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Practice Trading & Backtesting Cryptocurrency Strategies

By June 28, 2019 September 16th, 2019 Cryptocurrency
Practice Trading & Backtesting Cryptocurrency Strategies

There was a time, in the not-so-distant past, when there existed only one cryptocurrency: Bitcoin. Since the emergence of Bitcoin in 2009, there are not hundreds, but thousands of cryptocurrencies available today. Crypto investors, both individual and institutional, want to succeed in this volatile marketplace by maintaining a strong portfolio and investing in assets that will maximize their profits at the lowest possible risk. In order to properly analyze risks and profitability, crypto investors need performance metrics to measure and evaluate their trading strategies. Here, we introduce new analytics, tools and resources that help crypto investors practice trading and backtesting to optimize their strategy’s potential.

Good Performance Benchmarks

Most crypto investors track cryptocurrencies based on their price. However, if you have a plethora of cryptocurrencies in your portfolio, it is not always easy to track them individually. Instead, benchmarks and indices are useful tools for tracking the performance of multiple cryptocurrencies based on a predefined set of metrics. Benchmarks are intended to be simple, transparent, flexible to changes, easy to understand and can be applied to measure the performance of any portfolio in comparison. We will analyze the performance of two cryptocurrency benchmarks more closely: CCi30 and Bitwise 10. 

Cryptocurrency Index 30 (CCi30) is one of the oldest indexes in the cryptocurrency space – its starting value is January 1, 2015. CCi30 is based on the top 30 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization to measure overall growth, daily and long-term movement of the blockchain industry. 

Bitwise 10 Large Cap Crypto Index (Bitwise 10) tracks the total return of the 10 largest cryptocurrency assets. These assets are measured and weighted by free-float and 5-year inflation-adjusted market capitalization.

What Do You Get In Return?

Timing is everything. When you enter the cryptocurrency market, results in different rates of return on your investment. Let’s explore three different scenarios. 

If you entered the cryptocurrency market in January 2017, CCi30 and Bitwise 10 benchmarks show that your return rates lie between 500-750% in profits (Figure 1a). In contrast, if you entered the market in January 2018, your return rates lie between 70-80% in losses (Figure 1b). Finally, if you entered the market in January 2019, your return rates lie between 10-20% in profits (Figure 1c). 

Figure 1a. Performance of CCi30 and Bitwise 10 benchmarks if investor entered the cryptocurrency market in January 2017. Return rates lie between 500-750% profit. 

Cryptocurrency Backtesting: Benchmark Return CCi30 BITX

Figure 1b. Performance of CCi30 and Bitwise 10 benchmarks if investor entered the cryptocurrency market in January 2018. Return rates lie between 70-80% loss. 

Cryptocurrency Backtesting: Benchmark Return CCi30 BITX

Figure 1c. Performance of CCi30 and Bitwise 10 benchmarks if investor entered the cryptocurrency market in January 2019. Return rates lie between 10-20% profit. 

Cryptocurrency Backtesting: Benchmark Return CCi30 BITX

Putting It To The Test

We tried a simple experiment starting January 1, 2019 to determine how profitable we will be compared to cryptocurrency benchmarks CCi30 and Bitwise 10. In the first week, we invested in 5 cryptocurrencies based on one of the two strategies below. After one week, we sold all 5 cryptocurrencies. We repeated this process every two weeks by selecting another set of 5 cryptocurrencies. 

Strategy 1

In our first strategy, Strategy 1, we choose the top 5 cryptocurrencies with the largest total returns in the past 30 days, found readily in our biweekly Market Reports. For example, in our latest market report from June 24, 2019 (Figure 2), the top 5 cryptocurrencies are Hypercash (HC), MonaCoin (MONA), Bitcoin SV (BSV), GXChain (GXC), and Bytom (BTM). Total returns in the past 30 days is also available in real-time through our Coinscious Terminal

Figure 2. Mean daily returns, historical daily volatility, total returns, and ex-post Sharpe ratio for each cryptocurrencies with the highest total returns from May 25, 2019 to June 23, 2019. The Sharpe ratio is calculated with the 10 year US Treasury bill rate as the annual risk-free rate.

Crypto Report - HyperCasH HC, MONA, BSV, GXC, BTM

Strategy 2

In our second strategy, Strategy 2, we choose the top 5 cryptocurrencies based on Sharpe ratios from the past 30 days, found in our Advanced Market Reports. The Sharpe ratio is a risk adjusted measure of return that describes the reward per unit of risk. The reward is the average excess returns of an investment against a benchmark or risk-free rate of return, and the risk is the standard deviation of the excess returns. A higher Sharpe ratio is better. Ex-ante Sharpe ratio is calculated with expected returns whereas ex-post Sharpe ratio is calculated with realized historical returns.

Will We Profit?

We ran our experiment every two weeks for three months. Now, let’s look at how our strategies, Strategy 1 and Strategy 2, perform when compared to cryptocurrency benchmarks CCi30 and Bitwise 10. 

Figure 3 shows that if we entered the cryptocurrency market on January 1, 2019, based on CCi30 and Bitwise 10 benchmarks, our rate of return lies between 10-20%. In comparison, the strategies from our experiment are much more profitable. By using Strategy 1, we yield an 80% return rate while Strategy 2 yields a 50% return rate. 

Figure 3. Cumulative return rates for CCi30 and Bitwise 10 benchmarks, Strategy 1 and Strategy 2 between January 1, 2019 to March 30, 2019. 

Cryptocurrency Backtesting: Benchmark Return CCi30 BITX Benchmark

We can look at performances of Strategy 1 and Strategy 2 through additional plots such as 30-day rolling Sharpe ratio versus time; 30-day volatility versus time; and drawdowns versus time. 

In figure 4a, we see that the 30-day rolling Sharpe ratio constantly decreases for Strategy 2 between the beginning of February to mid-March. This is helpful to perceive as we may consider changing our strategy if the Sharpe ratio continues to decline even further. 

Figure 4a. 30-day rolling Sharpe ratio for Strategy 1 and Strategy 2 between January 1, 2019 to March 30, 2019. 

Cryptocurrency Backtesting: 30-day rolling Sharpe ratio for Strategy 1 and Strategy 2 between January 1, 2019 to March 30, 2019.

Figure 4b. 30-day rolling volatility for Strategy 1 and Strategy 2 between January 1, 2019 to March 30, 2019.

Cryptocurrency Backtesting: 30-day rolling volatility for Strategy 1 and Strategy 2 between January 1, 2019 to March 30, 2019.

Figure 4c. Drawdowns for Strategy 1 and Strategy 2 between January 1, 2019 to March 30, 2019.

Cryptocurrency Backtesting: Drawdown

Practice Makes Perfect

Crypto investors are risk takers who know there’s a huge potential for profit. In order to make the most of their portfolio, crypto investors need access to high-quality historical and real-time technical data to backtest, evaluate, and optimize their trading strategies. By providing direct access to our team’s analysis, tools and accurate data, we make it easy for crypto investors to have all the necessary means to succeed on their own or through our backtesting services. In doing so, crypto investors can adequately manage a strong, profitable portfolio that has one, hundreds, or even thousands of cryptocurrencies.

Learn More

Find out more about all the freely accessible tools and resources we highlighted in this article.

TERMINAL

  • Coinscious Terminal: real-time analytics on the top 100 coins/tokens, 18 mainstream crypto exchanges, and top technical trading indicators

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Disclaimer

The information contained herein is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a research report or investment advice. It should not be construed as Coinscious recommending investment in cryptocurrencies or other products or services, or as a solicitation to buy or sell any security or engage in a particular investment strategy. Investment in the crypto market entails substantial risk. Before acting on any information, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and consult all available material, and, if necessary, seek professional advice.

Coinscious and its partners, directors, shareholders and employees may have a position in entities referred to herein or may make purchases and/or sales from time to time, or they may act, or may have acted in the past, as an advisor to certain companies mentioned herein and may receive, or may have received, a remuneration for their services from those companies.

Neither Coinscious or its partners, directors, shareholders or employees shall be liable for any damage, expense or other loss that you may incur out of reliance on any information contained in this report.

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