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.  

With December 2018 Rate Hike Locked In, Headwinds Accelerate for Cryptocurrency Exchanges

CME’s Group FedWatch is currently assessing the probability of a 0.25% rate hike in the federal funds rate to be 82.7%. In the most recent FOMC minutes, the group indicated “Almost all participants expressed the view that another increase in the target range for the federal funds rate was likely to be warranted fairly soon.” Compounded with the accelerating hacker problem faced by the exchanges, the long popping of the crypto bubble, and an SEC tightening their grips on registration requirements, exchanges are looking at material headwinds to attract capital.

Major Cryptocurrency Exchange / Platform Hacks

Why do Interest Rates Matter?

The response of cryptocurrency asset performance after last 5 or 6 rate hikes (represented by the dotted black lines below) has had a negative impact on crypto price performance.  The chart below demonstrates that the collapse of the crypto bubble during Q1 2018 coincides almost perfectly with the December 2017 rate hike decision. All subsequent rate hikes had a negative impact on crypto asset performance.

Cryptos Versus Rate Hikes

The interest hikes hurt the exchanges in two ways. First, the exchanges are primarily comprised of non-interest bearing deposit accounts. As interest rates rise, traditional deposit accounts will become more attractive. Second, the lack of a futures / forward market for cryptos means the exchanges are forced to be long commodity / crypto volatility with limited choices for risk management. Another item that compounds the issue is that these exchanges lack cash flow diversification such as fee-based services offered by traditional banks.

One area still unexplored is the impact of an inverted yield curve on the price performance of cryptos. Will they become more popular for individuals given the signal of a future recession? Will retail investors try to avoid Federal Reserve exposure by shifting to more digital asset classes? Per the chart above, the 10-2 spread is now sitting at 0.11%. In the past two decades, the 10-2 spread has never reached this level without the yield curve becoming inverted in the near future. The answers to these questions are certainly not going to be answered in the near future; however, observance of these trends may signal future retail investor behavior – especially as regulatory, security, and customer service standards begin to mature.

Change May be Coming

The innovative spirit of the blockchain community has not turned a blind eye to the problem. Coinbase recently invested in Compound, a platform that enables cryptocurrency holders to earn ‘interest’ on their holdings. The goal of Compound is to created tokenized versions of fiat currencies (like the US dollar). Other players such as the Winklevoss brothers’ Gemini Coin, MakerDao, Tether, and other ‘Stablecoin’ projects recognize the importance of creating a digital asset replicating fiat currency. Key features of a winning technology will likely include a secure platform, low volatility, and corporate governance transparency.