Crypto Opportunity Cost

What is the cost of not investing in cryptocurrency?

 Cryptocurrency has soared into the public consciousness over the past few years, with more and more people investing their savings into cryptocurrencies. Although some will have lost out, many have made money as the value of their crypto wallets has risen with the coin.

For those who have not invested, how much are you missing out? According to a recent survey by Bankrate, the average national interest rate on savings accounts is just 0.07% per year in the USA. This would mean that if you put $20 in a savings account five years ago, you would have earned an extra $7 on average. Not bad, but far more could be earned by investing that same amount in cryptocurrencies.

By investigating the increase in value of the top-performing cryptocurrencies over the past half-decade, we have been able to discover which returned the most from a $20 investment. On top of this, we have compared them to how much you could earn from investing in the shares of 50 of the biggest companies, as well as other various products. Consequently, we can identify the biggest missed opportunities for investors five years ago, and why you should consider investing in crypto in the future.

Top five best cryptocurrencies to invest in

1: Shiba Inu
Value Increase: 2,207,743%
Total return on $20 investment: $441,569

Since it was launched almost two years ago, Shiba Inu has risen in value by over 2.2 million percent, although the price of one Shiba Inu coin is still worth far less than a single cent. But in the summer of 2020, there was an extra five zeros after the decimal place. Consequently, those who spent $20 would have got almost 40 billion Shiba Inu coins, worth over $440,000 today.

2: Binance Coin (BNB)
Value increase: 287,365%
Total return on $20 investment: $57,493

Binance Coin, also known as BNB was launched in 2018, and since then it has skyrocketed in value. A single BNB coin will set you back $309.60 today, whereas it was only $0.11 five years ago. This is a rise of just under 290,000%, had you invested, you would have increased your original $20 investment to over $57,000 today.

3: Axie Infinity
Value increase: 14,917%
Total return on $20 investment: $3,003

Axie Infinity is a popular crypto game, which has its own currency, this cryptocurrency is now worth £21.91, increasing from $0.15 when it was launched. This constitutes a rise of almost 15,000%, an investment of $20 would now be worth just over $3,000.

4: Polygon
Value increase: 13,526%
Total return on $20 investment: $2,725

The Polygon cryptocurrency will earn you over $2,750 on a $20 investment back in 2019. When it was launched, it had a value of less than $0.005, this has risen by over $13,000 and a coin is worth $0.65 today.

5: Decentraland
Value increase: 5,657%
Total return on $20 investment: $1,151

Decentraland is a cryptocurrency that has been around since September 2017. When it was launched it was worth two cents, but now it has a value of over a dollar. This means it has risen by over 5,000% and would turn a $20 investment into $1,151.

How does crypto compare to other forms of investment?

Cryptocurrencies are by far the best form of product to invest in as the average amount earned from the top 50 cryptocurrencies is far higher than stocks, savings, and other products. The median returns on the $20 investment for crypto were over $85, which is more than $50 more than the average for stocks and other products, and almost $60 more than investing in savings.

Out of the 151 things that could be invested in that we studied, the top 15 highest returns were found in Cryptocurrencies. The highest returning non-crypto investment would be in the rare earth material rhodium, which returned $308. The only other non-crypto currency in the top 20 were shares in the electric car company Tesla (whose owner Elon Musk is one of the most prominent cryptocurrency champions), and $20 invested in Tesla returned over $222 after five years.

Top three best stocks to invest in

1: Tesla
Price increase: 1,011%
Total return on $20 investment: $222

Tesla (and its stock) is a company closely associated with cryptocurrency (especially Bitcoin), as its maverick owner Elon Musk often trades in Bitcoin. The world’s rapid adoption of electric cars over the past few years has seen the value of Tesla shares skyrocket from under $65 in 2017 to over $718 today.

Price increase: 362%
Total return on $20 investment: $92

Software company NVIDIA has the shares that have risen by the second-highest amount over the past half-decade, although they are not close to matching Tesla. NVIDIA designs GPUs, SOCs, and APIs for computers and mobile devices, and recently has become a leader in the development of artificial intelligence.

3: Apple
Price increase: 293%
Total return on $20 investment: $79

Tech giant Apple saw a price increase of nearly 300% in the five year time period, with their share price rising from just above $37 to just over $146. In that time period, the company has gone through five generations of its iPhone, and the Apple Watch device has become a mainstay.

Top three best other products to invest in

1: Rhodium
Price increase: 1,442%
Total return on $20 investment: $308

Rare earth metal rhodium is used in electrical components as well as nuclear reactors. The price of the metal has skyrocketed, in 2017 a troy ounce (t.oz) of rhodium was worth $960, whereas today it is worth $14,800.

2: Coal
Price increase: 414%
Total return on $20 investment: $103

The world is trying to rely less on coal power due to its impact on the planet, however many countries still use millions of tons of it for power. As coal is running out and the tax on using it has been raised in some countries, the value has shot up from $79.45 per ton in 2017 to $408 per ton today.

3: Nickel
Price increase: 232%
Total return on $20 investment: $66

Nickel was expensive back in 2017, it cost almost $9,000 for a ton of the metal. That is a snip when compared to the almost $30,000 that a ton of nickel would set you back today. Nickel is used in batteries for electric cars, which is one reason that demand for it has shot up.


  • The average inflation rate for a savings account was sourced from Bankrate.
  • Cryptocurrency data was sourced from CoinMarketCap. We used the 50 top cryptocurrencies in the study. As many cryptocurrencies are not as old as five years, we took the first price available. Data was collected on the 6th June 2022, and 5-year data was from the 6th June 2017.
  • The 50 biggest companies ranked by market cap were sourced from CompaniesMarketCap, any company that’s shares are not traded on the US stock market was removed.
  • We then sourced the price of the shares for each company 5 years ago and today (7th of June), this was sourced from com.
  • For other products, data was sourced from Trading Economics.
  • We subtracted the 2017 (or launch) value from the 2022 value for all types of investment products to discover the growth rate over time.
  • We then multiplied $20 by this figure to determine the return on that $20 investment today.