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Tracking 2018 Top Ten Cryptocurrencies – Month Forty-Five

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Month Forty-Five – UP 46%

The 2018 Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Portfolio is BTC, XRP, ETH, BCH, ADA, LTC, IOTA, NEM, Dash, and Stellar.  

September highlights for the 2018 Top Ten Portfolio:

  • Almost the mirror image of August: after last month’s completely green performance,  IOTA is the only crypto to finish the month in positive territory, saving the Portfolio from a dreaded all-red September.
  • ETH maintains a solid overall lead, BTC in second place.
  • After finally overtaking traditional markets in ROI last month, the 2018 Top Ten portfolio was flipped by the S&P.

September Movement Report, Ranking, and Dropouts

Each of the 2018 Top Ten cryptos either held their position or fell in rank:


  • None


  • Bitcoin Cash – down 4 places (#14–>#18)
  • NEM – down 4 places (#71–>#75)
  • Dash – down 4 places (#55–>#59)
  • IOTA – down 1 place (#43–>44)
  • Stellar – down 1 place (#22–>#23)

And here’s a look at the movement in ranks since January 2018:

Top Ten dropouts since January 2018: After forty-five months of the 2018 Top Ten Experiment, only 40% of the cryptos that started in the Top Ten have remained.  NEM, Dash, Stellar, Bitcoin Cash, IOTA, and Litecoin have been replaced by Binance Coin, Tether, DOT, SOL, Doge, and USDC.   

September Winners and Losers

September Winners –  Just one winner: IOTA saved the portfolio from an all red month finishing September up +6%.

September Losers Dash and Cardano had a rough month, finishing September down -27% and -26% respectively.

Tally of Monthly Winners and Losers

After forty-five months, here’s a tally of the monthly winners and losers over the life of the 2018 Top Ten Experiment. 

With 11, Bitcoin has two more monthly wins than second place CardanoNEM has finished last place most often (12 months out of 45).

Bitcoin is still the only cryptocurrency that hasn’t yet lost a month since January 2018 (although it has come very close a couple of times).

Overall Update –  Portfolio down from August’s ATH, ETH still leads the field, NEM and Dash worst performers.

After achieving an all time high (+71%) in August, the 2018 Top Ten Crypto Portfolio fell back down to earth a bit this month. Only 3 out of the 10 cryptos are in positive territory (BTC, ETH, and ADA).

Overall, ETH (+355%) is ahead of BTC (+265%) and third place ADA (+234%).

The initial $100 invested in first place ETH forty-five months ago?  It’s worth $456 today.

As has been the case for much of the 2018 Experiment, NEM is at the bottom, down -83% since January 2018  The initial $100 invested forty-five months ago is worth about $17 today.  

Total Market Cap for the entire cryptocurrency sector:

The total crypto market lost about $108B in September, settling at just over $2.1T.  Crypto as a sector is up +336% since January 2018.  

If you were able to capture the entire crypto market since New Year’s Day 2018, you’d be doing better than the Experiment’s Top Ten approach (+46%), the return of the S&P (+63%) over the same period of time, and each of the individual cryptos within the 2018 Top Ten except for Ethereum.

Crypto Market Cap Low Point in the 2018 Top Ten Crypto Index Experiment: $114B in January 2019.

Crypto Market Cap High Point in the 2018 Top Ten Crypto Index Experiment: $2.22T last month.

Bitcoin dominance:

BitDom bounced slightly in September, up to 43.2% compared to 42% in August.  When looking at the entire 2018 Experiment time frame, BTC dominance is still near the low end.  For context:   

Low Point in the 2018 Top Ten Crypto Index Experiment: 33% in January 2018.

High Point in the 2018 Top Ten Crypto Index Experiment: 70.5% in August 2019.

Overall return on $1,000 investment since January 1st, 2018: 

The 2018 Top Ten Portfolio lost $248 in September.

If I decided to cash out the 2018 Top Ten Experiment today, the $1000 initial investment would be worth $1,460, up 46% from January 2018.  

Green is unfamiliar territory for the 2018 Top Ten Portfolio and a recent development.  Over the first 45 months of the 2018 Index Fund Experiment, thirty-eight months have been in the red, with only seven months of green.  And all seven of the green months have come in 2021. 

Here’s a look at the ROI over the life of the experiment, month by month, since the beginning of the 2018 Experiment forty-five months ago:

The all time high for this portfolio was last month (+71%).  The lowest point was in January 2019 when the 2018 Top Ten Portfolio was down -88%.   

Remember: no one knows where the price will be in a year.  The 2018 Top Ten Cryptos was down -88% after one year, -80% after two years, -25% after three years. Be careful out there.

Combining the 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 Top Ten Crypto Portfolios

Alright, that’s that for the 2018 Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Experiment recap.

But I didn’t stop the Experiment in 2018:  I invested another $1000 in the 2019, 2020, and 2021 Top Ten Cryptos as well.  How are the other Crypto Index Fund Experiments doing?    

So overall? Taking the four portfolios together, here’s the bottom bottom bottom bottom line: 

After a $4,000 investment in the 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 Top Ten Cryptocurrencies, the combined portfolios are worth $20,197 ($1,460 + $6,098 + $8,309 + $4,330).

That’s up +405% on the combined portfolios.  Here’s the combined monthly ROI since I started tracking it in January 2020:

That’s a +405% gain by investing $1k on whichever cryptos happened to be in the Top Ten on January 1st (including stablecoins) for four straight years

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.  For the first time in nearly a year, the S&P 500 did not reach a month end all time high:

The S&P 500 is up +63% since January 2018, so the initial $1k investment into crypto on January 1st, 2018 would be worth $1630 had it been redirected to the S&P.  

When I combine the four Top Ten Crypto portfolios (taking 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) the yields are the following:

  • $1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2018 = $1,630 today
  • $1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2019 = $1,740 today
  • $1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2020 = $1,350 today
  • $1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2021 = $1,160 today

Taken together, here’s the bottom bottom bottom bottom line for a similar approach with the S&P: 

After four $1,000 investments into an S&P 500 index fund in January 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021, my portfolio would be worth $5,880 ($1,630 + $1,740 + $1,350 + $1,160)

That is up +47% since January 2018 compared to a +405% gain of the combined Top Ten Crypto Experiment Portfolios, a difference of almost 360 percentage points in favor of crypto.

Here’s a table summarizing the four year ROI comparison between a Top Ten Crypto approach and the S&P as per the rules of the Top Ten Experiments.  


After last month’s massive milestone – for the first time in forty-four months the 2018 Top Ten Cryptos outperformed the S&P – the portfolio is now back in familiar territory: outpaced by traditional markets over the same time period.  Hopefully this is only a temporary setback.

Many thanks to the long-time Experiment followers, appreciate you taking the time to follow along over the years.  For those just getting into crypto, welcome! I hope these reports can somehow give you a taste of what you may be in for as you begin your crypto adventures.  Buckle up, think long term, don’t invest what you can’t afford to lose, and try to enjoy the ride!

Feel free to reach out with any questions and stay tuned for monthly progress reports. Keep an eye out for my parallel projects where I repeat the experiment, purchasing another $1000 ($100 each) of new sets of Top Ten cryptos as of January 1st, 2019, January 1st, 2020, and most recently, January 1st, 2021.

This article contains affiliate links. If you click on a link in this article, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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