In brief

  • On January 1, 2020, an anonymous investor put $100 in each of the top ten cryptocurrencies by market capitalization.
  • On January 1, 2021, the $1000 in crypto was worth $2,395, representing an increase of 139%.
  • The S&P 500, by contrast, grew just 16% this year.

A cryptocurrency investor tracked ten cryptocurrencies over the course of 2020 and found that they performed over eight times better than the US stock market.

The investor, who goes by Joe-M-4 on Reddit, claimed to have put $1,000 in the top ten largest cryptocurrencies by market cap on January 1, 2020. 

On January 1, 2021, that portfolio was worth $2,395, an astonishing increase of 139.47%. By comparison, the S&P 500 grew just 16%.


The investor did the same thing in 2019 with less spectacular results; the top ten cryptocurrencies didn’t beat the stock market, though the total crypto market cap swelled by 67%, which suggests that much of the growth was in other coins.

Joe’s $1,000 in crypto finished 2019 up by about 2% while the S&P 500 ended the year up 29%.

And in the 2018 iteration of the experiment, that initial $1,000 in the top ten cryptos was worth just $152 at the end of the year—a loss of 85%. The S&P 500, in contrast, dropped by just 6%.

Of the ten cryptocurrencies Joe invested in last year, only seven are still on the list of the top ten largest cryptocurrencies by market cap. EOS, Bitcoin SV, and Tezos all fell by varying degrees; Tezos, now the 20th largest cryptocurrency, fell the most. Chainlink, Cardano, and Polkadot have taken their place. 

XRP started the year in third place and was in third place at the start of December, too, before its creators were hit with an enormous lawsuit from the SEC. It’s now in fourth, but was briefly in fifth earlier this month.


Some things remain solid, however: Bitcoin is still the top dog and Ethereum is still #2.

Despite the global financial crisis brought on by the pandemic, traditional finance actually did pretty well this year. But crypto did even better.


The views and opinions expressed by the author are for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial, investment, or other advice.

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