Top 5 Historical Cryptocurrency Performers Over the Last Year

The top 5 monthly performers have changed quite bit over the last 3 years, we analyzed 30-day returns for the current top 200 cryptocurrencies (by market capitalization) and analyzed some of the top performers 

A notieable change since the 2017/2018 bubble is the decrease in the average traded volume. Looking over the past three years, we observed that both the top 200 cryptocurrencies (blue) and the top 5 (orange) have experienced roughly a 50% drop in average daily volume since last year. The chart also demonstrates that the popping of the bubble began the process of cleaning out crappy / fraudulent protocol (note, I said started, still a long way to go). The top 5 crypto’s percent of total trading volume crept back up since last year, indicating money was moving out of riskier assets due to increased investor attention to detail, regulatory pressure, and other industry factors.

While it is too soon to call a bottom to the issue of volume, the average figures seem to indicate some trading stability is returning . It is also the first time that the average trading volume increased relative to the last quarter. While this could also be associated with trading behavior exhibited towards the end of the year, exchanges are fighting tooth and nail to avoid looming interest rate hike implications and competing to be the best offering.

The table below shows the top 5 performers on a monthly basis for the same period:

Based on the chart above, the top 10 performers were as presented below. The top performer was defined as any monthly ranking in the top 5 chart above.

TickerTop 5Cryptocurrency NameMission
GRS9GroestlcoinInstant & private transactions
RDD8ReddcoinEasier to use for general public
PIVX7PIVXInstant & private transactions
XVG6VergeInstant & private transactions
NXS5NexusInfrastructure
UBQ5UbiqPayment + decentralized platform
BCN4BytecoinPrivate payments
DASH4DashInstant & private transactions
MONA4MonacoinPayments
REP4AugurDecentralized prediction market

Notably, some of the top performers include coins focused on instant & private transactions. The top 10 performers include only 1 crypto was not focused on payments or broad platforms – Jack Peterson and Joey Krug‘s Augur. As utility token companies begin to deploy the insane amount of capital raised for their projects, we may see the successful projects begin to creep up on these charts. Given the recent boom-and-bust raised the eyebrows of institutional players, we can expect decent market trials and venture-esque projects to provide further insight on future winners and losers. 

The often volatile nature of the industry may be quelled by current attention on fomenting stability. The market’s competition on establishing a stablecoin provides additional evidence that capital is getting smarter and key players are finding ways to take advantage of other emerging technologies (e.g., AI/ML, edge computing, virtual/augmented reality, etc.). The above charts illustrate investors may be consistently reward certain industry segments and protocol. However, as always, it is important to keep tabs on all of your names and keep a diversified portfolio – even historically successful names like Bytecoin may potentially be worth $0 at any time.  

Bitcoin Volatility: Evidence of Market Maturity After Cryptocurrency Craze

Since the inception of Bitcoin and the concept of ‘digital assets’, institutional and retail investors kept their distance (and rightfully so) given the extreme volatility in prices, uncertainty around regulation, and questions around consumer adoption. Not only was the concept of Bitcoin foreign, but potential opportunities surrounding the digital currency and its underlying technology were also quite nascent.

As investors and entrepreneurs increased attention and resources to trading, mining, and building tangential services around these digital currencies, we have witnessed a bumpy road to stabilization and maturity. A study of market cycles demonstrates the relative boom and bust of any new industry. A particular article in Hackernoon shows a great example of this by overlaying BTC prices on stock market performance during the inflating and pop of the dotcom bubble.

In order to attract capital and accelerate a new growth cycle, trading statistics of cryptocurrencies need to be more in line with traditional asset classes. Evidence of that trend has already been reflected in trading price data. Analyzing the trading data of the top cryptocurrencies (based on market capitalization), a decline in 30-day rolling volatilities and significant compression in the volatility spread between BTC with the S&P 500 and Russell 3000 indices were observed.

While there is certainly a long way to go until the industry begins to “mature” (with respect to long term cycles), the sharp decrease in implied volatilities points to certain tailwinds.

First, there have been a plethora of services and applications built with blockchain tech and successful companies in the space are now emerging. Payment services companies such as BitPay demonstrate various applications focused on consumer and business adoption. Ripple’s partnerships provides further evidence that there are tangible results that will disrupt status quo tech. The Zerocoin project has improved its capabilities and made meaningful progress towards secure transactions.

Second, investors are starting to reap rewards of their early investments in blockchain and recycle capital within the industry. The success of Coinbaseillustrates blockchain companies can attract significant investor attention and capital. Prior management teams that have exited these companies have been able to raise money for their own projects; their niches are focused on plugging gaps with current technology offerings.

Finally, large multi-national corporations are beginning to introduce new and specialized product lines for industry participants. For example, Samsung released a new chip to improve BTC mining profits. These new products will reduce the overall marginal cost to enter related markets, just as cloud computing decreased the capability gap between small and large corporations.

While we cannot ascertain where the winners will be (equity investors, miners, coin investors, etc.), there seems to be a long runway for investors and entrepreneurs to figure it out. What we can see is that the railroad is making its way to the wild west, both the numbers and trends point to opportunities for those paying attention.

 

4 Takeaways from SEC Registration Charge Settlements with Airfox and Paragon

First Takeaway: The SEC Means Business and is Polishing their Playbook

First, the recent settlement of SEC Registration charges against Paragon and Airfox on November 16, 2018 is likely the first of many civil penalties levied against cryptocurrency businesses. The ruling also represents an important legal precedent where the SEC applied guidance from the 2017 DAO Report of Investigation (Release №81027 / July 25, 2017). The guidance was used to charge both Airfox and Paragon for violating Section 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act by “offering and selling these securities without having a registration statement filed or in effect with the Commission or qualifying exemption from registration with the Commission.” PRG and Airtokens were represented as “Utility Tokens” to present themselves fundamentally as glorified Kickstarter projects rather than securities.

The DAO Report set a framework to predict how the SEC would interpret securities law when applying them to ICOs despite labels as a security or utility token. Below are a few of the foundational principles of securities law from the DAO Report applied to capital raising via cryptocurrency offerings.

1) Determination of whether an investment contract exists. A key item distinguished was that the investment of “money” does not necessarily need to take the form of fiat currency. Using ETH to make investments was specifically cited (such as exchanges involving smart contracts). Tokens that fit the Howey test are determined to be securities.

2) Reasonable expectation of profits. Despite the focus on funding development projects, the tokens were presented and structured in a manner where a reasonable investor would have been motivated by the “prospect of profits on their investment.”

3) Benefit derived from the managerial efforts of others. The responsibility for shepherding the raised capital and generation of profit was assumed to be tied to the efforts of the management team. This increases in importance when considering management teams using cryptocurrencies to compensate employees and contractors.

4) Voting rights are a critical distinguishing factor. Based on the structure of these companies, there are a number of limiting items for the overall control of token holders. In addition, given that token holders are often widely dispersed and lack the ability to communicate with one another, there is an even greater burden placed on management to prove their efforts are not being relied upon for economic gain.

5) Information rights are important. Whether it is an unplanned hard fork or change in monetization strategy, it is important for token holders to have a reasonable amount of information to make an informed decision. This is likely to increase the burden on management teams to effectively communicate their results and general business plans in a more structured manner.

Second Takeaway: No Fraud Charges Levied

The SEC charged the two companies with a $250,000 fine and a cease-and-desist order until they can be properly registered. Notably, no criminal charges were applied in either case. This demonstrates that the SEC is focused on establishing registration requirements and enforcement mechanisms to create a more predictable ICO market. While these rulings may not establish a clear bright line on a number of other securities items pertaining to cryptocurrency markets, the blue prints for ICO compliance seem to be coming together.

Third Takeaway: Labeling it as a “Utility Token” Means Nothing

None of the defenses based on the label of a “utility token” were strong enough to avoid the categorization of each token as a security. A utility token is issued in order to fund development of a cryptocurrency and future marketplace where the token would be exchanged for a particular good or service. The legal defense of a utility token to avoid the label of a security is tantamount to comparing themselves to Kickstarter projects. However, the SEC determined that the promise and hope of asset inflation creates a fundamental point of distinction.

Fourth Takeaway: Investor Relations is Important

The SEC consistently discussed the promotional efforts on social media, email communications, blockchain communities / chat sites, and white papers in applying securities law. Similar to virtually every other asset class, the overall communication of the opportunity was evaluated in a legal vacuum to determine whether the tokens were securities and if they were exempt from registration.

Summary

While there are likely much more settlements in the SEC pipeline, we are starting to see the development of clear standards for ICO markets. This positive trend will culminate in more clear standards for asset monetization strategies using blockchain technology. Future guidance on the following topics are likely over the next few years:

· Equity compensation rules around distribution of cryptocurrency

· Trading rules surrounding secondary markets

· Liquidity requirements (for instance, escrow accounts held in ETH)

· Information rights

· Voting rights

· Governance structure

· Distributed ledger technology security

· Industry-specific applications (i.e., gambling, gaming, cannabis, etc.)

Questions to Ask Before Blockchain Implementation — An Interview with MIMIR Blockchain Solutions

Today, I sat down with Forrest Marshall (Software Architect) and Mustafa Inamullah (Creative Director) of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions to discuss the current state of blockchain technology and their company. The intent of the interview was to uncover some of the key value drivers of the blockchain industry and separate fact from fiction after the recent popping of the cryptocurrency bubble.

For a quick summary of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, please view the video located at the end of this blog post.

Intrinsic:
Thanks again for sitting down with us today. Given recent market dynamics (you end last paragraph with same phrase), we wanted to begin today by discussing some of the lessons from the Dot Com bubble and how they apply to blockchain. Could you discuss some of the learned themes that may have influenced your business model?

MIMIR (Mustafa):
Our focus in researching the technology bubble was to answer a simple question: what companies survived and why? No matter if you look at the Dot Com bubble of the late 90s, the Railroad bubble of the 1880s or the Tulip mania of the 1630s, the lesson is that the underlying technology or asset still exists. Innovations from the technology bubble still power economic growth, railroads continue to connect and enable businesses, and tulips can still be found at your local supermarket.

The big takeaway was that companies focusing on infrastructure to improve and sustain the internet survived. Think about Amazon, Adobe, IBM, and Oracle. With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that (1) companies focused on short-term gains were severely challenged and many even failed, (2) investors can punish you fast, and (3) infrastructure-focused companies prevailed.

Intrinsic:
How does MIMIR apply some of these lessons to their own strategy?

MIMIR (Forrest):
Since the founding of the company in 2017, we have always focused on how to provide long standing value. Initially, we set out to create a particular decentralized application (a “DAPP”). We soon realized there were serious holes in the ability to create and deploy a successful DAPP. Specifically, the ability for end-users to seamlessly and securely acquire data from the blockchain presented itself as an immediate obstacle to adoption. Therefore, our mission at MIMIR was to solve the obvious infrastructure problem to make blockchain more accessible to everyone, including users of off-chain, edge-connected devices. We have gone to lengths to educate the general public, establish credibility, and form invaluable partnerships wherever applicable.

Not many people really understand the unique strengths and weaknesses of the blockchain security model, or when and how to leverage it effectively. It is our goal to change this.

Intrinsic:
Yes, but at the same time, there are numerous internet and database security companies out there and their services improve year after year. What should companies ask themselves if they are thinking about implementing a blockchain solution rather than today’s alternatives?

MIMIR (Mustafa):
Before answering, we wanted to dispel a certain myth about blockchain technology. It isn’t a silver bullet. This technology won’t fully replace most information security systems, but it can greatly improve security and efficiency for certain mission-critical systems. There are many potential costs to consider including the limited throughput of most blockchain systems, and the limited availability of skilled blockchain developers. A quick litmus test for whether an information system really needs blockchain might be (1) is it handling mission critical information, (2) do the rules around modifying this information need to be strictly enforced, and (3) can you afford relatively low throughput for these modifications? If you didn’t answer yes to all three, there are probably better alternatives.

Intrinsic:
As a valuation firm, one of the focal points of our work is to isolate key performance indicators of a business to determine future performance and risk. One of the difficulties we have seen is that people often conflate cryptocurrency with DAPPs, with blockchain technology, with computer stuff. In addition, the categorization of blockchain technologies is still quite elementary — unless you know the industry, it is hard to understand the competitive landscape. Can you please describe how value is generated in the industry and, more specifically, by MIMIR?

MIMIR (Forrest):
One of the critical discrepancies we often note when discussing blockchain technology, and specifically its application in cryptocurrencies, is that tokens/coins themselves do not generate value. Just like a security, the underlying assets generate value. Ultimately, just as Apple stock is determined by the performance of Apple’s assets, a token or coin’s value is determined by their respective assets (if you discount some of the more behavioral based trading).

We consider ourselves a middle-ware company that adds a second layer of security to enable companies to develop DAPPs and implement them for your everyday end-user. Our mission is to build a DAPP interface to improve the security and scalability of interactions with blockchain services from resource-constrained environments. Today, there are approximately 30 million Ethereum accounts but only about 30,000 nodes serving those accounts (we note that the figures presented include multiple account ownership as well as smart contracts). This illustrates the huge discrepancy between the number of users directly interacting with the blockchain and those using third-party services.

Our system acts as a decentralized blockchain API and content-distribution network, connecting end-users with those who can serve the information they need. We will pay individuals to host blockchain data and supply it via specialized security protocols. The individuals that supply and secure the data buy into our platform via the B2i tokens (written as an Ethereum smart contract), which also acts as a contractual agreement between MIMIR and the individual. Individuals will only be able to ‘work’ up to an amount commensurate with the tokens they secured as collateral. If said individual attempts anything malicious, the collateral can be revoked and redistributed to honest parties.

Finally, in terms of categorization, you are correct in terms of the difficulty given the plethora of facts and fiction out there about the blockchain ecosystem. There are current projects aiming to figure out categorization. We recommend reviewing Tech Crunch’s classification framework as an example.

Intrinsic:
Touching more on the topic of value drivers, can these technologies contribute to an enhanced bottom line? How can companies utilize blockchain technology to improve operational efficiency?

MIMIR (Forrest):
We are positioned to capitalize on the rapid expansion expected in the DAPP industry. As the industry matures, we expect for specific applications to be developed that can enhance value. The key driver of value for this industry will be the ability for users to acquire the right information and secure it as well. Specifically, there will be large growth in IoT based devices, Decentralized Applications, and secure platforms needed for a digital identity. All of these could benefit greatly from blockchain technology, most importantly infrastructure.

Another example can be found in industries with complex supply chains. For example, let us assume an aeronautical products company like Airbus. Given the specialized requirements for each of the components that goes into building an airplane, they must be sourced from all over the world. The length of time it takes to build and ship components, risk in transporting the components, and order of units received will all play into how quickly a company can build their airplane. Also, this information goes into planning for the project, such as hiring the necessary number of workers and other financing decisions. This is a scenario where the accuracy and auditability of information is paramount, and the latency of a blockchain is inconsequential. Given the number of moving parts, the inherent fault-tolerance of blockchain data stores is a plus too. This has applicability to many global industries.

Intrinsic:
Taking a step back, could you explain how and why blockchain technology is the future? There can so much buzz about new technologies that it becomes difficult to isolate true disruptive potential from ephemeral investment fads.

MIMIR (Mustafa):
In a world facing greater digital identity security needs, we believe that the blockchain technology offers enormous upside. This not going to happen soon given the lack of infrastructure (as well as security of that infrastructure). That is why this has become our primary focus to help create this “Netscape moment” — opportunity that brings about massive adoption through better user experience. Our goal is to help facilitate this Cambrian explosion of new Decentralized Applications, by providing the necessary tools and infrastructure needed.

To say it another way, we can relate this next technological wave to the advent of the internet. Initially, the internet was not as useful for commerce because you could not trust the other party. The advent of HTTPS added an extra layer of security. You could now securely verify the identities of the entities you interact with online. If the entity was reputable, you could choose to trust the information it gave you. Blockchain technology is the next step in the process. Where HTTPS allowed you to verify the identity of an entity, blockchains allow you to verify the state of a system. If we imagine a digital chess board, HTTPS can tell you who you are playing with, and blockchain can tell you where the pieces are.

Using another example, in Healthcare there is a known gap in electronic medical records and their ability to communicate with software across other clinics. If a patient wants to track their own records, it is a nearly impossible task to first aggregate the information and then store it for future use. Furthermore, these records are a form of intellectual property, but the value may not be fully realized given the information is often disorganized and incomplete. Adding a blockchain service to verify and secure this information would save time and hassle for both patients and businesses.

We are certainly looking forward to the vast possibility of blockchain infrastructure to be used in facilitating secure growth across industries. Some industries we are particularly excited about include: advertising, fintech, compliance, auto, voting, P2P markets, and more. Collectively it’s the vast potential for the use of blockchain infrastructure that MIMIR is excited to be a part of.

Intrinsic:
Mustafa and Forrest, thanks again for taking the time out of your schedule to talk with us. It was great to hear your insight into an early but rapidly growing field.

For readers, please feel free to reach out to Mustafa or Forrest with any questions about MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. We have left their information below along with theshort introduction video.

Contact Us

Forrest Marshall
Chief Technology Officer
Forrest@MIMIRBlockchain.Solutions

Mustafa Inamullah
Creative Director
Mustafa@MIMIRBlockchain.Solutions

Telegram: https://t.me/mimirblockchain
Website: MIMIRBlockchain.Solutions

MIMIR Blockchain Solutions

— — —

Daniyal Inamullah
Vice President
Daniyal@Intrinsicfirm.com

Telegram: https://t.me/Intrinsic_Daniyal
Website: www.Intrinsicfirm.com

Policy & Procedures Checklist for Private Equity Investments in the Blockchain Industry

Overview

After the recent collapse of the cryptocurrency bubble, the appetite for institutional capital in the blockchain industry is still low, but there is an intensified focus on corporate governance, legal structure, and project teams. Investors looking to structure deals in the space need to implement appropriate methodologies for valuation and corporate governance to attract investors and create sustainable investment platform. EY’s recent study that 66% off ICOs are in the red has only increased the necessity to implement a systematic and conservative approach to investing in the space.

Don’t be caught off guard setting up proper controls for valuation policy & procedures. New valuation models such as the INET or NVT models require the assistance of experienced professions that are at the forefront of industry. Please reach out to Intrinsic today for more information!

Private Equity Checklist for Investing in the Blockchain Industry

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