How Many Cryptos Died in 2019?

How Many Cryptos Died in 2019?
(Source: iStock/ozgurdonmaz)

Data from various sites show that between 500 and a thousand coins have perished in 2019, and this number could in fact be higher. However, these sites disagree on whether 2019 saw fewer or more coin deaths than the year before.

It's not really possible to say how many dead coins are out there exactly, and this number changes practically every minute. It also depends on how one defines a dead coin. In general, dead projects are those that were scams or were connected to scams, never delivered a product, have a dead website, have been abandoned by their founders, or have extremely low or no trading volumes and adoption rates, etc.

DeadCoins.com is one of the websites that track failed cryptocurrency projects at it currently has 1,839 listed as dead for a number of reasons since 2017. The coins on this site are presented with a reason as to why they've died, including hacks, parodies, jokes which the tracker says couldn't have been taken seriously, like 'CuntCoin', but majority of them were scam projects.

The available data shows the following:

674 coins were added as dead in 2017 647 coins died in 2018518 coins died in 2019

What this suggests is not only that there were fewer dead coins between 2017 and 2018, but that there was almost a 20% drop in the number of deaths in 2019.

Another aptly-titled site is Coinopsy, which shows 1,407 dead entries in total, for projects that ended from 2013 onward. The data shows, besides 85 coins whose death is marked as 'current':

2 dead projects in 2013209 dead coins in 2014235 dead coins in 2015169 dead coins in 2016223 dead coins in 2017399 dead coins in 201885 dead coins in 2019

Unlike DeadCoins, Coinopsy shows a year-to-year rise in deaths (except in 2016), including in 2018. 2019 shows far fewer coins though, which would make it a 79% drop from 2018, but as the data is crowdsourced and has to wait for the posting on the site, there’s still a chance that the site will show this number as higher in the near future.

What is also noticeable on this site is that the majority of the listed coins seem to have died due to the abandonment by their founders. This group of coins is followed by the alleged 'scams' group. The site also mentions joke projects. We know that Dogecoin (ranked 32nd by market capitalization) started out as one, but its success seems to be an exception rather than a rule, as other coins failed, for example, BieberCoin or HoboNickes or AnalCoin.

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Furthermore, CoinCodeCap is looking into the projects GitHub activity as a way to check their overall activity, purpose and dedication to the project. If a project hasn't had a single line of code in the last 90 days or more, they declare it dead. In a September report, their team writes that they've analyzed 2,071 project and found that 638 coins published not a single code in 2019, as their detailed sheet shows, which is close to the DeadCoin’s number. However, according to CoinCodeCap’s research, there wasn’t a drop, but rise since 2018, when this number was 466.

They've published an October report soon after, which looked into and analyzed 3,162 projects and found 1,240 of them dead. Additionally, seven exchanges have listed more than 100 dead projects, they say.

Finally, if we go by the definition of very low daily trading volumes as a sign of death or at least incoming death, we find quite a few such coins on Coinpaprika and CoinMarketCap. Many of these have (far) less than USD 1,000 daily trading volume. For example, in the last 24 hours, 2Give has had trading volume of USD 0.003121; 7ELEVEN had USD 0.041027; 808Coin had USD 50.46; 3DCoin had USD 73.39, etc. We've written previously about ten coins that are worth almost zero, some of which have already been declared dead.

That said, the fact remains that many more coins are likely to meet their demise in this new year, though it'll be interesting to see if the trend continues downwards, or we see a jump in their numbers.

Quite a few industry experts have made their predictions for 2020 and the decade before us, for example those by Coinbase CEO, Brian Armstrong, or those by investment company Blockchain Capital. And though the industry specialists, traders, and analysts may put emphasis on different things, what seems common to most of them is the belief that the market will mature and evolve in the future, toughen up, see more developments and consolidations – and such a market would likely push many bad or weak projects out.

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