Editor's note: In January 2024, CoinDesk Indices introduced a new benchmark called the CoinDesk 20 Index. It is not the same as the discontinued index described in the following story, which was originally published in 2022.
All good things must come to an end, but in the case of the CoinDesk 20 – our list of the most relevant assets in the crypto markets – the end means a passing of the baton to something better and new: the CoinDesk Market Index (CMI) family, a group of indices that serve as a benchmark for cryptocurrencies and the spiritual successor to the CD20.
When we launched the CoinDesk 20 in the summer of 2020, the goal was to identify the assets that matter most to the market. At the time, bitcoin and ether were together the lion’s share of the market (they still are), and alternative coins flooded the market but only a few stood out. The CoinDesk 20 captured the 20 most important digital assets in the market based on a formula that weeded out flash-in-the-pan tokens and best represented what most of the market was looking at. Regularly, the CoinDesk 20’s total market cap was well above 90% of the overall market.
Today, it’s a different world. More networks are showing they can provide viable cryptocurrencies, and specialization is becoming more apparent.
On our end, CoinDesk also has more resources and technological capabilities than it did when launched the CoinDesk 20, thanks in large part to our acquisition of what is now CoinDesk Indices. Now we can provide incredible amounts of data and calculations to measure how the market is doing, and boil them down to a specific number: the CMI, an index of the most important coins out there, weighted by market capitalization.
What’s more, CoinDesk Indices has also developed one of the most important projects out there for crypto asset managers: the Digital Asset Classification Standard (DACS). The DACS classifies 500 of the biggest cryptocurrencies into a three-tiered hierarchy of six sectors, 23 industry groups and 36 industries. Those six sectors are currency, smart contract platforms, decentralized finance, culture and entertainment, and computing and digitization.
The CoinDesk 20 was a useful, informative tool for those following cryptocurrency markets, but with the advent of the CMI and the DACS CoinDesk now provides better, more robust ways to help everyone from crypto whales to crypto novices get a handle on the markets.
This is just one of the many ways CoinDesk constantly iterates and improves what we offer the markets as this latest financial revolution takes shape.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.