For the most part, things generally work fine on a day to day basis. This belies, however, the true fragility of the system. It’s hard to anticipate these things before they happen, because it’s so easy to fall into the trap of assuming that things will always be as they mostly always have been. If things have been fine yesterday, and the day before, and the few years before that, or even the few decades before that, we just naturally assume that they will continue to be fine for the indefinite future.
Trustlessness in this sense is a huge component and advantage of bitcoin and cryptocurrency at large. Another ground-breaking innovation the blockchain introduces is the concept of a smart contract, or a contract that similarly requires no trust or middleman to mediate, but is rather contractually executed in a deterministic fashion through code run on the blockchain.
Exposure to a particular cryptocurrency is primarily dependent on your risk appetite. This can be defined simply as, your tolerance towards taking risk. Using traditional investment markets as an example, if your tolerance towards risk is neutral, then a typical investment portfolio would be 50% equities and 50% bonds. Equities are known to be riskier than bonds, but also offer higher returns as a result. Conversely, bonds tend to be a safer asset than stocks, but offer a lower return over time as a result. Combined together, a balanced portfolio is produced, not too much risk, but also not too safe.
This part will be wildly subjective. Crypto has the potential to realize many ‘rags to riches’ stories, but its volatility makes it unpredictable. As a precaution, the money you put in crypto should be money that you are fine with losing. I cannot emphasize the importance of this as we often underestimate how the volatility affects our emotional capacities. The upside is huge, but it comes with lots of risks and, if I may put it, emotional torment.
Bitcoin hit its 2018 low early on Feb. 6, the morning of a key Senate cryptocurrency hearing, briefly undercutting $6,000. The chairmen of the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission both urged stronger oversight. But the financial regulators stopped short of sounding an alarm. Nor did they call for any legislation to rein in cryptocurrencies. In the weeks after that hearing, Bitcoin rebounded to around $11,000 but it has retreated yet again to below $7,000.
Hey, Will, I like this! Thanx for the info. I’m somewhat new to cryptos but not to investing — my Dad invested in the stock market since I was a kid and as an adult I was a registered investment advisor representative for a large US institution. One conclusion I’ve come to is that the skills and approach for crypto investing are no different than those for the stock market. I use the same strategies and analyses I use for stocks and etf’s and feel completely at home in the crypto market. Yes, I deal with more brokerage accounts, etc., but the principles are the same.
Bitcoin fundamentally changes this equation. Unlike even gold, bitcoin is nigh impossible, when stored correctly, for anyone to confiscate without consent. The addresses at which bitcoin values are stored are protected by ‘private keys’, which can be thought of as a password or a key to a lockbox. Without this private key, it is generally impossible to steal the bitcoins held at the public address to which the private key corresponds. So long as you keep this private key secure, your bitcoins are secure.
In 2011, a study of academics by the University of California indicated that most individual investors achieve results that are worse than standard investment benchmarks. One of the main reasons was that people were trading emotionally, rather than following a clear strategy. Simply put, if in the past they entered a trade that “coincided with pleasure” they would try to repeat those actions and avoid those that “generated pain.”
The latter is very important, as situations where investors lose their funds due to hacks and security breaches happen quite often. This is why traders try to pick exchanges which can offer insurance (like Coinbase does) or have some sort of reserve fund to cover expenses if something happens. For example, Bithumb exchange which was recently hacked, promised that it would fully compensate users out of its fund of $450 million.
Over the past six months, the cryptocurrency crash has brought out the skeptics. In fact, the ongoing “Crypto Winter” is a healthy cleansing of the ecosystem because the correction is effectively separating long-term value creators from short-term day traders. All in all, we believe that a “Crypto Spring” will arrive. And, institutional capital, a.k.a. the sticky, smart money, could possibly usher in this new season.