by Jamie Holmes
The returns accrued by investors in the cryptocurrency market were phenomenal for 2017. With many newcomers entering the space, we identify several constructions of profitable crypto asset portfolios.
We focus on three central themes; gaining exposure to the crypto asset market as a whole, privacy-focused cryptocurrencies and tokens associated with decentralized exchanges.
The “CoinMarketCap” Index
The idea of index tracking is a simple strategy to gain exposure to the growth of the entire cryptocurrency market. With this approach, we can weigh the top ten (or fifteen) cryptocurrencies by market capitalization and invest accordingly.
For instance, we see below by weighting by market capitalization, more than 50 percent of your portfolio should be in bitcoin, with around 15 percent in ether and 10 percent in bitcoin cash. Of course, you can use your discretion to modify this slightly; for example, the author would suggest putting more weight on LTC and XMR, while reducing weight on ETH and BCH.
By rotating these weights every two weeks, every month, or every three months, etc., the portfolio weights are adjusted as the cryptocurrency market evolves. The benefit of this setup is that you will be exposed to the fluctuations of the most valuable cryptoassets and your personal views or perspectives on specific cryptocurrencies are overridden by adherence to a simple rule.
The “CoinGecko” Index
The idea is similar to the one presented above, except we weight by market capitalization for the top ten (or fifteen) according to the proprietary ranking system used by CoinGecko. This portfolio is preferred to the one above as it takes into account the liquidity of cryptoassets, their popularity, the strength of their community and actual development activity.
Compare with the CoinMarketCap and we see a different picture, with bitcoin taking a more significant share. Different coins are also suggested, with NEO included in this one and dropping ADA. As with the previous schematic, we can adjust the weight every week, month or three months.
Privacy coins enjoyed a solid year, and it is likely 2018 will see these cryptocurrencies galvanize their gains. In what follows, we construct a discretionary portfolio.
Monero (XMR) is the leading coin in this space and is anticipated to continue to perform well as the development activity continues to make significant strides while community building initiatives and public interest are also beginning to take off. The Monero project will implement bulletproofs in March 2018, which will help alleviate the scaling concerns that have seen the fees of the cryptocurrency rise dramatically over 2017. The team is also exploring various avenues to improve monero, such as zk-SNARKs without a trusted setup and SPECTRE.
Adoption is increasing too, as the multisignature update will be merged into the next release and open up various use cases for enterprise. As the most promising privacy coin in the author’s opinion, we put a 40 percent weight on Monero.
AEON is another CryptoNote-derived altcoin that should be on your radar. The rebasing of the code to match Monero’s development has yet to be achieved, but once it is, there will likely be an explosion of interest and monero developers will be able to contribute more to the project. The coin aims to be a lightweight, mobile-friendly and private cryptocurrency. We put the weight at ten percent for AEON.
Zcash (ZEC) is another privacy-focused coin. Zk-SNARKs have been a hot topic in 2017, and the team has made progress in making computations more efficient and opening the door to further adoption and light clients. However, the trusted setup and corporate feel of zcash means we would instead put higher weights on other projects that are utilizing similar technology. Of course, this is just the author’s discretion. We put a five percent weight on ZEC.
To gain exposure to coins based on zk-SNARKs, we can also include ZenCash (ZEN) at which we put at ten percent as well as ZClassic (ZCL). Both are forks of zcash, removing the founder’s reward. ZCL-BTC has recently exploded, moving higher and exceeding 100 percent growth in recent days. ZenCash also gained massively in value toward the end of 2017.
Zcoin is not a fork of Zcash, and instead, uses RSA accumulators which were introduced in 1993, but both share similar roots by way of the Zerocoin protocol. While it shares a trusted setup and founder’s reward with Zcash, it is done differently in XZC, and Zcoin can be audited. Also, Zcoin recently released master nodes which will help to lock up the coin supply, which is likely lead to further appreciation. Thus we place a weight of ten percent in this altcoin.
We also include some lower cap privacy coins for purposes of diversification. Firstly, NAV could be an underappreciated cryptocurrency, which is built on Bitcoin Core. After displaying growth over 2017, the altcoin could be worth holding through 2018 as development progresses. Secondly, PIVX is another cryptocurrency worth watching, which has appreciated from under $1 to more than $10 over 2017. Finally, we include Komodo (KMD); the Jumblr protocol is based on Zcash’s zk-SNARKs and ranks at number 34 on Coinmarketcap.
Decentralized Exchanges (DEX)
Exchanges have long been a weak point of the cryptocurrency ecosystem. With hacks, insider trading accusations, and a general poor customer service for many of the large exchanges, decentralized exchanges have everything to gain. 2018 could be the year of decentralized exchanges.
$ZRX and projects like Radar Relay seem like a no brainer after the past few weeks – Bitfinex, Coinbase, EtherDelta, etc.
Do you think decentralized exchanges will be a big deal in 2018?
— Carter Thomas (@carterthomas) December 21, 2017
The token for the 0x protocol (ZRX) is perhaps the most well-known and most valued. The token stands around $0.60 at the time of writing and provides a protocol for decentralized exchanges. As the highest volume DEX token, with more than $8 million in past 24 hours, we place a high weight on this crypto asset. Several decentralized exchanges are being built on top of this protocol, such as Ethfinex, Paradex, and The 0cean.
Another DEX coin is BridgeCoin (BCO) which provides profit sharing for token holders; BCO was created July 2017. Fifty percent of all profits from the exchange is shared with the owners, which offers investors another way to gain from the growth of decentralized exchanges apart from the rising value of the token itself. As a promising project with potential for high growth, we place a weight of 30 percent, as with ZRX.
WAVES provides a (partially) decentralized exchange within their wallet client. The altcoin has appreciated substantially over 2017 and looks set for further growth in 2018. The WAVES DEX has been operational for some time now, and currently attracts more than $1.5 million in volume on a daily basis. Due to its visibility and potential for growth, we give WAVES a 20 percent weight.
BlockNet (BLOCK) is another cryptocurrency on which to keep your eye. In 2018, their decentralized exchange beta is anticipated. With a market capitalization of $167 million, the project provides a decentralized, Blockchain-as-a-Service offering. We place a ten percent weight on this token.
FYP, similar to BCO, will share 50 percent of the profits from the Flyp.me exchange operations with holders of the ERC20 token. The exchange plans to integrated atomic swaps and has the ambition to become the leading accountless exchange. The trading volume is quite low, however, trading on the HitBTC exchange but is worth including in a DEX portfolio with a five percent weighting.
AirSwap, a decentralized exchange for ERC20 assets, implements the Swap protocol and the AST tokens are a crucial part of the platform. The tokens have two uses; first, the token will be used to signal intent to trade Ethereum-based tokens and will also give traders voting power to manage the roles of Oracles within the platform.