 2018 in the Top Ten have dropped out). NEM, Dash, IOTA, Cardano, and Stellar have been replaced by EOS, Binance Coin, Tezos, Tether, and BSV.
April Winners – Stellar dominated April, up an impressive +75%. Cardano finishes in second place, up +63% for the month.
April Losers – Every cryptocurrency finished April in positive territory, but NEM (+12%) and Bitcoin Cash (+15%) lagged behind the rest of the field.
For the overly competitive: below is tally of which coins have the most monthly wins and losses in the first 28 months of the 2018 Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Experiment. Most monthly wins (7): 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 still way ahead, ETH reclaims second place, NEM reclaims last place.
Bitcoin made up a lot of ground this month, moving -50% since January 2018 last month to -33% at the end of April. BTC is still well ahead of the field. This may feel like a foregone conclusion at this point, but for context, long time 2018 Top Ten Experiment followers will note that this has not always been a given. Just a little over a year ago, for example, BTC was second place behind Stellar.
Ethereum broke the tie with Litecoin for second place this month, down -70% since January 2018. A similar situation at the bottom: NEM (down -96%) is now alone in last place. That initial $100 investment in NEM? Now worth $4.46.
Total Market Cap for the entire cryptocurrency sector:
The overall crypto market added about $63B in April 2020, basically getting back to late February levels. It is now down -57% from January 2018.
Bitcoin dominance basically stayed put this month. For context, the range since the beginning of the experiment in January 2018 has been wide: a high of 70% BitDom in September 2019 and a low of 33% BitDom in February 2018.
Overall return on investment since January 1st, 2018:
The 2018 Top Ten Portfolio gained about $50 bucks in April 2020, back near where it was at the end of February. If I cashed out today, my $1000 initial investment would return about $183, down -82% from January 2018.
Here’s the ROI over the life of the experiment, month by month:
April 2020 is now the ninth consecutive time the portfolio has ended the month down at least -80%.
The 2019 and 2020 Top Ten Experiments are solidly in positive territory:
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 $2,969.
That’s down about -1% for the combined portfolios. Definitely better than last month (aka the zombie apocalypse) where it was down -24%, but not yet back at January (+13%) or February (+6%) levels.
Comparison to S&P 500:
I’m also tracking the S&P 500 as part of my experiment to have a comparison point with other popular investments options. April 2020 saw a large rebound in the stock market. Although not quite back up to end of February levels, the S&P added over +14% back this month. It is now +6% since the start of 2018. The initial $1k investment into crypto would have gained about $60 had it been redirected to the S&P.
This is where it gets interesting. 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: +$60
- $1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2019: +$130
- $1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2020: -$120
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 $3,070.
That $3,070 is up about +2% since January 2018, compared to the $2,969 value (-1%) of the combined Top Ten Crypto Experiment Portfolios.
That’s a only a 3% difference. Last month the gap was 13%.
The 2018 Experiment’s focus of solely holding the Top Ten Cryptos has never been a winning approach when compared to the overall market. The total market cap is down -57% from January 2018 compared to the -82% for the cryptos that began 2018 in the Top Ten. This of course implies that I would have done a bit better if I’d picked different cryptos – but better if I’d put all my eggs in NEM‘s -96% basket, for example. But at no point in this experiment has this investment strategy been successful: the initial 2018 Top Ten have under-performed each of the twenty-eight months compared to the market overall.
In the other two experiments, it’s a slightly different story. There are a few examples of this approach outperforming the overall market in the parallel 2019 Top Ten Crypto Experiment. For the most recent group, this approach has been 100% successful so far: each of the first four months of the 2020 Experiment show that focusing on the Top Ten beats the overall market.
Although we’re not nearly out of the woods yet, countries and relaxing restrictions and markets, including the cryptosphere, are bouncing back. Will COVID-19 drive people to or from crypto? What happens if we get hit by a second wave of COVID-19. And how will the approaching Bitcoin halving effect markets in May?
Final word: second waves of COVID-19 are definitely possible. Please take care of yourselves, your families, and your communities. Keep up the social distancing, wear a mask, and wash your hands. Be careful out there.
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.
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