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How Much Have Those Who Held onto Their Cryptocurrency Lost in 2018?

If you’d HODLed through 2018, how much would your cryptocurrency investment be worth now?

Being left holding the bag while others cash out all around you is not a nice feeling.

We’re deep in the throes of a bear market across the board, so it’s time to put a little perspective out there. Traditional investors may have heard the horror stories from our side of the aisle, but their own stocks and shares are sliding on the back of growing US-China trade and tariff worries, America’s slowing economy, and towering company valuations.

So if new money is going to flood in to cryptocurrency investments, what could they expect?

A disclaimer, first. Crypto trading for profit is very difficult and most people lose more than they gain. This is not investment advice. Even if the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap have been oversold they may still fall in value. You should never invest more than you are willing to lose, and you should always do your own research.

Back in the Real World

The classic advice from investment managers is that timing the market – that is, making trades to capitalise on fluctuating stock prices – is not as important as time inthe market.

The advice to just HODL seems to cut across investing, whichever world you live in.

If we look at the Standard and Poor 500 index over the last 10 years, we can see a very broad upwards movement.

The prevailing wisdom from financial advisors is that if we can keep hold of our stocks and carry on drip feeding in our cash over time, any losses will be smoothed over by this general trend line.

Slow Bleed

We don’t have nine decades of financial data available to compare prices as we do in traditional stock markets. This is still a nascent industry and some of the top 10 coins have not even been with us for two years.

There is a prevalence of focus on the immediate short term in cryptocurrency investing, but taking a longer view than the popular 24-hour volume or seven-day charts can provide some useful context.

The last 12 months in cryptocurrency investing has felt like a worst-case scenario playing out in real time.

After all, prices of the top ten coins have slid by an alarming amount in the past 12 months. One need only read the r/cryptocurrency subreddit for repeat tales of woe, debt and portfolio heartbreak.

This time last year, investors were being swept up on a wave of day-by-day gains. By the end of Christmas 2017 huge value spikes saw prices spiral to their all time highs.

But just how much have HODLers really lost in the last year?

If we bypass the reams and reams of altcoins (or shitcoins, if you prefer), and focus on the top 10 cryptocurrencies, the news is not good.

What’s the Opposite of Moon?

For argument’s sake, if you had put $1,000 into each of the top 10 coins exactly 12 months ago and simply HODLed, this is how much you would have today.

Prices and positions have been calculated using and were correct as of 5 December 2018.

Bitcoin (BTC)

Position by Market Cap (5 Dec 2017): 1

Position by Market Cap (5 Dec 2018): 1

Price (5 Dec 2017):  $ 11,667.13

Price (5 Dec 2018):  $ 3,946.20

Gain/loss: 66.18% LOSS

$1,000 investment now worth:   $ 338.23

Ethereum (ETH)

Position by Market Cap (5 Dec 2017): 2

Position by Market Cap (5 Dec 2018): 2

Price (5 Dec 2017):   $ 453.96

Price (5 Dec 2018):   $ 109.76


$1,000 investment now worth:   $ 241.78

Bitcoin Cash (BCH)

Position by Market Cap (5 Dec 2017): 3

Position by Market Cap (5 Dec 2018): 13

Price (5 Dec 2017):   $ 1,421.42

Price (5 Dec 2018):   $ 174.50

Gain/loss: 87.72% LOSS

$1,000 investment now worth:    $ 122.76  


Position by Market Cap (5 Dec 2017): 4

Position by Market Cap (5 Dec 2018): 4

Price (5 Dec 2017):  $0.2337

Price (5 Dec 2018):  $0.3504

Gain/loss: 49.94% GAIN

$1,000 investment now worth:    $ 1,499.36


Position by Market Cap (5 Dec 2017): 5

Position by Market Cap (5 Dec 2018): 6

Price (5 Dec 2017):   $ 731.29

Price (5 Dec 2018):   $ 85.56

Gain/loss: 88.30% LOSS

$1,000 investment now worth:    $ 117.00

Litecoin (LTC)

Position by Market Cap (5 Dec 2017): 6

Position by Market Cap (5 Dec 2018): 5

Price (5 Dec 2017):   $ 100.49

Price (5 Dec 2018):   $ 31.04

Gain/loss: 69.11% LOSS

$1,000 investment now worth:    $ 308.89

Bitcoin Gold (BTG)

Position by Market Cap (5 Dec 2017): 7

Position by Market Cap (5 Dec 2018): 74

Price (5 Dec 2017):   $ 277.66  

Price (5 Dec 2018):   $ 16.34

Gain/loss: 94.12% LOSS

$1,000 investment now worth:    $ 58.85


Position by Market Cap (5 Dec 2017): 8

Position by Market Cap (5 Dec 2018): 40

Price (5 Dec 2017):  $ 3.82

Price (5 Dec 2018):  $ 0.2775

Gain/loss: 92.74% LOSS

$1,000 investment now worth:    $ 72.64

Cardano (ADA)

Position by Market Cap (5 Dec 2017): 9

Position by Market Cap (5 Dec 2018): 21

Price (5 Dec 2017):  $0.1295

Price (5 Dec 2018):  $0.0376

Gain/loss: 70.97% LOSS

$1,000 investment now worth:    $ 290.35

Monero (XMR)

Position by Market Cap (5 Dec 2017): 10

Position by Market Cap (5 Dec 2018): 10

Price (5 Dec 2017):  $0.02125

Price (5 Dec 2018):  $0.01422

Gain/loss: 33.08% LOSS

$1,000 investment now worth:    $ 669.18

And in Total…

Total starting investment: $10,000

Total investment value (5 Dec 2018):  $ 2,686.87

Overall gain/loss: 73.13% LOSS

2018 Losers and Losers

Only XRP comes out with any positive values from the last 12 months with a jump of 44.94%.

Of the rest, privacy-focused Monero lost the least, down 33.08%, followed by market leader Bitcoin, under by 66.18%, Charlie Lee’s Litecoin, which sank by 69.11% and once-promising Cardano, which lost 70.97%.

The final five have lost three-quarters of their value or more: enough to leave even the most optimistic trader weeping into their Lamborghini catalogue.

Ethereum took a 75.82% hit, Bitcoin Cash – or what’s left of it after the contentious ABC/SV hard fork – is off by 87.72% and DASH has sprinted down by 88.30%.

The most crushing losses come from IOTA, dropping 32 places, and Bitcoin Gold, falling by over 60 spots, with slumps of 92.74% and 94.12% respectively.

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