DataLight Longreads

Dead Coins and Survivorship Bias

April 19, 2019


Dead Coins and Survivorship Bias

Looking at the Top-10 Coins Capitalization Race (2013 —2019) reveals just how many early cryptoassets have fallen by the wayside. While early coins such as Namecoin, Peercoin and Novacoin are not ‘dead,’ but have been far eclipsed in market cap by newcomers since 2013, some cryptocurrencies have completely subsided.

Freicoin, for example has been all but dormant since 2014, and according to is officially “deceased.” Other notably dormant cryptocurrencies include Devcoin which has been pretty quiet since mid-2014 and BitShares PTS which seems all but deceased since the last major price activity in early 2015.

These early projects offer important lessons for those in the industry today. “Survivorship bias” is a logical bias where people concentrate disproportionately on ideas or things that have survived into the present, ignoring those that failed to make it. Crypto analysts and traders alike may benefit therefore if they pay close attention to why and how these early projects failed, in addition to studying the current crop of top cryptoassets. This visualisation acts as a reminder to avoid this bias.

Another interesting feature to note from the earlier projects in the top 10 was how prevalent “coin” was in the name of cryptoassets, before gradually losing ground to other altcoin names as tokens gained popularity and stepped somewhat out of bitcoin’s shadow.

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