In September, this decentralized exchange (DEX) overtook Coinbase in trading volume:
A) UniswapB) AaveC) CompoundD) Both A and B Scroll down for the answer.
Ranking and September Winners and Losers
2020 Top 10 Rank 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 LTC, EOS, and Tezos have been replaced by ADA,LINK, and most recently, DOT.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 Losers – Tezos 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: Wins/Losses 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.
Monthly BitDom - 2020 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: Monthly ROI - 2020 Top Ten 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. Here’s a table to help visualize the progress of the combined portfolios: Combined ROI - UP +11% 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: Three Year Club 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.
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.
EDIT : Thanks to everybody for pointing out the few mistakes/improvements that can be made in this new-player level guide. For the sake of summarizing here : - Intel documents are NOT worth 250k. I didn't check them on the flea before writing this and for some reason I always remembered them at 250k. Game is in maintenance so I can't check the real price. That being said, it's still profitable to craft USB into Intel, it's just not x2 profitable. - Scav case : moonshine / intel docs, some people seem to say they've never been profitable. I personally *did not* measure those, I eyeballed it. I'm working on so much shit that I didn't bother. On average I think that I'm in a net positive, but it's as believable as people saying they're not : without proof we can't really say for sure. That bein said, it's certainly more profitable to run lower-tier scav runs that are *faster* when you're online, and to run a moonshine or intel when you log off. It's more efficient to get a lot of runs while you can re-start them every time. - Crafting moonshine : It's not profitable to spam it ; I was under the assumption that the average player who will read this will usually not play for 4-5 hours straight and will end up collecting yesterday's moonshine, craft a new one, and that's it. If that's you're rythm then yes, spam it. If you intend to play more than one craft worth's of time, then you will craft moonshine faster than you can spend it, and it's not really worth to sell it on the flea except to up your market reputation for a small loss (about 10k). So in short : craft moonshine to be able to start a moonshine run for when you log off, but you don't *need* more than that.
Check this out
Here is some actual data on the lavatory !! Hey everybody ! I know it can be a struggle to get a stable economy in this game, especially when you die a lot. Today I'm gonna try and give a few guidelines on how to make money safely, efficiently, fast, or in any other way we can think of. If you're struggling to stay above the 15-20 million rouble treshold, this guide is definitely for you. Very often I'll hear newer players say "Damn I can't seem to make money, I keep loosing. Every time I take gear I die instantly". There is some truth in that. Today I'll help you improve your survival rate, but most importantly I'll unbalance the other side of the equation. When you complain about losing a lot of money, I will help you spend less by a significant margin, as well as earn more. You'll also get rid of gear fera naturally. Remember this throughout this very, very long read : It all depends on how you want to play, and how much. Some of these tips will not fit how you want to play the game, and like Nikita always says : this game is supposed to be fun before anything else.
Safety Score : 100% Reward : Moderate but very stable. Maxing your hideout should be one of your top priorities, probably before telling your mom how much you love her every now and then. If you're not doing either of those, the big gamer in you knows what to do. Early wipe, save your fuel for when you're online and playing. If you're playing, your generator should definitely be running and all your stations should be crafting something. Once you have Medstation 1, Workbench 1 and Lavatory 2, you really have no reason to turn your generator off when you're playing. Once you have the bitcoin farm, you should never turn off the generator. Medstation : Craft salewas and/or IFAKs permanently. They cost 8k and sell for 15k. That's a net profit of about 25k / hour for salewas, as well as never having to buy any. Lavatory : Always be crafting Bleach. If you have 2 empty blue fuel, use those empty cans to craft a Magazine case. You can then keep the magazine cases until you've enough for your liking and sell those for a good profit. The bleach you will use to buy the 6B47 helmets which are better than the SSh-68 helmets. Buying from 2x bleach barter at ragman level 1 means you get the helmet for 18k (instead of 33k on the market). This helmet has better head coverage, less slow/negative effects, less weight, has a slot for a mount, has +11 ergonomics AND is cheaper than the 22k SSh-68. That being said, it has a slight noise reduction that the Ssh does not have. If you wear headphones I'd say this is negligible but debatable. I prefer to have the extra protection and ergonomics for sure, considering it's slightly cheaper. You can also barter for that helmet and instantly sell it back for a profit (five times) and level up ragman money requirements. Bleach can also be traded for the Blackjack backpack at level 4, as well as the TTV rig at level 2. You should definitely do it. Sell excess bleach on the flea market when the prices are around 10.5k or more. (around midnight Central European Time). Workbench : You can buy Power Cords and craft Wires forever and always make a profit. Buy in the morning and sell in the evening for better profits (CET timezone). For even more profit, you can craft gunpowders and ammo which tend to also be ridiculously pricy at night. Buying grenades from Peacekeeper and crafting green (Eagle) gunpowder is a good way to make a lot of money and level up Peacekeeper. Intel Center : You main objective is to get this one to level 3 for reduced fees and better quest rewards, but also access to the bitcoin farm at level 2. If you need FiR for quests, craft that. When you're done craft Intel Documents at all times (buy the USB), and use it for scav case or sell for a x2 profit. ( 3x40 for USB = 120, documents sell for 250) Bitcoin Farm : Once you have it, spend all your money on GPU until its maxxed, then level it up even more. The BTC farm is definitely worth it. At 50GPU you need to connect every 15 hours to clic. If you can't, keep it level 2 and connect every 24 hours to clic. Even at level 1 its worth. But its much, much faster at higher levels. From 0 to 50 GPUs it takes about 30 days to pay for itself. GPUs should not be sold until you maxxed it. Water Collector : Must be running at all times. Buy the components if you don't have them. Booze Generator : Must be running at all times. Buy the components if you don't have them. Scav Case : Always have it running on moonshine, and use intel documents once you're done crafting one. Nutrition Unit : It's not really worth crafting sugar to put in the Booze gen, as the price for chocolate is pretty much = the price of sugar. So buy the sugar instead and craft something else. I tend to craft Hot Rods when the prices are good (morning) and then use them to barter 5.45 BS Ammo with Prapor or sell for a profit. If you do all that, you should have about 150k an hour fairly easily. Don't forget to check it between every raid.
Safety Score : 100% Reward : Quite good. Once your mom has received all the love she deserves and your hideout is taken care of, you should have max traders (traders are a requirement for most of the hideout anyway). Traders level 4 will net you much better prices on most mods and open very good barter trades. Buy as much as you can from barter trades. You can buy almost everything from it, and it's usually at least 25% cheaper to buy the requirements and then do the barter. Ragman4 has the CPC Armored Rig which is level 5 armor, you'll get it for about 200k instead of 250k on the flea. The Slick is also much cheaper. The Blackjack backpack is literally half priced. You can also NOT use what you barter and just sell it back to a dealer (sometimes the same from which you bartered) for a profit as well as having 2 times the loyalty money increase (from bartering then from selling). Another good example is buying a Recbat 14k from the market, getting an ADAR for skier, selling it to Mechanic and winning 8k just like that. You can find every single barter that nets a profit yourself and just buy-resell and you'll probably make another 100k every reset, if you really are struggling and have the patience. I personally advise to just use the equipment for yourself unless you're levelling traders, but I wouldn't go as far as buying all profitable items every reset. Every trader at every level has good barters. You can make a full decent kit at level 1 traders for about 40k roubles on barter, instead of 90 if you buy it all. (Paca for masks, helmet for bleach, ADAR for recbatt, salewa from craft, backpack, etc. all barters) Bleach is beautiful and is coveted in the real world for its ability to cure diseases.
Safety Score : 100% Reward : Very profitable. Don't mod out of your reach. Don't mod Meta. If money is an issue for you, having +1 ergo won't change your life. For example, Priced at 10k roubles Priced at 45k Roubles See where I'm going with this? If you have money, sure, go for the Shift. If you wanna have fun and try, sure, go for it as well. But if you're struggling, buy 4 cobras and mod 4 guns for the price of 1% recoil which will not make you a gamer god anyway. Also, do NOT buy mods from the flea market when you see you can buy them from traders. Look at the top of the market, if the mod is greyed out, look at the price. It means you don't have access (yet). If the price is too inflated for you, find another mod. There are always other mods. You can make 2 AKMs that have a difference of 2% recoil and 4 Ergonomics and have a 150k price difference. It's up to you. When money is the issue, this was the answer. Note : Some guns are inherently much more expensive. Guns shooting 5.56 or 5.45 tend to be more expensive than 7.62. AKMs are VERY good budget guns. They're a bit harder to handle, but you can get a fully modded AK for 150-200k, where as you will have an entry level M4 for that price. 7.62 PS ammo is also incredibly cheap while being decent. Play 7.62 if you're struggling with money. It's not meta, but it's far more than enough, trust me. You'll rarely lose fights exclusively because you had PS ammo in an AKM. Rarely.
How much you usually extract with, on average, per map
How much you usually go in raid with, on average, per map
These will help us measure how much you fuck up or not. Lets make it simple. If you have a 500k loadout and you usually extract with 100k, at 10% survival rate, that means you will spend 500k x 10 = 5.000.000 roubles over 10 raids on average, die 9 times, and earn 100k once. This very obvious example shows the loss. Basically we're gonna try and balance that equation so that you never lose money on average. You'll have ups and downs obviously, but over a week or two, it'll smooth things out for you, like math always does in a pleasant conversation with a girl. So what can you do to improve that equation ?
4.1 Improve survival rate
Seems simple enough, DIE LESS. You do not need to be good, smart, or special to die less. If you die a lot, do something different. If you die less, try more of that. Explore statistical advantages through different gameplay. What can you do to die less practically? Here is a list of checkboxes you can tick depending on your money, skill, mood, or any other factor like the map and sheer luck:
Fight from a bigger distance. People miss more from far (so will you, but killing less is irrelevant when you want to die less)
Fight with better gear (supressed, better armor, better ammo, etc.). Its expensive, but it technically helps
Don't fight at all. Avoid fights, run away from gunshots. 99.3% of people who didn't get shot survive a raid.
Wait more, play slowly. If you go with the flow of players, you'll be with the players. Avoid that "wave" and stay behind it. When you come across players trying to extract to where you spawned, hide.
Play with friends if you have any. If not, your mom loves you and so do I. I do coaching so do a lot of other decent players, look it up.
Whenever you die, look at what killed you. Did you take a risk ? Did you lack skill ? Were you out of position ? Were you unlucky ? Try to be as OBJECTIVE as possible even in the frustration. It's pretty much always your fault if you died, avoid toxicity and learn something from that instead. If you took a fight with good gear and ammo and just lost, its probably skill/positioning. It's fine. Learn the game, fight differently, and with time it'll get better. If you were in the open, don't go in the open. If you were sprinting in the middle of interchange and got ambushed, well. Don't do that. Learn.
Do all that, it'll give you a LOT of data to actually improve by just doing something different without really being fastestronger, just smarter. And I repeat : you can do some of it, all of it, it depends on what you like, what you're comfortable with, and the time/investment you're putting in the game. It's okay to play at your own pace.
4.2 Reduce gear cost
The second part of our "profit equation" above is how much gear you take with you. Using previous tips, reduce that cost. Barters, cheaper mods, etc.
4.3 Increase extracted value
This one is not as tricky as it sounds. Basically there are two ways to extract with more money in the backpack :
Know what/where to loot
Have a bigger backpack.
The goal is to pay for the gear you will loose when you die while making a profit on top. That one time you extract if you have a MBSS backpack, you'll need items worth like 50k per slot to break even. If you take a tri-zip, suddenly it's only 30k per slot. If you take a blackjack and blackrock from good old ragman, suddenly it's 10k per slot. So you can break even by looting crickents and DVD players almost. See where I'm going ? Always take a tri-zip or bigger unless you're doing something special. That way you can afford to loot shitty areas, take less risk, and survive more while having a little less value. We'll cover that in a minute, but there are ways to loot high value items, moderate value and low value. Those have also different risk/reward. All of those are also map specific. In woods I'll often go with a 6B3TM armored rig for 40k, no helmet, 20k headphones and a sniper rifle. Rest is pouched so does not count. That's less than 100k investment. All players tend to have low value gear so I never extract with a lot either so it balances out. But on Woods, my survival rate is 20% instead of my overall 40%. So I know it's not a map I can reliably make money on, because I measured that accurately over time. This example is very common and should make sense to you. Same goes for interchange where I have more about 50% survival but will tend to go in with 600k worth of gear, but will also often extract with over 500k quite regularly. Different ratios, different values, different purposes. You can measure your own data if you're willing to do so, or you can eyeball it. Eyeballing it is much faster but very inaccurate because you will tend to include emotions in the mix when you die. You'll remember losses ~2x more than your wins (that's somewhat scientifically proven), and if you're eyeballing your loadout you might think you have 600k but really you might have only 450k. I would advise to go hardcore and measure it all for price, initial loadout, losses and earnings, for each map.
5. Money runs
Now money runs are vast and numerous. All include different levels of risk and reward. It's up to you once again to find what you're willing to do for the time it takes, the fun it will give you and how much it will actually help you. You can always try them all for ~50 raids the sake of trying something different and see how your data is impacted. it doesn't have to be 50 in a row if you don't want to. As long as you keep track of it it can be over a whole wipe. You'd have your data ready for the next wipe :) Faster is better though.
5.1 Hatchling runs
Safety Score : 100% Reward : Very Variable. Mentally exhausting. Those are incredibly money efficient. You're investing a gear of 0 value, so whatever you extract with is 100% win, so you cannot possibly lose money that way. Is it fun? Is it rewarding? I don't care, to each is own. Statistcally speaking, hatchling runs are an efficient way to make money. They do however require a little bit of knowledge, but not skill. You'll be much more efficient at doing these kind of runs if you know where to go, what to look for, and how to get there depending on your spawn. That being said, such knoweldge is easily found ; it's nothing complex, it just takes time to learn. Once again, depends on how much you're willing to invest (if not roubles, time).
5.2 Scav runs
Safety Score : 100% Reward : Low-ish Scav runs are also incredibly efficient for the same reason as hatchlings. Except those have a cooldown. Statisticall speaking I have noticed you should always run your scavs as fast as possible on the map where you extract both the fastest and most frequently. The explanation is simple, lets make it simpler : The scav is a button that makes you earn free money. When you press it the button becomes unpressable for some time, when you release the button you earn money (sometimes). That means you want to release the button as often as possible. And for that, you need to release it as fast as possible. It's that simple. So make scavs incredibly fast. I'm talking "Run through" fast. Unless you're looking for FiR items or doing something specific like annoying a streamer, you should literally run straight to the extract every single time, and loot what you have that doesn't make you go out of your way too much. Usually I suggest factory, go in, kill a random scav, loot it, get out. Two weapons is at LEAST 50k, 100 if they have a scope. There you go. That's 100k every 20 minutes (or less with intel center). That's MUCH BETTER than going up to 150-200k but taking 30 minutes to extract, and taking more risk by spending more time in the map. Every second you're in someone can shoot. Nobody can shoot you in the hideout. The exception to that rule is Scavs with a pilgrim which you can take on your favourite loot-run map, probably interchange or reserve. There you should just fill everything you can and extract once you're full, no matter what you have. 30 crickents and an extra gun is fine.
5.3 Stash runs
Safety Score : Very Reward : Okay Those are very very safe and can be done with a pistol and a backpack only. Very cheap, quite unchalleneged, for a moderate reward. Just go on a map that you like and run around and loot all stashes until you're full, then get out. You can vary the map/route depending on the traffic of players. Interchange and shoreline are good contenders for that. It'll net you easy money. Not great money, but definitely safe.
5.4 Loot Runs
Safety Score : Moderate Reward : Quite alright Once you have better knowledge/skill you can start having a specific route in a specific map, depending on a specific spawn. So it'll take time to learn. Usually very similar than a hatchling run except this time you bring moderate gear and go for moderate loots. For example, instead of going for fast techlight, in-and-out interchange, you can decide "alright I'll loot 100% of Oli and the computers in the back", it'll take time, but it'll make good loot. More money than stashes, definitely will see scavs to kill, and most probably some more pvp. More risk. If you win that PvP you have even more loot as well. But overall good reward. Loot runs need to be "scheduled" and thought of after several tries, so you know how much you can take per person depending on backpack size. For example you can't say "lets loot oli" if you have a 5-man with blackjacks, you'll all be empty. Adapt.
Safety Score : Insane Reward : Unreliably moderate This one is pretty obvious. Very risky, unpredictable rewards. Usually better than loot runs when you survive. I won't elaborate on this, because if you're reading this far you're probably struggling in PvP. And the rest of this guide already covers a fair bit.
Safety Score : "Meh" Reward : Very profitable. Now this is very, very important. Always insure your gear. Always. If you die you will get stuff back, pretty much for free. If you're really struggling people won't loot your "trash", so you WILL get it back. If you play in a group it's very likely that people will hide your stuff too. And most importantly : you can insurance fraud. This is the best way to balance the equation we talked about earlier. If you find a decent-ish gun, replace yours. You drop your initial investment by a significant margin, you will definitely get it back, and if you extract it's a flat profit. Weapons don't take inventory slot, so if you have two weapons that are not yours initially they will usually pay for your whole gear. I have quite often left my super-mega-modded HK just for an average M4 or other weapon that I can fight with, just so I can reduce my investment by 350k and up my reward by like 200k instantly. Replace your headphones all the time too, that's an easy -30+30k, same with helmets. even if it's a bit broken or slightly worse. If you're struggling with money, try to leave every raid with at least 3-4 pars of your equipment that aren't yours initially. But value the risk behind this. I won't leave my slick for a Paca at the third minute of a raid just to have that extra 28k. I won't leave my meta-modded HK for a naked mosin. But if it seems decent/doable, do it. It will pay off. Because even if you die, you still get your shit back, and gun is usually the most expensive part of the gear.
7. Final notes
It's all about balance. Find what works *for you* and try shit out. Really, try. You'll die, you'll learn, you'll adapt with data to back that up. I find it crazy that people will die and not try to learn from it. That's how you will improve as a player. First you gotta get smarter, then you'll get better. And with time, skill, mechanics, gamesense, all that will improve on the side. Earning more will snowball in your favour. And if you know you're statistically okay, you will have a much smaller gear fear and enjoy the game more. Sorry for the wall of text, you guys should be used to it with me by now :D I made these guides in video but not in english, so here I am typing it all for you guys. Enjoy :)
First one to find the three hidden cultural references gets some moons.
What's this all about? I purchased $100 of each of Top Ten Cryptos in Jan. 2018, haven't sold or traded. Did the same in 2019 and 2020. Learn more about the history and rules of the Experimentshere.
September - BTC, although -8%, outperforms the field this month.
Overall since Jan. 2018 - Bitcoin miles ahead of the pack, and only one close-ish to break even point.
Combining all three three years, Top Ten cryptos underperforming S&P if I'd taken a similar approach.
Month Thirty Three – Down 76%
2018 Top Ten Summary for September After a rough start to September, crypto spent the month trying in vain to claw back ground. While a few coins rebounded quite a bit from the monthly lows, most ended up finishing the month significantly down. Out of the 2018 Top Ten group, Bitcoin lost the least, down -8% in September. NEM followed it’s winning August (yes, you read that right) with the poorest performance, down -26%.
Question of the month:
Which cryptocurrency exchange won approval to create America’s first crypto bank in September?
A) Binance B) Binance.us C) Kraken D) Coinbase Scroll down for the answer.
Ranking and September Winners and Losers
Rank of 2018 Portfolio - 50% no longer in Top Ten A lot of shuffling in September. On the upside, Bitcoin Cash and Cardano gained one place each landing at #5 and #10 respectively. Cardano gets special mention for re-entering the Top Ten. Heading the wrong direction were IOTA, NEM, Dash, and Stellar each falling two or three spots. The big story though, for long time crypto watchers, was the ejection of Litecoin from the Top Ten, down five places from #7 to #12 in just one month. 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 been in the Top Ten. Drop outs: After thirty-three months of this experiment 50% of the cryptos that started 2018 in the Top Ten have dropped out. NEM, Litecoin, Dash, IOTA, and Stellar have been replaced by Binance Coin, Tether,BSV, LINK, and most recently, DOT. September Winners – Although it lost -8% of its value, this month’s W goes to Bitcoin. ADA gets second place, down -15% and climbing back into the Top Ten. September Losers – As most probably expected after an extremely out of character victory last month, NEM came back down to earth in September, bigly, down -26%. Litecoin finished right behind, down -24% and dropping out of the Top Ten. For the overly competitive, below is a tally of the winners of the first 33 months of the 2018 Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Experiment. Bitcoin still has the most monthly wins (8) and Cardano in second place with 6 monthly wins. With its poor September performance, NEM now has 7 monthly losses. Ws and Ls - One clear winner 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.
Overall update – BTC solidly in the lead, followed by ETH. Dash in the basement, LTC drops out of the Top Ten.
Even though BTC took a bit of a detour on its way back to break-even point, it is still far ahead of the field, down -17% since January 2018. The initial investment of $100 thirty-three months ago is now worth about $83. Second place Ethereum is down -49% over the same time period. At this point in the 2018 Top Ten Experiment, Dash is at the bottom. It is currently worth $70.49, down from a January 1st, 2018 starting price of over $1,000. That’s a loss of -93%. The initial $100 invested in Dash 33 months ago is now worth $6.77. The big story this month is LTC’s departure from the Top Ten, the first time since I started the experiment back in January 2018. Whether or not it will eventually fend off the new generation of coins remains to be seen, but it certainly is noteworthy to have one of the most well known and long standing cryptos drop out of the Top Ten. Consider pouring one out for Litecoin.
Total Market Cap for the entire cryptocurrency sector:
The crypto market lost over $35B in September and is down -39% since January 2018. The value of the overall crypto market is near where it was in August of this year, just a few months back. As painful as the beginning of the month was, looking at a table like this helps with perspective, especially if you’re panic prone.
After steadily dipping for months, BitDom increased a bit in September, up to 57.5%. For some 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:
The 2018 Top Ten Portfolio lost -$50 this month. If I cashed out today, the $1000 initial investment would return about $238, down -76% from January 2018. September broke an encouraging upward trend, but at least the portfolio is taking a break from the -80% range. Here’s a look at the ROI over the life of the experiment, month by month, for some context: 33 Monthly ROIs on Top Ten since Jan 2018 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:
So overall? 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 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. Here’s a table to help visualize: Combined ROI on $3k over 3 years - UP +11% That’s a +11% 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: ETH for the win Only five cryptos have started in the Top Ten for all three years: BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, and LTC (unless Litecoin can make a comeback by the 1st of Jan. 2021, it’s not going to make the four year club!). Knowing what we know now, which one would have been best to go all in on? Ethereum, by a pretty good margin: the initial $3k would be up +104%, worth $6,118 today. The worst choice of a basket to put all your eggs in at this point in the experiment is XRP, down by almost one third.
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 fell from an all time high in August, but is currently up +26% since January 2018. S&P since Jan. 2018 The initial $1k investment into crypto on January 1st, 2018 would have been worth about $1260 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:
$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
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 is up +22%since January 2018, compared to a +11% gain of the combined Top Ten Crypto Experiment Portfolios. 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. S&P vs. Top Ten Crypto Experiments 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 in June.
September was a tough month for both traditional and crypto markets. What’s next for the rest of 2020? More volatility is no doubt to come as we enter the last quarter of a truly unpredictable and exhausting year. Buckle up. 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…
C) Kraken According to an official announcement in September, Kraken is “the first digital asset company in U.S. history to receive a bank charter recognized under federal and state law.”
I like moons, I like music. I also like burying musical references in crypto reports. First one to name the two musical references gets some moons.
Remember the panic in early Sept? Despite a tough month, the 2019 Top Ten are +54% and still well ahead of the stock market.
What's this all about? I purchased $100 of each of Top Ten Cryptos in Jan. 2019, haven't sold or traded. Did the same in 2018 and 2020. Learn more about the history and rules of the Experimentshere.
September - all cryptos in the red, so I guess Tether wins the month.
Overall since Jan. 2019 - ETH loses lead to BTC which is +189%. Only 2 out of the Top Ten in negative territory.
Combining all three three years, Top Ten cryptos underperforming S&P if I'd taken a similar approach.
Month Twenty One – UP 54%
2019 Top Ten Summary for September Although crypto recovered a bit from an early September dive, the 2019 Top Ten Portfolio ended the month completely in the red, similar to what we saw in June. Litecoin dropped out of the Top Ten this month, the first time since these Experiments began.
Question of the month:
In September, Tether moved 1 billion USDT coins from TRON to this blockchain:
A) Ethereum B) Neo C) Polkadot D) EOS Scroll down for the answer.
Ranking and September Winners and Losers
2019 Top Ten Ranking Here come the new coins: with the exception of BCH (up one place from #6 to #5) every crypto either remained in place or dropped. BSV, down one place, EOS and Tron down two, and Stellar fell three. Litecoin dropped a massive five places to land itself outside of the Top Ten, the first time since I began the Experiments back in January 2018. Due to Litecoin’s expulsion from the Top Ten, 40% of the crypotos have dropped out of the Top Ten since January 1st, 2019: Tron, Stellar, Litecoin and EOS have been replaced by BNB, DOT, ADA, and LINK. September Winners – With all cryptos in the red, stablecoin Tether outperformed the rest. BTC finished second, down -8% in September, followed by BSV, down -10%. September Losers – LTC had a truly horrible month, losing nearly a quarter of its value (-24%), falling five places in the ranking, and falling out of the Top Ten. Close behind was Stellar and ETH, down -23% and -22%. For overly competitive nerds, here is a tally of which coins have the most monthly wins and losses during the first 21 months of the 2019 Top Ten Experiment: 2019 Ws and Ls Depressingly, Tether is still far ahead with seven monthly victories, more than twice as much as second place BSV and ETH. And although BSV is up 87% since January 2019, it dominates the monthly loss count: it has now finished last in eight out of twenty-one months. Swing trade anyone? And XRP is still the only crypto that has yet to notch a win.
Overall update – BTC takes lead from ETH. Stellar now worst performing since Jan. 1st, 2019
After briefly pulling ahead of BTClast month, ETH gave up its overall lead in September. The top two are up +189% and +169% respectively followed distantly by BSV, up +87% since January 2019. The initial $100 investment in BTC is currently worth $295. Twenty-one months into the 2019 Top Ten Index Fund Experiment, 80% of the 2019 Top Ten cryptos are either flat or in the green. The other two cryptos are well in negative territory: last place Stellar (-33%) and second to last place XRP (-32%) have each lost about one third of their value since January 2019). At +54%, the 2019 Top Ten Portfolio is just behind the 2020 Top Ten Portfolio’s +56% gain and both are far, far ahead of the 2018 group (much more on that below).
Total Market Cap for the entire cryptocurrency sector:
Monthly total market cap, since Jan 2019 Since January 2019, the total market cap for crypto is up +176%. The overall market fell around $35B in September, ending the month around $351B. Despite the tough month, this is the second highest month-end level since the 2019 Top Ten Experiment started 21 months ago.
BitDom ticked up slightly this month, but is trending lower than the last year or so, where it had remained in the mid-60s%. As always, a low BitDom signals a greater appetite for altcoins. Zooming out, the BitDom range since the beginning of the experiment in January 2019 has been between 50%-70%.
Overall return on investment since January 1st, 2019:
The 2019 Top Ten Portfolio lost nearly $300 in September. After the initial $1000 investment, the 2019 Top Ten Crypto Portfolio is worth $1,538. That’s up about +54%. Here’s a look at the ROI over the life of the first 21 months of the 2019 Top Ten Index Fund experiment, month by month: Monthly ROI on Top Ten since Jan 2019 Unlike the completely red table you’ll see in the 2018 Top Ten Experiment, the 2019 crypto table is almost all green. The first month was the lowest point (-9%), and the highest point (+114%) was May 2019. At +54%, the 2019 Top Ten Portfolio is now the second best performing out of the three but just barely (the 2020 Top Ten is up +56%). Speaking of the other Experiments, let’s take a look at how the 2019 Top Ten Index Fund Portfolio compare to the parallel projects:
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 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: Combined ROI on $3k over 3 years - UP +11% To sum up: 11% gain by dropping $1k once a year on whichever cryptos 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, only five cryptos have started in Top Ten for all three years: BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, and LTC (Litecoin, no pressure, but if you’re not back in the Top Ten in the next few months, you’re out of the club). Let’s take a look at those five: ETH leading the three year club Ethereum (+104%) would have returned the most at this point, followed by BTC (+77%). On the other hand, following this approach with XRP, I would have been down -31%. Alright, that’s crypto. How does crypto compare to the stock market?
Comparison to S&P 500:
I’m also tracking the S&P 500 as part of the experiments to have a comparison point with traditional markets. Although the S&P fell from an all time high the month before, it is up +35% since January 2019. The initial $1k investment I put into crypto 21 months ago would be worth $1,350 had it been redirected to the S&P 500 in January 2019. +35%, not bad at all. But the 2019 Top Ten Portfolio is up +54% over the same time period. That’s 2019. But what if I took the same world’s-slowest-dollar-cost-averaging $1,000-per-year-on-January-1st crypto approach with the S&P 500? It would yield the following:
$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
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 is up +22%since January 2018, compared to a +11% gain of the combined Top Ten Crypto Experiment Portfolios. As you can see in the table below, that’s a 11% swing in favor of the S&P 500. September breaks a two month mini-streak of wins from the Top Ten crypto portfolios. S&P takes the lead in Sept.
After a strong August, both the stock and crypto markets fell in September. In a year that feels neverending, a lot can and will happen in the remaining months of 2020. Be safe and take care of each other 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 2020 Top Ten Experiment.
From rags to riches and back to rags. I became aware of Bitcoin in 2012, but didn't invest until 2014 @ $440. A few years prior, it had hit $1k, dropped, and much of the public lost interest except for users of Silk Road. I sold all my BTC once it hit $1k for the second time. The more I read about ETH, the more I was convinced that this shit was wild. I didn't get it at first, but given my background (product engineering) I started to recognize use cases that Ethereum could take on: Debt vehicles owned by communities (rather than..JP Morgan). Music platforms owned by users. Ethereum is/was a software engineer's economic API. Prior to Ethereum, we could write apps that fit into real-world government/economies, but now, we could write entire governments and economies -- and we all know the economy is mankind's most influential behavioral system. Once that clicked, I put all my money into Ethereum. I told my friends and family to invest a bit too. I bought some in February of 2017 and continued to buy until my ether chest became my savings. Once ETH breached $100, I was extremely confident that the world was seeing Ethereum for what I saw (an economic/government-building toolset) -- wow was I wrong. ETH grew and grew, as we all know, topping out around ~$1400. I vividly remember waking up one morning, checking how much $ my investment was worth -- almost a half million. "I'll sell some once my stake reaches $500k," I said to myself idiotically. The prior night, I had gotten into a debate with a friend (who also invested) who had doubts about how long the asset would increase. I argued that the utility of Ethereum had barely hit the market, he argued that had nothing to do with the rise -- he was right. The rise of price was fueled by people telling friends/family 'I JUST MADE THIS MUCH MONEY YOU HAVE TO INVEST!!!', and had absolutely nothing to do with Ethereum's true value to society. My friend sold all of his investment around this time. I did not. I watched my investment dwindle from some ~$450k to just a few thousand. During this time, I was funding my business, so I would sell my ETH slowly as the price dropped. My stack of crypto is almost nothing today, but one thing I took away was the value of money. When my stack had reached nearly half a million, I felt the same as I do today. I felt the same as I did before I earned the money. Nothing in my life changed -- my happiness was exactly the same, except for the fact that I didn't have any stress around money. What made me happy was using my money for good causes - I donated a decent amount to ocean relief funds and used my money to build a business which made people happy via convenience. I'm sharing this because I don't know how many other people have made half a million dollars in under a year (after being broke), then lost it all, but I'm sure it's not common. This experience taught me the value of money and its limits to happiness contributions. That said -- when you're under the poverty line, the personal value of money is way higher. It's like a maslow's hierarchy of needs situation -- once you've satisfied your basic financial needs, your increase in happiness is fueled by further endeavors outside of 'earning money'.
purchased $100 of each of Top Ten Cryptos in Jan. 2018, haven't sold or traded, repeated in 2019 and 2020, update y'all monthly. Learn more about the history and rules of the Experimentshere.
August - solid month for the 2018 Top Ten, led by, ladies and gentlemen (or lady singular, there in the back row, I see you) NEM!!!!! Up over +200% in August.
Overall - BTC still way ahead and approaching break-even point, ETH gaining ground, alone in the middle. NEM(!!!) finally escapes last place replaced by DASH.
Over three years, cryptos outperforming S&P if I'd taken a similar approach.
Month Thirty Two – Down 71%
2018 Top Ten Summary August was not quite as strong as all-green July, but still a solid month for the 2018 Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Experiment. The gains were led by (I hope you’re sitting down for this one) (drum roll please) (you’re not going to believe this): NEM(!) which finished the month up over +200%. Really!
Question of the month:
The US Justice Department announced in August that it had seized cryptocurrency from terror groups in the Middle East. How much did they confiscate?
A) $2 million B) $4 million C) $8 million D) $32 million Scroll down for the answer.
Ranking and August Winners and Losers
Rank since January 2018 Lots of movement this month: all but three cryptos moved positions in August and all but one (NEM!) in the wrong direction. Despite gaining in value, Dash had the biggest slide, down four in the rankings from #24 to #28. ADA fell three and has dropped back out of the Top Ten. XRP, Bitcoin Cash, IOTA, and Stellar each lost one place in the rankings. The lone exception is a big one: XEM(!) climbed an unprecedented 9 spots in August. The last time NEM was in the Top Twenty was May 2019. After thirty-two months, 50% of the cryptos that started 2018 in the Top Ten have dropped out. NEM, ADA, Dash, IOTA, and Stellar have been replaced by Binance Coin, Tether,BSV, CRO, and most recently, LINK. August Winners – Don’t call it a comeback, NEM‘s been here for years. Up over +200% in August, NEM crushed the rest of the field. A distant second place was ETH, up +32% on the month. August Losers – Down -13%, ADA was the worst performing crypto of the month, followed by Bitcoin Cash, down -9%. For the overly competitive, below is a tally of the winners of the first 32 months of the 2018 Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Experiment. Bitcoin still has the most monthly wins (7). Cardano is a close second with 6 monthly wins. Despite its blockbuster August, NEM has the most monthly losses with 6. Every crypto has at least one monthly win and Bitcoin is unique as the only cryptocurrency that hasn’t lost a month in the 2.5+ years of the Experiment. Ws and Ls
Overall update – BTC in the lead and inching towards break-even point, followed by second place ETH. NEM escapes last place, replaced by Dash.
Although BTC didn’t make any major moves this month, it continued to slowly but surely approach its break-even point. It is down about -10% since my purchase in January 2018. The initial investment of $100 thirty-two months ago is now worth about $90. Ethereum is all alone in second place. It had a strong August, it picked up a lot of ground, but is still down -35% since January 2018. The big story this month is at the bottom: NEM(!) gained +200% in August, crushing its counterparts and leaping out of last place, where it was so comfortable for so, so long. Although still down -83% over the life of the experiment, it moved from 10th place to 6th place in just one month. The new king of the basement is Dash, down -91%. The initial $100 invested in Dash 32 months ago is now worth $8.50.
Total Market Cap for the entire cryptocurrency sector:
The crypto market added nearly $43B in August. The last time we saw a similar level in terms of overall crypto market cap was way back in the fifth month of the 2018 Top Ten Experiment: May 2018.
After being stuck in the mid-60s for most of 2020, BitDom dropped significantly this month, down to 57%. For context, the last time BitDom was this low was back in June 2019. For some 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:
The 2018 Top Ten Portfolio gained about $17 this month. If I cashed out today, the $1000 initial investment would return about $287, down -71% from January 2018. While -71% isn’t something to brag about, the monthly trend is encouraging. Here, take a look at the ROI over the life of the experiment, month by month, for some context: 2018 Top Ten Monthly ROI Summary So, -71% from a bottom of -88% is moving in the right direction. Or that’s what I tell myself as I cry myself to sleep nightly. Hopefully the next stop will be in the -60% range, a level this experiment hasn’t seen in years. So the Top Ten Cryptos of 2018 are down -71%. What about the 2019 and 2020 Top Tens? Let’s take a look:
So overall? 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 combined portfolios are worth $3,937 ($287+ $1,825 +$1,825). That’s up about +31% for the three combined portfolios, compared to +23% last month. This marks the highest ROI of the three combined portfolios since I added the metric this year. Here’s a table to help visualize: Combined ROI on $3k over three years A +31% gain by investing $1k on whichever cryptos happened to be in the Top Ten on January 1st for three straight years, not bad. But surely you’d do better if you invested only in one crypto, right? Depends on your choice. Let’s take a look: Three year club: shoulda gone with ETH Only five cryptos have remained 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, at least at this point in the Experiment? Ethereum, easily: the initial $3k would be up +160%, worth over $7800 today. The worst performing at this point is XRP, down -17%.
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. Defying global gloom, the S&P 500 reached an all time high in August and is up +31% since the beginning of the Experiment. The initial $1k investment into crypto on January 1st, 2018 would have been worth about $1310 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:
$1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2018: +$310
$1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2019: +$400
$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 $3,800. That is up over+27%since January 2018, compared to a +31% gain of the combined Top Ten Crypto Experiment Portfolios. That’s a 4% swing in favor of theTop Ten Crypto Portfolios! As you’ll see in the table below, this is only the second time since I started recording this metric that crypto has outperformed the S&P had I taken a similar investment approach: 3 x $1k crypto vs. S&P This is a big turnaround from the 22% difference in favor of the S&P just two months ago. Although it’s fun to see crypto is in the lead, I’ll leave it to you to decide whether the heart condition you may develop by being in the cryptosphere is worth that +4% edge…
August was a bit mixed compared to July, but still a very solid month for the 2018 Top Ten. Some interesting developments this month: Bitcoin is now within 10% of the price I paid on January 1st, 2018. ETH had solid gains and NEM(!) had a crazy month, tripling in value and finally climbing out of the basement. At the same time, traditional markets are doing well too: the S&P reached an all time high in August. It will be interesting to see how both markets perform during the final third of a very crazy year. 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.
Some Bitcoin Analysts and Prediction Today and Yesterday & Why "It's not the Price, Dummy"
This is just for fun, I generally have no strong feelings toward bitcoin price (I'm just fundamentally against zero-sum get rich schemes). But today I decided to do a little bitcoin search in news.google.com and see what today's bulls were predicting in 2018. Side note, almost all of the news articles came from crypto sites. I tried my best to stay away from them. Farming magazine telling you agriculture is the future isn't exactly shocking. To people who invest, please don't consider this as a prediction that price will fall. I'm not astute or smart enough to predict either way. The only possible use is to make sure you are more skeptic regarding predictions. Keep in mind, a rich CEO or consultant can lose 100 million and not really affect his life that much, but a 10k or 100k lose for some people can be devastating. And remember, some of these rich hedge managers don't believe their own bullshit, and hopefully, some of these quotes will emulate that. (Note, I won't waste time linking them all, but by quoting them directly, it should be easy to google) (another side note, I didn't purposely search out specific names. I went by the first names I came across, and only ignoring those that I couldn't find anything regarding crypto in past years)
Present: Business Inside: Bitcoin is like 'digital gold' and won't be used the same as a traditional currency in at least 5 years, billionaire investor Mike Novogratz says Past: On Nov, 2017, he said: "Bitcoin could ‘easily’ reach $40,000 by the end of 2018, hedge fund legend Novogratz says" 2018: "Michael Novogratz calls a bottom in cryptocurrencies" (it wasn't) Novogratz started a crypto funding in 2018. First 9 months "Mike Novogratz’s Crypto Trading Desk Lost $136 Million in Nine Months" (Bloomberg). Quarter 4: "Galaxy Digital Posts $32.9 Million in Net Loss for Q4 2019". Feb 2020 "Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital Slashes 15% Staff"
Present: "For Raoul Pal, CEO of Real Vision, the bullish atmosphere had been reinforced, and further gains were more likely than ever. “There are literally only two resistances left on the #bitcoin chart - 14,000 and then the old all-time high at 20,000,” he tweeted." In a tweet today, he said, "Bitcoin is eating the world... It has become a supermassive black hole that is sucking in everything around it and destroying it. This narrative is only going to grow over the next 18 months. You see, gold is breaking down versus bitcoin...and gold investors will flip to BTC" Past: 2014: "Put them in the same kind of equation we get a value of bitcoin and that value is a million dollars. Now, you'll never hear an analyst say this—but I don't mind this—I could be wrong by 90%, and it's still worth $100,000." (to be honest, that's a bit of an impressive prediction in 2014) On the other hand, he probably didn't really believe his own prediction because in June, 2017 (when it was 2000 USD or so), he said: " “This is the most exponential move we have seen. I don’t know how far it goes, but I sold out last week… and I’ve [owned Bitcoin] since it was $200. Anything that moves exponentially, always [blows up].”" In 2016, "This view brings Pal to the asset he favors most over the next year out of bonds, equities, currencies and commodities: the dollar."
Eh, that was just two. I was hoping to mention several people, but it appears not many people are actually making predictions anymore, and anyone mentioned are basically not big people so I couldn't find much on them regarding bitcoin before 2019. So, the main thing I like to highlight are the analysts and such are going to make money whatever happens. Fund managers are playing with people's money and, as long as they are not involved in frauds, there is no real harm to them against wrong predictions. Generally, successful business people are successful because they were loud, confident, and were able to convince others that they had the right idea. Even when wrong, they bounce back. Most of us aren't like that. Some bitcoiners come here to boast when price goes up, as if the increase in price is an indication that argument against bitcoin has been proven wrong. While some people here are fanatically anti-bitcoin, I am not one of those. I have nothing against people making money (why would I be upset that people I don't know around the world became wealthier??). But since bitcoin investing is by design a zero sum game, certain people will eventually lose, and it is most likely it is the people who were listening to predictions by experts that would ultimately be financially hurt, and not the experts making the predictions. Crypto investing has been a platform where the average person works hard in his day to day life, and then brings the fruits of his labor into this field. The actual productive part of that person's life is the one outside crypto, where they had been productive for the community, and in exchange, they receive wages. Crypto investing's promise is for this wage to increase without the actual productivity. The concern is mainly that the result of all that labor will be misused by crypto "experts" who's own income (their labor) is directly linked to predictions on crypto. The above paragraph is badly explained, but the main point is that the average person brings in outside money they worked hard for, while "experts" there is generally no outside money, crypto fund management or consulting itself is their job. --- Money can be made, of course, but money being made isn't necessarily an argument for something. Bitcoin, and crypto, has for the past 1.5 decades still largely just about numbers going up. Google trend on "bitcoin" show top related queries being "bitcoin price", "bitcoin usd", "bitcoin usd price". When people come here when it hits a particular arbitrary price point thinking it's their gotcha moment, it actually just reinforces my argument that it is only about the price. Nothing in the history of human economy has ever lasted based only on the economic model of who you could resell it for at a higher price. Even DeFi's smart contracts (as much as I could understand it) is about prices going up. It's like for these people the concept of contracts are based purely on money exchanging hands, and no actual task being done. Almost all contracts globally are based on specific productive tasks being done, such as employee contract, supplier contract, property contract, and so on. Only a tiny amount of it is based on "if this currency goes up, then give me that currency" contracts. ---
Disclaimer:This isnotfinancial advice. It's only my personal opinion. You can agree or disagree. Stay civil. It seems clear that we're in a new Bitcoin rally. With Bitcoin ready to attack its latest ATH, the question arises: Should we buy Bitcoin? My answer is: It depends. If we buy a Bitcoin now and it reaches its current all time high, we'd be talking about a return of less than double. That's very little considering that this is crypto and crypto means sick profits. If the good predictions came true and it reached $100,000, we would be talking about something less than x10 of profit. This is a lot. Not bad at all. But being crypto and being Bitcoin, I still find it a bit poor considering the tremendous effort that Bitcoin would need to make. One thing is clear, if you want an insane profit, the moon, the lambo, you have to go for altcoins and use Bitcoin as a volatility catalyst. That is, when Bitcoin goes up and drags the whole market up. If you're looking for the dream of becoming a millionaire, you have to assume it's too late to buy Bitcoin, unless you're willing to invest a lot of money or you're convinced it can reach 500k or even 1 million. Which I personally see as unlikely, at least in the short term. Bitcoin, however, can be used as a store of value. Even if some people disagree with this, the truth is that Bitcoin is nearly 12 years old and has only been more expensive than today during a few days in all this time. This is what a store of value is supposed to be. And it's not even mainstream yet. So what altcoins to buy? When I think of altcoins I am thinking of tokens with less than 1B market capitalization. Tokens with a great growth potential. Of course, the smaller their market capitalization the more price potential, but also the risk is higher. Personally, I think the risk, during the Bitcoin bull cycle, is a bit overestimated, since the whole market goes up. It's very difficult for the lowcap token you've bought not to appreciate by at least a X10. I speak from the experience of having lived the 2017 bull market. It is very important to choose tokens with the lowest possible supply. In a frantic market, where Bitcoin is spreading collective hysteria throughout the market, the utility of the token takes a back seat. It's the scarcity of that token what will determine its price potential. And the exposure. And the exchanges the token is being traded on, or potential big exchanges that it will be added. Lesson that I learned. I have explained this a few times already on reddit. I once had 18 Bitcoin. Today it would be $234,000. I didn't sell them to make a profit, I've always been convinced that Bitcoin was going to reach 6 digits and I'm still convinced of that right now. I lost 18 Bitcoin for trying to tame the market. It's impossible to tame the market. An idea as seemingly simple as buying cheap and selling expensive unwittingly changes into buying expensive and selling cheap. Cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile. There is no comparison to anything else. No one is mentally prepared to see Bitcoin fall by 50% after buying, or to see Bitcoin increase in value by 50% after selling. The stress that these situations put on our weak minds is what makes us fail. Taming the market is exactly the same as gambling. You're betting that Bitcoin will go down and therefore you're selling. Or you bet that Bitcoin will go up and therefore you buy. You can get it right once, but sooner or later you'll fail and ruin everything. It's a lottery. Everybody in Reddit likes to show off when they make a successful trade, but only a few post when they fuck it up. In 2017 I had around 2500 tokens of a shitcoin called XLM (Solaris). A very scarce token I bought very cheap. If I recall correctly, I sold them all at 20something cents and placed a buy order at 15 cents. The shit went down to 16 or 17 cents… then skyrocketed to $40 in December. My buy order was never executed. There's no way to predict the future, even with all those lines that people who want to be famous do at the expense of your naivety, the market analysts. Just buy and hold. Don't trade. Don't risk losing. Don't play like this is a casino, this is an investment and investments take time. I was one of the lucky ones who bought XRP for less than a penny. I find it very funny when people make jokes about the price of XRP. A lot of people are in the red with XRP and think that XRP is a shitty coin. However, there is something they don't understand. They are not objectively evaluating XRP because they bought it at a very specific time. I have never been in the red with XRP because I bought before the 2017 jump. They and I simply see reality from different perspectives. The token is the same for us, our point of view is not. They call a token that has yielded a fantastic X100 from my investment a shitcoin. It's a matter of perspective. I want to tell you that for years, people who bought Bitcoin at $1000 were suffering tremendous losses, as Bitcoin dropped to $200 after that. Today everyone would kill to be able to buy a single Bitcoin at $1000. PERSPECTIVE. The casino is a short term game. The investments are LONG-TERM projects. The 2017 bull run took the whole market to a new level and never went back. Are we going to see a new level in 2021?
I bought $1k of the Top Ten Cryptos on January 1st, 2018. Result? -74%
EXPERIMENT - Tracking Top 10 Cryptos of 2018 - Month 31 -74% See the full blog post with all the tableshere. tl;dr: purchased $100 of Top Ten Cryptos in Jan. 2018, haven't sold or traded, repeated in 2019 and 2020, update y'all monthly. July was very strong for crypto. For 2018 Top Ten: ADA finished the month on top. ETH and XRP also very strong. Overall, BTC still waaaay in the lead and is approaching break even point. Three cryptos (IOTA,NEM, DASH) have lost over 90% of value. Over three years, cryptos outperforming S&P if I'd taken a similar approach.
A) Bitcoin B) Ethereum C) Bitcoin Cash D) XRP Scroll down for the answer.
Ranking and July Winners and Losers
Not a ton of movement for the 2018 Top Ten group this month. Cardano and XRP both climbed one position while NEM gained two, clawing itself back into the Top Thirty. Dash headed in the other direction, dropping two places in the rankings. Considering all that has changed in the world of crypto since the beginning of 2018, it’s interesting to note that only four out of the ten cryptos that started 2018 in the Top Ten have dropped out. NEM, Dash, IOTA, and Stellar have been replaced by Binance Coin, Tether,BSV, and newcomer CRO. July Winners – It was a very strong month: all cryptos made significant gains in July. But for the third month in a row ADA outperformed the field, gaining +57% in July. ETH finished a close second, up +55% followed by XRP which gained +52%. July Losers – Even during a good month, NEM can’t catch a break. Its +23% gain made it the worst performer of the 2018 Top Ten. How has your favorite crypto fared over the first 31 months of the 2018 Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Experiment? Bitcoin still has the most monthly wins (7) but look at this: thanks to its strong 2020 including three straight monthly wins, Cardano is now right behind BTC with 6 monthly wins. Which project has the most monthly losses? NEM stands alone with 6. Every crypto has at least one monthly win and Bitcoin is unique as the only cryptocurrency that hasn’t lost a month. It came close this month, gaining “only” +26%.
Overall update – BTC approaching break even point, second place ETH in the lonely middle, NEM still worst performing.
Although it wasn’t able to keep pace with its peers in July, BTC continues to slowly but surely approach its break even point. It is down about $1,500 (-12%) since my purchase in January 2018. My initial investment of $100 thirty-one months ago is now worth about $88. Even though Ethereum has lost half of its value since the experiment began, it is all alone in second place: no other crypto is close. NEM seems comfortable in its usual place, down at the bottom. It has lost -94% over the life of the experiment. That initial $100 investment in NEM is now worth $5.78. Dash and IOTA join NEM as the only three cryptos in the Top Ten that have lost at least -90% of their value since January 2018.
Total Market Cap for the entire cryptocurrency sector:
Total market cap since Jan 2018 The crypto market added about $82B in July, making up a ton of ground. The last time we saw a similar level in terms of overall crypto market cap was way back in the fifth month of the 2018 Top Ten Experiment: May 2018.
Le Bitdom since January 2018 Since Bitcoin receives much of the attention in the press, it may surprise the casual observer to learn that Bitcoin Dominance dropped quite a bit in July, especially considering BitDom had been stuck at roughly the same level for most of 2020. This signals an interest in altcoins and a willingness to buy into riskier cryptos. Some 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 investment since January 1st, 2018:
The 2018 Top Ten Portfolio gained over $70 in July 2020. If I cashed out today, my $1000 initial investment would return about $260, down -74% from January 2018. This sounds horrible but don’t hang yourself with a celibate rope: the 2018 return on investment is back where it was about a year ago. Take a look at the ROI over the life of the experiment, month by month, for some context: Yes, you may notice that the 2018 Top Ten portfolio has finished over half of the first thirty one months down at least -80%, but it’s nice to see the low -70s for a change. So the Top Ten Cryptos of 2018 are down -74%. What about the 2019 and 2020 Top Tens? Let’s take a look:
So overall? 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 combined portfolios are worth $3,6965 ($260+ $1,722 +$1,713). That’s up about +23% for the three combined portfolios, compared to -10% last month. It also marks the highest ROI of the three combined portfolios since I added this metric this year. The previous high was +13% back in January 2020. Having trouble visualizing? Don’t worry, I got what you need: Combined ROI So, a +23% gain by dropping $1k on whichever cryptos were in the Top Ten on January 1st for three straight years, fine. But what if I’d done the same with just one crypto? Bitcoin always wins, right? Thanks to Reddit user u/sebikun for the idea for a new metric and let’s take a look: 3-year club ROI As you can see, only five cryptos have remained in the Top Ten for all three years: BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, and LTC. Best one to have gone all in on at this point in the Experiment? Ethereum, which would have nearly doubled. Worst choice? If I went with XRP, I would have been down -23%.
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 US economy continued to recover in July: the S&P 500 is back up to pre-COVID levels. The initial $1k investment into crypto on January 1st, 2018 would have been worth about $220 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:
$1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2018: +$220
$1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2019: +$310
$1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2020: +$10
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 $3,540. That is up over+18%since January 2018, compared to a +23% gain of the combined Top Ten Crypto Experiment Portfolios. That’s a 5% swing in favor of theTop Ten Crypto Portfolios! As you’ll see in the table below, this is the first time since I started recording this metric that crypto has outperformed the S&P had I taken a similar investment approach. This is a big turnaround from the 22% difference in favor of the S&P just last month. 3 x $1k crypto vs. S&P
The 2018 Top Ten Cryptos have consistently under-performed when compared to the overall crypto market. This month, for example, the total market cap is down -29% from January 2018 compared to the -74% loss for the cryptos that began 2018 in the Top Ten. At no point in the first 31 months of the Experiment has this investment strategy been successful: the 2018 Top Ten as a group have under-performed the overall market every single month. This of course suggests that I would have done a bit better if I’d picked every crypto, or different cryptos: throwing that $1k on January 1st, 2018 to Bitcoin, for example, would have lost me -12% instead of -74%. On the other hand, this bit of diversification has served me well compared to going all in on NEM, Dash, or IOTA, all of which are down at least -90%. The follow-on Top Ten experiments in 2019 and 2020 have seen similar, but not identical, results. There have been a few examples of the Top Ten approach outperforming the overall market in the first 19 months of the parallel 2019 Top Ten Crypto Experiment. And up until the last few months of the most recent 2020 Top Ten Index Fund group of cryptocurrencies, this approach had outperformed the overall market 100% of the time.
Crypto had an undoubtedly strong month in July, green across the board. Was this just a happy blip, are we in for some consolidation, or are we on the way up? Stay tuned. Final words: take care of each other, wear your mask, wash your hands. 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.
While not quite as strong as April, May was undeniably a strong month overall, especially with the last minute push that saw Bitcoin climb over the $10k mark. Although BTC (and the market overall) has fallen in the last few days while I’ve been compiling these updates, we saw almost every 2018 Top Ten crypto end the month of May higher than where it started.
A) One B) Three C) Five D) None of the above Scroll down for the answer.
Ranking and May Winners and Losers
Half of our 2018 Top Ten group were on the move in May. Cardano made the most upward progress, climbing two positions to #11. IOTA picked up rose one spot in the standings to #24 as well. On the other side, NEM keeps slipping, losing three spots to #30. Dash and Stellar also dropped two positions each in May. 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. May Winners – Massive month for ADA, up an impressive +62%. That’s about what Cardano gained last month, so, yeah, Cardano is having a great spring. IOTA also had a solid month, up +28%. May Losers – XRP lost about -4% making it the worst performing of this group in May. How has your favorite crypto fared over the first 29 months of the 2018 Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Experiment? Most monthly wins (7): Bitcoin. Most monthly losses (5) is a now tie between Stellar and NEM. All cryptos have at least one monthly win and Bitcoin 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 firmly in second place, NEM worst performing.
Bitcoin made up more ground in May, now down -23% since January 2018. The last time we saw this price level to end a month was August 2019. The initial $100 investment is now worth about $77. BTC is still well ahead of the field and Ethereum is firmly in second place. 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 the case. Just a little over a year ago for example, BTC was second place behind Stellar. NEM (down -95%) is in last place. That initial $100 investment in NEM? Now worth $4.74.
Total Market Cap for the entire cryptocurrency sector:
The overall crypto market added about $35B in May 2020, back near August 2019 levels. This is down about half from January 2018 when the market was worth roughly $575B.
Another flat month for Bitcoin dominance, which hasn’t moved at all in the last three months. 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 $20 bucks in May 2020, back near where it was at the end of February. If I cashed out today, my $1000 initial investment would return about $205, down -79% from January 2018. Here’s the ROI over the life of the experiment, month by month: The streak of nine consecutive months down at least -80% was finally broken in May. Just barely (at -79%), but hey, I’ll take it. July 2019 was the last time the 2018 Top Ten finished a month in the negative seventies. What about the negative sixties? That level hasn’t been seen in about two years. Painful stuff. What about the follow on Experiments? Let’s see:
So overall? 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 $3,104. That’s up about +3.5% for the combined portfolios. Better than a few months ago (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 the experiment to have a comparison point with other popular investments options. The stock market (as measured by the S&P) continued to recover in May. It’s pretty amazing with all that’s going on in the world, but the market is already back up where it was in February 2020. The initial $1k investment into crypto on New Year’s Day 2018 would have gained about $140 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: +$140
$1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2019: +$220
$1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2020: -$50
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 $3,310. That is up over+10%since January 2018, compared to the $3,104 value (+3.5%) of the combined Top Ten Crypto Experiment Portfolios. That’s about a 7% difference in favor of the stock market. Last month, there was only a 3% difference. The month before, the gap was 13%.
No news here: the 2018 Experiment’s focus of solely holding the Top Ten Cryptos has not and has never been a winning approach when compared to the overall market. The total market cap is down -51% from January 2018 compared to the -79% 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 much better than if I’d put all my eggs in NEM‘s -95% basket, for example. To reiterate, at no point in this experiment has this investment strategy been successful: the initial 2018 Top Ten have under-performed each of the twenty-nine months compared to the market overall. In the following two Top Ten 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 2020 group, this approach had outperformed the overall market 100% of the time…until this month.
The Bitcoin halving turned out to be a non event and markets continue to steadily rise despite riots in the US and a global pandemic. We’re almost half way through a very strange year. As the world changes, what will crypto’s place be in the new normal? Final word: Please take care of yourselves, your families, and your communities. Be excellent to each other. 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…
B) Three Bitcoin’s third halving event took place May 2020.
I did it today. On my 47th birthday, I reached $3 million in cash & investments, a paid off house & 2 cars. I have reached my FI target of $100k @ 3.3% SWR. I knew it was going to be close with the markets, payday, and my company's equity coming in today. Plan is to FIRE in 3 months. $3 million was a symbolic number, I could have FIREd 2 months ago at $2.95 million and lived pretty much the same life. However, I am getting another ~$70k in equity in 3 months and would like a bit of a buffer especially with the volatile markets. Also, the plan was to take a nice trip to Europe in August - I don't see that happening. It is crazy, I know of many people who are laid off, working reduced hours, worried about their job or tapping into debt. And I am making plans to quit working. Mega edit: Asset allocation Cash & short term investments: 25% (increased 10% from equities due to C19) Employer's Equity: 10% Equity ETFs: 45% (down 10% - sold in early march, will buy back in later) Bond ETFs: 10% Crypto: 10% Please bring on the flames for timing the market, but I sold early-ish, it helps me sleep at night, and right now I am trying to be more conservative vs. aggressive. The crypto is a flyer. I bought casino level bitcoin in 2012 at $18, then sold a bunch when it went up to $150. Then bought a bunch more at $1000, and have been selling little bits for a few years. Total investment: $45k, total value sold and still held: $500k. I would like to sell more, but it has a capital gains tax liability, so FIRE with no income next year would help reduce taxes. About my journey Grew up middle class. Money was tight from time to time, but I never really saw that. Part time job when I was 16 for spending cash. Never went into debt. Saved a little. Went into a good college for STEM, received $8000 total for tuition from family and received a student loan for $1000. Did a few paid internships while in college. Paid off the loan with my first post-school paycheck. Graduated in the tech industry in 97. Started full time at the last internship. $40k base. Stayed there for 2 more years, increased base by 20%. $48k base. Left (co-worker left and pulled me), for a ~100% increase. $90k base. Stayed there 6 months (dying ship), left for ~10% increase. $100k base. Stayed there for 2 years (all of my managers up to CEO left in 2 weeks), left for a 0% change. $100k base. Stayed there for 1.5 years, was let go, started consulting at +50% (but no benefits). $150k consulting. Consulted for 8 months, left when project was wrapping up for -40% (+10% from previous full time) $110k base. Stayed there for 11 years (company was acquired 3 after years), increased pay by ~20% in 11 years. $133k base. Left for 5% increase. $141k base. Worked there for 6 months (bad fit), left for 5% increase. $150k base. Here now. Making about 4x after 20 years. Did not include any bonus (or not), benefits (health/retirement/etc...) stock options, quality of life, etc.. Current investments Canadian ETF / funds I invest in in decreasing amounts. XGRO VCN VXC VAB VT TDB900 TDB902 TDB909 TDB911 Tangerine Balanced (part of emergency fund) TDB661 CDZ
Fanboyism, maximalism, interoperabilty, working with others and division of time transcript
Hi everybody, this is Charles Hoskinson broadcasting live from warm sunny Colorado. I wanted to make a video about division of time. I've been recently making a lot of commentary on the ETC ecosystem. I've also reached out to other ecosystems like the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem, the Litecoin ecosystem for a variety of reasons and I noticed that there are some people in the comments and then telegram and twitter and other places say "oh no" focus 100% of your effort on Cardano! Why are you talking to ETC, why are you doing this and doing that? So first off I run a big company. I we have over 250 people. About half of those people wake up every day and they're involved in Cardano. The other half are not so. As the CEO of a company where you have that kind of division there's non-Cardano things I do. Cardano's our largest project, we're heavily involved in it and obviously we wake up every day and we want Cardano to be successful and have billions of users and this is why we are following the process we're following. We're building the technology we're building. It's why we work very hard trying to commercialize it. Every deal we do in Africa, every deal we do in eastern Europe, every deal we do in Asia, we have a Cardano first policy of deploying those deals on that platform and we built that platform to service those deals and as that platform evolves you'll see more use and utility from our sales channels in that respect. That said, one of the pillars of a third generation cryptocurrency is interoperability. It's kind of a silly thing to be a maximalist but then also talk about interoperability. What the hell is the point that? Either you want one chain to rule them all and therefore you don't care at all about talking to other systems or you put your money where your mouth is and you work on those other systems. You build expertise in those systems, you affect changes in those systems so that those systems can partner with our systems and work with our systems. You know the Samsung CEO? He has a division that every day gets up and works with Apple and they work on the motherboards of the iPhone and build memory for them. Do all kinds of cool things and Samsung's division knows what the iPhone is going to look like before any of us knows. At the same time, there's another division at Samsung that wakes up every day and works on phones like the Galaxy to compete with the iPhone. Great companies have the capacity to do these things and we are a great company in that respect we have different and dedicated teams for different products and projects. Now, we will never work on overlapping systems. It's not the case that we're going to have developers go and work on Cardano and something that's a direct competitor of Cardano because it makes no competitive sense for that to happen and I do not view ETC as a competitor of Cardano. It's a proof-of-work system, not a proof-of-stake system. It's a code-is-law system, not a world-financial operating system. It's a system that will always have a smaller group of people in it and always have a smaller set of things to do so time spent there with a completely separate team has no bearing or impact on our ability to deliver things with Cardano. I can't accelerate things above and beyond what the teams can do, for example, today. I'm waiting for Daedalus flight to come out. There is nothing I can do. I can't pick up the phone and call the engineers and say can you ship it 15 minutes faster. The plan, it's been set, the release manager is there, the QA, team's there, everybody knows what to do. There's consensus amongst that team. They're going off to the mountain top, get it done and when it's done they'll let me know and then I'll tweet "new Daedalus is out guys" go play with it and it gives me some work to do of course but until they finish their job there's nothing to do in that respect. The Cardano plans we have are well set , we know exactly what we need to do. Those teams are working hard and I do everything in my power to accelerate things where and when it's safe to do so and everything in my power to get things done. Shelley, for example. We worked so hard to get that out on July 29th, we had almost unlimited overtime. Everyone worked the weekend. Some people worked over 40 days straight to get that release done. Meanwhile half of the company was doing other things in other capacities and working on those projects. None of their work or the other cryptocurrencies we tend to work with had any bearing or impact on our ability to accelerate or decelerate the Shelley work stream. I just want to make sure everybody understands that and for people who have developed a maximalist mindset to get out of that maximalist mindset. There's a place for maximalism, it's called Bitcoin maximalism. If you live there, go there, okay and go believe in that project, in that chain but this is the Cardano ecosystem. It's going to literally work with hundreds if not thousands of different standards over its life. From central banks to other cryptocurrencies to legacy financial operators from the Chases of the world to the Goldman Sachs' of the world. Provisions will be made to build special hooks for these systems including interoperability with permission systems. It's very likely in the next 24 months Cardano will be talking to an instance of Hyperledger Fabric from IBM. Very likely that that's going to happen. It's very likely that we'll consult on a project that does that and no way does this diminish the road map or somehow make Cardano less competitive. It's actually quite the opposite. The fact that we can work with those systems, the fact that we can do things with those systems means that the platform as a whole is intrinsically more valuable. It's easier to sell to Fortune 500 companies. It's easier to get use utility and adoption because people understand that they're not being led down the road of vendor lock-in and regressing back to the old days of internet explorer or what ConsenSys is trying to do with Ethereum, trying to lock everybody into one standard, one system, rather the value proposition we offer. Is true interoperability the ability to move in and out? Furthermore, when you create partnerships with other ecosystems then their success is our success. For example, if the treasury system proposal succeeds in ETC they will be in the market for a permanent treasury system in 2021. We as a community can make the case that we've constructed with Voltaire is a great choice for them and of course we'll try to make that case and if it's successful we provide mutual value and benefit more volume and transactions and activity on the Cardano network, and for ETC they have a best-in-class treasury system that meets the values of that community. The exact same argument can be made for Litecoin, or for Bitcoin cash or for other systems and if you want to see the wrapped Litecoin video that I did earlier in the year it gives a great road map for a potential push there. Furthermore, what if we turn Daedalus into a multi-currency wallet? That's already going to happen because we have a multi-asset standard and so when people issue tokens on Cardano Daedalus will support those tokens sometime in the future. It would be very easy for us to pull Ethereum classic and Litecoin and Bitcoin cash and other ecosystems into the Daedalus wallet. What does that mean? It means that people who live in that ecosystem will be using our technology as their day-to-day experience in hosting for their token! What does that mean if we have a DEX built into that thing? It potentially could create more adoption in use and utility for ada and this is the point we accomplish so much more working together than beating each other down. I am damn tired of the cryptocurrency markets as they are. The fanboys, the trolls, the FUD, the maximalism, the relentless allegations that people you disagree with or hold different tokens are scammers or criminals or bad human beings. It's time we as an industry set this aside and grow up. Just grow up or else what's the point? Why would anybody looking from the outside at all of this chaos and noise and insanity and maximalism want to come play in this pool? It's like you're about to enter a bar and you see a bar fight. Do you keep going in or you turn around and walk away and say I don't want that trouble. I'm going to go down the street somewhere else that's safer and so how will we ever get mainstream adoption, how will we ever make the argument to governments that they should trust their elections, their property, perhaps even the money of their people on our systems if we're incapable of entertaining other ideas, other philosophies and other ecosystems? We don't deserve the right for that responsibility if we're not mature enough to have differences of opinion and be able to welcome other ecosystems into our own. So this video is a call against maximalism first and foremost and second it's a realization that the duties of an executive officer are extensive meaning that there are days I wake up and there are Ethereum days and, by the way, working in that ecosystem gives me and my company exhaustive knowledge on how Ethereum works which allows me then to build a better product than they have and understand where all the bodies are buried: all the flaws in the protocols, the security issues, the performance issues, the smart contract development experience. That intimacy is extremely important to be able to predict, react and also plan a competitive strategy that can take you in a different and better direction. You just don't live in a mono-culture. It's a bad deal, that's the second point. You have many projects. When you have a larger company, some of those projects are completely separate from each other. Some of those projects may have a bit of overlap. We have a philosophy that we don't work on competing products. For example we have done work with horizon (Horizon2020?) and as a consequence of doing work with them we're probably not going to work on zcash at the same time. As long as we have that relationship there we, for example, work on Cardano so we're not going to go work on another proof-of-stake system that wants to be a financial operating system. That would be a direct competitor. For example, Tezos would be happy to jointly author papers and coordinate collaboration but there needs to be a Cardano benefit in that relationship whereas ETC as I've mentioned is a totally different system and it's something that we have as a company historically worked on for years. We started our participation in 2016. We built a full client in that process. Did that have any impact on our ability to deliver Cardano? We had a completely separate engineering team. That team was actually sourced from external companies. Scalac and Atix Labs to begin with and then we built on top of it and it had different product and project management and it was completely written with a different group. So it might as well have been a different company for that matter and I just talked to the team but the Cardano team was doing its own thing so I I think we need to just cut it out. Cut out the maximalism, cut out this idea that there is only one truth. We live in a nuanced world and we live in a world of interoperability. We have to embrace that if we wish to be successful and let us be the adults in the room. Let's be the place where this isn't the bar fight and let's be the place that welcomes everybody. Furthermore, I've noticed some criticism from my own community. When people criticize us and they go to the politics of destruction or personal attacks or yield on criticizing people's intelligence or whatever have you... Cut that out too. Let's be a better community. I repeatedly call upon the Tezos foundation to tell its community to stop criticizing Cardano and calling it's "a scam project". So, I'll call upon my own community, I have seen things that shouldn't have happened. Certain members of Cardano community replying to people over twitter, replying to people who criticize us have resorted to personal attacks and so forth. Again, just ignore them , mute, let's embrace unity, let's embrace being better, yes, occasionally you got to kick people in the teeth especially when people are lying and what you do is you call them out on the lies that they've made. You specifically point out where they have done things that are a bit crazy or disingenuous and dishonest. For example, we had a meeting today with Ethereum classic and it was blatantly apparent to me that this process has been set up to fail and be exclusive and prevent alternative ideas from a certain power structure from being held. So, I made a 30-minute whiteboard video where I not only called it out but I proposed an alternative and said this is how we're going to transcend that process and get to a much more productive way of doing things. Some of the criticism we have is justified because of product delays or because people don't fully understand who we are and what we're trying to do and obviously there's history there. So, first and foremost, let's reply with facts. First and foremost let's reply with dignity and respect and empathy for the other person's position and you know what? If they continue to push forward then you kick him in the teeth and you say it's obvious you don't want to have a conversation. You're a troll, but to my community please do this and please have this level of respect and dignity with others and with each other. For example, we right now have a lot of debates with small stake pools versus large stake pools, there's plenty of people floating around with differences of opinion and our mantra should always be disagree without being disagreeable. People are going to have other values people, are gonna have differences of opinion and people are gonna have different perspectives. You can't change that reality nor should you. We all have the right to think and have differences of opinion but we also should expect a dialog that's fair and has empathy in it and so I call upon everybody to preserve that decorum as we move forward and also understand that some days we wake up we have to do things that are non-Cardano related in order for us all to be successful because not all the world will ever be Cardano related. We always need partners whether it be great pieces of hardware like Ledger and Trezor or exchanges to work with different wallets and sometimes those partners do stuff with us and sometimes those partners do things with other people. We have friends, we have projects we admire and respect. For example, I've expressed repeatedly great admiration for the Algorand project. I think they're doing a phenomenal job and they have great leadership with Silvio Micali. I think the research and the engineering there is top notch. I personally believe Cardano is better. That's because we built it and that's because we think we have a better strategy to market and ultimately the market's going to decide which standards to go with and whether it's going to be many standards or a consolidation. That's not my decision. I just have to wake up every day and fight for the things I believe in. That said, never once have we ever criticized Algorand because they are in essence the model of empathy and dignity and good communication and being very proactive at focusing on solutions when they make announcements. They make announcements about new things that they're doing and new partners that they have and never once have they ever criticized another project or engaged in fanboyism. That's a great community, that's a great project and it's a model for where the space should go and I admire that deeply and greatly especially when you contrast it with other projects that have been less empathetic in their history. We all have our problems, we all have our issues. I know that we all can be better and so that's my final point. Let's do that. Let's be better as an industry. Let's be a bit friendlier and let's invest the time and effort necessary to really understand and listen to each other because ultimately I think that's going to get us where we need to go and be able to get us to a point where we have that adoption of millions and billions of people and fundamentally change the fabric of society. Otherwise we will be victims of our own success and descend into tribalism and descend into sectarian violence and then ultimately destroy the entire industry because it will become co-opted by large companies who use a surface-level marketing to take the brand, take the notion of a blockchain but then install centralized authorities behind them and in which case we've lost. I don't want that to happen I want the movement to succeed. I want us to understand each other and I enjoy having great competitors sometimes working with them sometimes fighting them in the battle of the markets, in the markets of ideas and ultimately I think we as a community have a chance to also be a model for everyone else. So, let's do that. Thank you... Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXQrm18XhQ8
Summary: Everyone knows that when you give your assets to someone else, they always keep them safe. If this is true for individuals, it is certainly true for businesses. Custodians always tell the truth and manage funds properly. They won't have any interest in taking the assets as an exchange operator would. Auditors tell the truth and can't be misled. That's because organizations that are regulated are incapable of lying and don't make mistakes. First, some background. Here is a summary of how custodians make us more secure: Previously, we might give Alice our crypto assets to hold. There were risks:
Alice might take the assets and disappear.
Alice might spend the assets and pretend that she still has them (fractional model).
Alice might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Alice might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Alice might lose access to the assets.
But "no worries", Alice has a custodian named Bob. Bob is dressed in a nice suit. He knows some politicians. And he drives a Porsche. "So you have nothing to worry about!". And look at all the benefits we get:
Alice can't take the assets and disappear (unless she asks Bob or never gives them to Bob).
Alice can't spend the assets and pretend that she still has them. (Unless she didn't give them to Bob or asks him for them.)
Alice can't store the assets insecurely so they get stolen. (After all - she doesn't have any control over the withdrawal process from any of Bob's systems, right?)
Alice can't give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force. (Bob will stop her, right Bob?)
Alice can't lose access to the funds. (She'll always be present, sane, and remember all secrets, right?)
See - all problems are solved! All we have to worry about now is:
Bob might take the assets and disappear.
Bob might spend the assets and pretend that he still has them (fractional model).
Bob might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Bob might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Bob might lose access to the assets.
It's pretty simple. Before we had to trust Alice. Now we only have to trust Alice, Bob, and all the ways in which they communicate. Just think of how much more secure we are! "On top of that", Bob assures us, "we're using a special wallet structure". Bob shows Alice a diagram. "We've broken the balance up and store it in lots of smaller wallets. That way", he assures her, "a thief can't take it all at once". And he points to a historic case where a large sum was taken "because it was stored in a single wallet... how stupid". "Very early on, we used to have all the crypto in one wallet", he said, "and then one Christmas a hacker came and took it all. We call him the Grinch. Now we individually wrap each crypto and stick it under a binary search tree. The Grinch has never been back since." "As well", Bob continues, "even if someone were to get in, we've got insurance. It covers all thefts and even coercion, collusion, and misplaced keys - only subject to the policy terms and conditions." And with that, he pulls out a phone-book sized contract and slams it on the desk with a thud. "Yep", he continues, "we're paying top dollar for one of the best policies in the country!" "Can I read it?' Alice asks. "Sure," Bob says, "just as soon as our legal team is done with it. They're almost through the first chapter." He pauses, then continues. "And can you believe that sales guy Mike? He has the same year Porsche as me. I mean, what are the odds?" "Do you use multi-sig?", Alice asks. "Absolutely!" Bob replies. "All our engineers are fully trained in multi-sig. Whenever we want to set up a new wallet, we generate 2 separate keys in an air-gapped process and store them in this proprietary system here. Look, it even requires the biometric signature from one of our team members to initiate any withdrawal." He demonstrates by pressing his thumb into the display. "We use a third-party cloud validation API to match the thumbprint and authorize each withdrawal. The keys are also backed up daily to an off-site third-party." "Wow that's really impressive," Alice says, "but what if we need access for a withdrawal outside of office hours?" "Well that's no issue", Bob says, "just send us an email, call, or text message and we always have someone on staff to help out. Just another part of our strong commitment to all our customers!" "What about Proof of Reserve?", Alice asks. "Of course", Bob replies, "though rather than publish any blockchain addresses or signed transaction, for privacy we just do a SHA256 refactoring of the inverse hash modulus for each UTXO nonce and combine the smart contract coefficient consensus in our hyperledger lightning node. But it's really simple to use." He pushes a button and a large green checkmark appears on a screen. "See - the algorithm ran through and reserves are proven." "Wow", Alice says, "you really know your stuff! And that is easy to use! What about fiat balances?" "Yeah, we have an auditor too", Bob replies, "Been using him for a long time so we have quite a strong relationship going! We have special books we give him every year and he's very efficient! Checks the fiat, crypto, and everything all at once!" "We used to have a nice offline multi-sig setup we've been using without issue for the past 5 years, but I think we'll move all our funds over to your facility," Alice says. "Awesome", Bob replies, "Thanks so much! This is perfect timing too - my Porsche got a dent on it this morning. We have the paperwork right over here." "Great!", Alice replies. And with that, Alice gets out her pen and Bob gets the contract. "Don't worry", he says, "you can take your crypto-assets back anytime you like - just subject to our cancellation policy. Our annual management fees are also super low and we don't adjust them often". How many holes have to exist for your funds to get stolen? Just one. Why are we taking a powerful offline multi-sig setup, widely used globally in hundreds of different/lacking regulatory environments with 0 breaches to date, and circumventing it by a demonstrably weak third party layer? And paying a great expense to do so? If you go through the list of breaches in the past 2 years to highly credible organizations, you go through the list of major corporate frauds (only the ones we know about), you go through the list of all the times platforms have lost funds, you go through the list of times and ways that people have lost their crypto from identity theft, hot wallet exploits, extortion, etc... and then you go through this custodian with a fine-tooth comb and truly believe they have value to add far beyond what you could, sticking your funds in a wallet (or set of wallets) they control exclusively is the absolute worst possible way to take advantage of that security. The best way to add security for crypto-assets is to make a stronger multi-sig. With one custodian, what you are doing is giving them your cryptocurrency and hoping they're honest, competent, and flawlessly secure. It's no different than storing it on a really secure exchange. Maybe the insurance will cover you. Didn't work for Bitpay in 2015. Didn't work for Yapizon in 2017. Insurance has never paid a claim in the entire history of cryptocurrency. But maybe you'll get lucky. Maybe your exact scenario will buck the trend and be what they're willing to cover. After the large deductible and hopefully without a long and expensive court battle. And you want to advertise this increase in risk, the lapse of judgement, an accident waiting to happen, as though it's some kind of benefit to customers ("Free institutional-grade storage for your digital assets.")? And then some people are writing to the OSC that custodians should be mandatory for all funds on every exchange platform? That this somehow will make Canadians as a whole more secure or better protected compared with standard air-gapped multi-sig? On what planet? Most of the problems in Canada stemmed from one thing - a lack of transparency. If Canadians had known what a joke Quadriga was - it wouldn't have grown to lose $400m from hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast. And Gerald Cotten would be in jail, not wherever he is now (at best, rotting peacefully). EZ-BTC and mister Dave Smilie would have been a tiny little scam to his friends, not a multi-million dollar fraud. Einstein would have got their act together or been shut down BEFORE losing millions and millions more in people's funds generously donated to criminals. MapleChange wouldn't have even been a thing. And maybe we'd know a little more about CoinTradeNewNote - like how much was lost in there. Almost all of the major losses with cryptocurrency exchanges involve deception with unbacked funds. So it's great to see transparency reports from BitBuy and ShakePay where someone independently verified the backing. The only thing we don't have is:
ANY CERTAINTY BALANCES WEREN'T EXCLUDED. Quadriga's largest account was $70m. 80% of funds are in 20% of accounts (Pareto principle). All it takes is excluding a few really large accounts - and nobody's the wiser. A fractional platform can easily pass any audit this way.
ANY VISIBILITY WHATSOEVER INTO THE CUSTODIANS. BitBuy put out their report before moving all the funds to their custodian and ShakePay apparently can't even tell us who the custodian is. That's pretty important considering that basically all of the funds are now stored there.
ANY IDEA ABOUT THE OTHER EXCHANGES. In order for this to be effective, it has to be the norm. It needs to be "unusual" not to know. If obscurity is the norm, then it's super easy for people like Gerald Cotten and Dave Smilie to blend right in.
It's not complicated to validate cryptocurrency assets. They need to exist, they need to be spendable, and they need to cover the total balances. There are plenty of credible people and firms across the country that have the capacity to reasonably perform this validation. Having more frequent checks by different, independent, parties who publish transparent reports is far more valuable than an annual check by a single "more credible/official" party who does the exact same basic checks and may or may not publish anything. Here's an example set of requirements that could be mandated:
First report within 1 month of launching, another within 3 months, and further reports at minimum every 6 months thereafter.
No auditor can be repeated within a 12 month period.
All reports must be public, identifying the auditor and the full methodology used.
All auditors must be independent of the firm being audited with no conflict of interest.
Reports must include the percentage of each asset backed, and how it's backed.
The auditor publishes a hash list, which lists a hash of each customer's information and balances that were included. Hash is one-way encryption so privacy is fully preserved. Every customer can use this to have 100% confidence they were included.
If we want more extensive requirements on audits, these should scale upward based on the total assets at risk on the platform, and whether the platform has loaned their assets out.
There are ways to structure audits such that neither crypto assets nor customer information are ever put at risk, and both can still be properly validated and publicly verifiable. There are also ways to structure audits such that they are completely reasonable for small platforms and don't inhibit innovation in any way. By making the process as reasonable as possible, we can completely eliminate any reason/excuse that an honest platform would have for not being audited. That is arguable far more important than any incremental improvement we might get from mandating "the best of the best" accountants. Right now we have nothing mandated and tons of Canadians using offshore exchanges with no oversight whatsoever. Transparency does not prove crypto assets are safe. CoinTradeNewNote, Flexcoin ($600k), and Canadian Bitcoins ($100k) are examples where crypto-assets were breached from platforms in Canada. All of them were online wallets and used no multi-sig as far as any records show. This is consistent with what we see globally - air-gapped multi-sig wallets have an impeccable record, while other schemes tend to suffer breach after breach. We don't actually know how much CoinTrader lost because there was no visibility. Rather than publishing details of what happened, the co-founder of CoinTrader silently moved on to found another platform - the "most trusted way to buy and sell crypto" - a site that has no information whatsoever (that I could find) on the storage practices and a FAQ advising that “[t]rading cryptocurrency is completely safe” and that having your own wallet is “entirely up to you! You can certainly keep cryptocurrency, or fiat, or both, on the app.” Doesn't sound like much was learned here, which is really sad to see. It's not that complicated or unreasonable to set up a proper hardware wallet. Multi-sig can be learned in a single course. Something the equivalent complexity of a driver's license test could prevent all the cold storage exploits we've seen to date - even globally. Platform operators have a key advantage in detecting and preventing fraud - they know their customers far better than any custodian ever would. The best job that custodians can do is to find high integrity individuals and train them to form even better wallet signatories. Rather than mandating that all platforms expose themselves to arbitrary third party risks, regulations should center around ensuring that all signatories are background-checked, properly trained, and using proper procedures. We also need to make sure that signatories are empowered with rights and responsibilities to reject and report fraud. They need to know that they can safely challenge and delay a transaction - even if it turns out they made a mistake. We need to have an environment where mistakes are brought to the surface and dealt with. Not one where firms and people feel the need to hide what happened. In addition to a knowledge-based test, an auditor can privately interview each signatory to make sure they're not in coercive situations, and we should make sure they can freely and anonymously report any issues without threat of retaliation. A proper multi-sig has each signature held by a separate person and is governed by policies and mutual decisions instead of a hierarchy. It includes at least one redundant signature. For best results, 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7. History has demonstrated over and over again the risk of hot wallets even to highly credible organizations. Nonetheless, many platforms have hot wallets for convenience. While such losses are generally compensated by platforms without issue (for example Poloniex, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Gatecoin, Coincheck, Bithumb, Zaif, CoinBene, Binance, Bitrue, Bitpoint, Upbit, VinDAX, and now KuCoin), the public tends to focus more on cases that didn't end well. Regardless of what systems are employed, there is always some level of risk. For that reason, most members of the public would prefer to see third party insurance. Rather than trying to convince third party profit-seekers to provide comprehensive insurance and then relying on an expensive and slow legal system to enforce against whatever legal loopholes they manage to find each and every time something goes wrong, insurance could be run through multiple exchange operators and regulators, with the shared interest of having a reputable industry, keeping costs down, and taking care of Canadians. For example, a 4 of 7 multi-sig insurance fund held between 5 independent exchange operators and 2 regulatory bodies. All Canadian exchanges could pay premiums at a set rate based on their needed coverage, with a higher price paid for hot wallet coverage (anything not an air-gapped multi-sig cold wallet). Such a model would be much cheaper to manage, offer better coverage, and be much more reliable to payout when needed. The kind of coverage you could have under this model is unheard of. You could even create something like the CDIC to protect Canadians who get their trading accounts hacked if they can sufficiently prove the loss is legitimate. In cases of fraud, gross negligence, or insolvency, the fund can be used to pay affected users directly (utilizing the last transparent balance report in the worst case), something which private insurance would never touch. While it's recommended to have official policies for coverage, a model where members vote would fully cover edge cases. (Could be similar to the Supreme Court where justices vote based on case law.) Such a model could fully protect all Canadians across all platforms. You can have a fiat coverage governed by legal agreements, and crypto-asset coverage governed by both multi-sig and legal agreements. It could be practical, affordable, and inclusive. Now, we are at a crossroads. We can happily give up our freedom, our innovation, and our money. We can pay hefty expenses to auditors, lawyers, and regulators year after year (and make no mistake - this cost will grow to many millions or even billions as the industry grows - and it will be borne by all Canadians on every platform because platforms are not going to eat up these costs at a loss). We can make it nearly impossible for any new platform to enter the marketplace, forcing Canadians to use the same stagnant platforms year after year. We can centralize and consolidate the entire industry into 2 or 3 big players and have everyone else fail (possibly to heavy losses of users of those platforms). And when a flawed security model doesn't work and gets breached, we can make it even more complicated with even more people in suits making big money doing the job that blockchain was supposed to do in the first place. We can build a system which is so intertwined and dependent on big government, traditional finance, and central bankers that it's future depends entirely on that of the fiat system, of fractional banking, and of government bail-outs. If we choose this path, as history has shown us over and over again, we can not go back, save for revolution. Our children and grandchildren will still be paying the consequences of what we decided today. Or, we can find solutions that work. We can maintain an open and innovative environment while making the adjustments we need to make to fully protect Canadian investors and cryptocurrency users, giving easy and affordable access to cryptocurrency for all Canadians on the platform of their choice, and creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and problem solvers can bring those solutions forward easily. None of the above precludes innovation in any way, or adds any unreasonable cost - and these three policies would demonstrably eliminate or resolve all 109 historic cases as studied here - that's every single case researched so far going back to 2011. It includes every loss that was studied so far not just in Canada but globally as well. Unfortunately, finding answers is the least challenging part. Far more challenging is to get platform operators and regulators to agree on anything. My last post got no response whatsoever, and while the OSC has told me they're happy for industry feedback, I believe my opinion alone is fairly meaningless. This takes the whole community working together to solve. So please let me know your thoughts. Please take the time to upvote and share this with people. Please - let's get this solved and not leave it up to other people to do. Facts/background/sources (skip if you like):
The inspiration for the paragraph about splitting wallets was an actual quote from a Canadian company providing custodial services in response to the OSC consultation paper: "We believe that it will be in the in best interests of investors to prohibit pooled crypto assets or ‘floats’. Most Platforms pool assets, citing reasons of practicality and expense. The recent hack of the world’s largest Platform – Binance – demonstrates the vulnerability of participants’ assets when such concessions are made. In this instance, the Platform’s entire hot wallet of Bitcoins, worth over $40 million, was stolen, facilitated in part by the pooling of client crypto assets." "the maintenance of participants (and Platform) crypto assets across multiple wallets distributes the related risk and responsibility of security - reducing the amount of insurance coverage required and making insurance coverage more readily obtainable". For the record, their reply also said nothing whatsoever about multi-sig or offline storage.
In addition to the fact that the $40m hack represented only one "hot wallet" of Binance, and they actually had the vast majority of assets in other wallets (including mostly cold wallets), multiple real cases have clearly demonstrated that risk is still present with multiple wallets. Bitfinex, VinDAX, Bithumb, Altsbit, BitPoint, Cryptopia, and just recently KuCoin all had multiple wallets breached all at the same time, and may represent a significantly larger impact on customers than the Binance breach which was fully covered by Binance. To represent that simply having multiple separate wallets under the same security scheme is a comprehensive way to reduce risk is just not true.
Private insurance has historically never covered a single loss in the cryptocurrency space (at least, not one that I was able to find), and there are notable cases where massive losses were not covered by insurance. Bitpay in 2015 and Yapizon in 2017 both had insurance policies that didn't pay out during the breach, even after a lengthly court process. The same insurance that ShakePay is presently using (and announced to much fanfare) was describe by their CEO himself as covering “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held,” which is something that has never historically happened. As was said with regard to the same policy in 2018 - “I don’t find it surprising that Lloyd’s is in this space,” said Johnson, adding that to his mind the challenge for everybody is figuring out how to structure these policies so that they are actually protective. “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.”
The most profitable policy for a private insurance company is one with the most expensive premiums that they never have to pay a claim on. They have no inherent incentive to take care of people who lost funds. It's "cheaper" to take the reputational hit and fight the claim in court. The more money at stake, the more the insurance provider is incentivized to avoid payout. They're not going to insure the assets unless they have reasonable certainty to make a profit by doing so, and they're not going to pay out a massive sum unless it's legally forced. Private insurance is always structured to be maximally profitable to the insurance provider.
The circumvention of multi-sig was a key factor in the massive Bitfinex hack of over $60m of bitcoin, which today still sits being slowly used and is worth over $3b. While Bitfinex used a qualified custodian Bitgo, which was and still is active and one of the industry leaders of custodians, and they set up 2 of 3 multi-sig wallets, the entire system was routed through Bitfinex, such that Bitfinex customers could initiate the withdrawals in a "hot" fashion. This feature was also a hit with the hacker. The multi-sig was fully circumvented.
Bitpay in 2015 was another example of a breach that stole 5,000 bitcoins. This happened not through the exploit of any system in Bitpay, but because the CEO of a company they worked with got their computer hacked and the hackers were able to request multiple bitcoin purchases, which Bitpay honoured because they came from the customer's computer legitimately. Impersonation is a very common tactic used by fraudsters, and methods get more extreme all the time.
A notable case in Canada was the Canadian Bitcoins exploit. Funds were stored on a server in a Rogers Data Center, and the attendee was successfully convinced to reboot the server "in safe mode" with a simple phone call, thus bypassing the extensive security and enabling the theft.
The very nature of custodians circumvents multi-sig. This is because custodians are not just having to secure the assets against some sort of physical breach but against any form of social engineering, modification of orders, fraudulent withdrawal attempts, etc... If the security practices of signatories in a multi-sig arrangement are such that the breach risk of one signatory is 1 in 100, the requirement of 3 independent signatures makes the risk of theft 1 in 1,000,000. Since hackers tend to exploit the weakest link, a comparable custodian has to make the entry and exit points of their platform 10,000 times more secure than one of those signatories to provide equivalent protection. And if the signatories beef up their security by only 10x, the risk is now 1 in 1,000,000,000. The custodian has to be 1,000,000 times more secure. The larger and more complex a system is, the more potential vulnerabilities exist in it, and the fewer people can understand how the system works when performing upgrades. Even if a system is completely secure today, one has to also consider how that system might evolve over time or work with different members.
By contrast, offline multi-signature solutions have an extremely solid record, and in the entire history of cryptocurrency exchange incidents which I've studied (listed here), there has only been one incident (796 exchange in 2015) involving an offline multi-signature wallet. It happened because the customer's bitcoin address was modified by hackers, and the amount that was stolen ($230k) was immediately covered by the exchange operators. Basically, the platform operators were tricked into sending a legitimate withdrawal request to the wrong address because hackers exploited their platform to change that address. Such an issue would not be prevented in any way by the use of a custodian, as that custodian has no oversight whatsoever to the exchange platform. It's practical for all exchange operators to test large withdrawal transactions as a general policy, regardless of what model is used, and general best practice is to diagnose and fix such an exploit as soon as it occurs.
False promises on the backing of funds played a huge role in the downfall of Quadriga, and it's been exposed over and over again (MyCoin, PlusToken, Bitsane, Bitmarket, EZBTC, IDAX). Even today, customers have extremely limited certainty on whether their funds in exchanges are actually being backed or how they're being backed. While this issue is not unique to cryptocurrency exchanges, the complexity of the technology and the lack of any regulation or standards makes problems more widespread, and there is no "central bank" to come to the rescue as in the 2008 financial crisis or during the great depression when "9,000 banks failed".
In addition to fraudulent operations, the industry is full of cases where operators have suffered breaches and not reported them. Most recently, Einstein was the largest case in Canada, where ongoing breaches and fraud were perpetrated against the platform for multiple years and nobody found out until the platform collapsed completely. While fraud and breaches suck to deal with, they suck even more when not dealt with. Lack of visibility played a role in the largest downfalls of Mt. Gox, Cryptsy, and Bitgrail. In some cases, platforms are alleged to have suffered a hack and keep operating without admitting it at all, such as CoinBene.
It surprises some to learn that a cryptographic solution has already existed since 2013, and gained widespread support in 2014 after Mt. Gox. Proof of Reserves is a full cryptographic proof that allows any customer using an exchange to have complete certainty that their crypto-assets are fully backed by the platform in real-time. This is accomplished by proving that assets exist on the blockchain, are spendable, and fully cover customer deposits. It does not prove safety of assets or backing of fiat assets.
If we didn't care about privacy at all, a platform could publish their wallet addresses, sign a partial transaction, and put the full list of customer information and balances out publicly. Customers can each check that they are on the list, that the balances are accurate, that the total adds up, and that it's backed and spendable on the blockchain. Platforms who exclude any customer take a risk because that customer can easily check and see they were excluded. So together with all customers checking, this forms a full proof of backing of all crypto assets.
However, obviously customers care about their private information being published. Therefore, a hash of the information can be provided instead. Hash is one-way encryption. The hash allows the customer to validate inclusion (by hashing their own known information), while anyone looking at the list of hashes cannot determine the private information of any other user. All other parts of the scheme remain fully intact. A model like this is in use on the exchange CoinFloor in the UK.
A Merkle tree can provide even greater privacy. Instead of a list of balances, the balances are arranged into a binary tree. A customer starts from their node, and works their way to the top of the tree. For example, they know they have 5 BTC, they plus 1 other customer hold 7 BTC, they plus 2-3 other customers hold 17 BTC, etc... until they reach the root where all the BTC are represented. Thus, there is no way to find the balances of other individual customers aside from one unidentified customer in this case.
Proposals such as this had the backing of leaders in the community including Nic Carter, Greg Maxwell, and Zak Wilcox. Substantial and significant effort started back in 2013, with massive popularity in 2014. But what became of that effort? Very little. Exchange operators continue to refuse to give visibility. Despite the fact this information can often be obtained through trivial blockchain analysis, no Canadian platform has ever provided any wallet addresses publicly. As described by the CEO of Newton "For us to implement some kind of realtime Proof of Reserves solution, which I'm not opposed to, it would have to ... Preserve our users' privacy, as well as our own. Some kind of zero-knowledge proof". Kraken describes here in more detail why they haven't implemented such a scheme. According to professor Eli Ben-Sasson, when he spoke with exchanges, none were interested in implementing Proof of Reserves.
And yet, Kraken's places their reasoning on a page called "Proof of Reserves". More recently, both BitBuy and ShakePay have released reports titled "Proof of Reserves and Security Audit". Both reports contain disclaimers against being audits. Both reports trust the customer list provided by the platform, leaving the open possibility that multiple large accounts could have been excluded from the process. Proof of Reserves is a blockchain validation where customers see the wallets on the blockchain. The report from Kraken is 5 years old, but they leave it described as though it was just done a few weeks ago. And look at what they expect customers to do for validation. When firms represent something being "Proof of Reserve" when it's not, this is like a farmer growing fruit with pesticides and selling it in a farmers market as organic produce - except that these are people's hard-earned life savings at risk here. Platforms are misrepresenting the level of visibility in place and deceiving the public by their misuse of this term. They haven't proven anything.
Fraud isn't a problem that is unique to cryptocurrency. Fraud happens all the time. Enron, WorldCom, Nortel, Bear Stearns, Wells Fargo, Moser Baer, Wirecard, Bre-X, and Nicola are just some of the cases where frauds became large enough to become a big deal (and there are so many countless others). These all happened on 100% reversible assets despite regulations being in place. In many of these cases, the problems happened due to the over-complexity of the financial instruments. For example, Enron had "complex financial statements [which] were confusing to shareholders and analysts", creating "off-balance-sheet vehicles, complex financing structures, and deals so bewildering that few people could understand them". In cryptocurrency, we are often combining complex financial products with complex technologies and verification processes. We are naïve if we think problems like this won't happen. It is awkward and uncomfortable for many people to admit that they don't know how something works. If we want "money of the people" to work, the solutions have to be simple enough that "the people" can understand them, not so confusing that financial professionals and technology experts struggle to use or understand them.
For those who question the extent to which an organization can fool their way into a security consultancy role, HB Gary should be a great example to look at. Prior to trying to out anonymous, HB Gary was being actively hired by multiple US government agencies and others in the private sector (with glowing testimonials). The published articles and hosted professional security conferences. One should also look at this list of data breaches from the past 2 years. Many of them are large corporations, government entities, and technology companies. These are the ones we know about. Undoubtedly, there are many more that we do not know about. If HB Gary hadn't been "outted" by anonymous, would we have known they were insecure? If the same breach had happened outside of the public spotlight, would it even have been reported? Or would HB Gary have just deleted the Twitter posts, brought their site back up, done a couple patches, and kept on operating as though nothing had happened?
In the case of Quadriga, the facts are clear. Despite past experience with platforms such as MapleChange in Canada and others around the world, no guidance or even the most basic of a framework was put in place by regulators. By not clarifying any sort of legal framework, regulators enabled a situation where a platform could be run by former criminal Mike Dhanini/Omar Patryn, and where funds could be held fully unchecked by one person. At the same time, the lack of regulation deterred legitimate entities from running competing platforms and Quadriga was granted a money services business license for multiple years of operation, which gave the firm the appearance of legitimacy. Regulators did little to protect Canadians despite Quadriga failing to file taxes from 2016 onward. The entire administrative team had resigned and this was public knowledge. Many people had suspicions of what was going on, including Ryan Mueller, who forwarded complaints to the authorities. These were ignored, giving Gerald Cotten the opportunity to escape without justice.
There are multiple issues with the SOC II model including the prohibitive cost (you have to find a third party accounting firm and the prices are not even listed publicly on any sites), the requirement of operating for a year (impossible for new platforms), and lack of any public visibility (SOC II are private reports that aren't shared outside the people in suits).
Securities frameworks are expensive. Sarbanes-Oxley is estimated to cost $5.1 million USD/yr for the average Fortune 500 company in the United States. Since "Fortune 500" represents the top 500 companies, that means well over $2.55 billion USD (~$3.4 billion CAD) is going to people in suits. Isn't the problem of trust and verification the exact problem that the blockchain is supposed to solve?
To use Quadriga as justification for why custodians or SOC II or other advanced schemes are needed for platforms is rather silly, when any framework or visibility at all, or even the most basic of storage policies, would have prevented the whole thing. It's just an embarrassment.
We are now seeing regulators take strong action. CoinSquare in Canada with multi-million dollar fines. BitMex from the US, criminal charges and arrests. OkEx, with full disregard of withdrawals and no communication. Who's next?
We have a unique window today where we can solve these problems, and not permanently destroy innovation with unreasonable expectations, but we need to act quickly. This is a unique historic time that will never come again.
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