Tracking 2020 Top Ten Cryptocurrencies – Month Nine

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Month Nine – UP 56%

After a rough start to the month, most of crypto had a Wake Me Up When September Ends moment.  For the 2020 Top Ten Portfolio, it was bad, but could have been (as has been) much worse: it was the best performing of the Top Ten “Index Fund” Experiments in September and at least one of the cryptos (BNB up +25%) had a great month. 


Question of the month:

In September, this decentralized exchange (DEX) overtook Coinbase in trading volume:

A) Uniswap
B) Aave
C) Compound
D) Both A and B

Scroll down for the answer.


Ranking and September Winners and Losers

Lots of movement this month: six out of the Top Ten changed positions in September.  BCH climbed one from #6 to #5 and BNB made a big move from #10 to #6. Going the opposite direction were BSV, EOS, and Tezos, dropping one, two, and four places respectively.

The big story though, at least for anyone who’s been watching crypto for a while, was the ejection of Litecoin from the Top Ten. In just 30 days, LTC fell five places from #7 to #12.  For some context, Litecoin’s absence from the Top Ten is a Top Ten Experiment first.  It is also the first time since CoinMarketCap has tracked crypto rankings that Litecoin has not has not held a spot in the Top Ten.

Drop outs: after nine months of the experiment, 30% of the cryptos that started 2020 in the Top Ten have dropped out.  LTC, EOS, and Tezos have been replaced by ADA, LINK, and most recently, DOT.

September Winners – Winner, singular: BNB was the only crypto to finish in the green, finished up +25% for the month, and gained four places in the rankings.  A very good month for Binance Coin.

September LosersTezos was the worst performing crypto of the 2020 Top Ten portfolio, losing nearly a third of its value, down -31% for the month.  LTC also had a bad month, losing -24% and dropping out of the Top Ten.  

Since COVID-19 has hammered the sporting world, let’s be overly competitive and pit these cryptos against each other, shall we? Here’s a table showing which cryptos have the most monthly wins and losses nine months into the 2020 Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Experiment:

ETH is in the lead three monthly Ws, followed by Tether and Tezos with two wins each.  Even though it is up +79% since January 1st, 2020, BSV has the most monthly losses: it has been the worst performing crypto of the group four out of the first nine months in 2020.

Overall update – ETH maintains strong lead, followed by BNB. 100% of Top Ten are in positive territory.

Ethereum remains firmly in the lead, up +187% on the year. Thanks to a strong month for BNB and a weak month for Tezos, Binance Coin has overtaken XTZ for second place, and is now up +109% in 2020.  

Discounting Tether (no offense Big-T), EOS (+4%) is the worst performing cryptocurrency of the 2020 Top Ten Portfolio. 100% of the cryptos in this group are in positive territory.

Total Market Cap for the cryptocurrency sector:

The overall crypto market lost about $35B in September, ending the month up +85% since the beginning of this year’s experiment in January 2020. Despite a rough month, this is the second highest month-end level since the 2020 Top Ten Experiment started nine months ago.

Bitcoin dominance:

BitDom ticked up slightly this month, but is still lower than it has been for most of the year.  As always, a low BitDom reflects a greater appetite for altcoins. For context, the BitDom range since the beginning of the experiment in January 2020 has been roughly between 57% and 68%.

Overall return on investment since January 1st, 2020:

After an initial $1000 investment on January 1st, the 2020 Top Ten Portfolio is now worth $1,536, up +56%. This is the best performing of the three Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Portfolios, but not by much: the 2019 Top Ten came in at +54% in September.

Here’s the month by month ROI of the 2020 Top Ten Experiment, hopefully helpful to maintain perspective and provide an overview as we go along:

Even during the zombie apocalypse blip in March, the 2020 Top Ten has managed to end every month so far in the green (for a mirror image, check out the all red table you’ll find in the 2018 experiment). The range of monthly ROI for the 2020 Top Ten has been between a low of +7% in March and high of +83% in August.

So, how does the 2020 Top Ten Experiment compare to the parallel projects?

Taken together, here’s the bottom bottom bottom line for the three portfolios: 

After a $3000 investment in the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Top Ten Cryptocurrencies, the combined portfolios are worth $‭3,340‬ ($238+ $1,538 +$1,564).

That’s up about +11% for the three combined portfolios, compared to +31% last month.

Lost in the numbers? Here’s a table to help visualize the progress of the combined portfolios:

That’s a +11% gain by buying $1k of the cryptos that happened to be in the Top Ten on January 1st, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

But what if I’d gone all in on only one Top Ten crypto for the past three years? While many have come and gone over the life of the experiment, five cryptos have started in Top Ten for all three years: BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, and LTC (Big L, no pressure, but if you don’t claw yourself back in the Top Ten by January 2021, you’re out of the club).  Let’s take a look:

At this point in the Experiments, Ethereum (+104%) would have easily returned the most, followed by BTC (+77%). On the other hand, following this approach with XRP, I would have been down nearly a third at -31%.

So that’s the Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Experiments snapshot. Let’s take a look at how traditional markets are doing.

Comparison to S&P 500

I’m also tracking the S&P 500 as part of my experiment to have a comparison point to traditional markets. The S&P slipped a bit from an all time high in August and is now up just +5% in 2020.

Over the same time period, the 2020 Top Ten Crypto Portfolio is returning about +56%. The initial $1k investment in crypto is now worth about $1,563. That same $1k I put into crypto in January 2020 would be worth $1050 had it been redirected to the S&P 500 instead. That’s a $513 difference on a $1k investment, one of the largest gaps in favor of crypto all year.

But that’s just 2020. What about in the longer term? What if I invested in the S&P 500 the same way I did during the first three years of the Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Experiments? What I like to call the world’s slowest dollar cost averaging method?  Here are the figures:

  • $1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2018 = $1260 today
  • $1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2019 = $1350 today
  • $1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2020 = $1050 today

So, 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 $3,660.

That $3,660 is up +22% since January 2018, compared to a +11% gain of the combined Top Ten Crypto Experiment Portfolios over the same period of time.

That’s an 11% swing in favor of the S&P 500 and breaks a two month mini-streak of wins from the Top Ten crypto portfolios. 

For those keeping track or unable to see the table above: that’s seven monthly victories for the S&P vs. two monthly victories for crypto.  The largest gap so far was a 22% difference in favor of the S&P back in June

Conclusion:

September saw losses for both traditional and crypto markets, but crypto got hit harder.  What can we expect for the rest of 2020?  The Neverending Year is entering the final quarter and is not finished with us yet: a lot can and will happen in the remaining months. More volatility is no doubt to come as we enter the final stretch of a truly unpredictable and exhausting year.  Buckle up.

Stay healthy and take care of yourselves 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 the original 2018 Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Experiment and the 2019 Top Ten Experiment follow up experiment.


And the Answer is…

A) Uniswap

As part of the DeFi/DEX wave, in late August/early September, Uniswap surpassed Coinbase in trading volume.


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