What’s also striking is that traditionally, these sorts of ‘angel or seed’ investments in new technologies have been closed off to all but an incredibly well connected inner circle of elite high net-worth individuals and institutions. Peter Thiel, for instance, was only approached to become Facebook’s first outside investor because he was already incredibly well known within Silicon Valley for having founded and sold PayPal for over a billion dollars. In contrast, with bitcoin, a random student in Norway was able to invest just $27 and make millions.
I hope that this elucidation provides some insight into why I personally see it as suspect to invest in something based on price alone, and why I urge extreme caution particularly if one is exploring whether or not to invest in an altcoin, especially if one is at least partially motivated to do so because of the feeling that the ship has already sailed for bitcoin, and that there might be better potential for outsized gains with a smaller altcoin. Again, this certainly may be true, and often is true even for altcoins destined for eventual failure in the short term while a bubble/bull market continues, but risks are amplified just as much as the opportunity itself when it comes to altcoins, and oftentimes moreso in a bubble than otherwise.
Once you’ve decided that you truly believe in a cryptocurrency long term, and are willing to commit to it for the long term and hold it no matter what the short term price movements might be, the next step is to decide how much to invest, and when to invest. One might be hesitant, with not bad reason, to invest at an all time high, even if one believes that that all time high will one day be exceeded.
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.
That’s the case as I see it for bitcoin. In the case of most altcoins, however, I don’t see remotely enough to even begin to justify the possibility of long term gain in the first place. Even with speculations, or perhaps especially with speculations, it’s incredibly important to thoroughly analyze a given investment opportunity for at least the potential for long term gain and success, and assess the magnitude of that possible gain, and then to weigh that potential versus the likelihood of outright failure of the speculation. With most altcoins, their value over bitcoin or ethereum is far from clear, and generally superficial or minor at best.
While the number of companies and industries that allow cryptocurrencies to be used to pay for goods and services is constantly increasing (you can use Bitcoin to pay for some things on Expedia and Microsoft, for example), the vast majority of people who buy Bitcoin or other popular cryptocurrencies still primarily use them as long-term investments. Cryptocurrencies are a new market (Bitcoin was first introduced less than a decade ago) and therefore an extremely volatile investment. In this pricing graph from Coindesk, you can see how the price of Bitcoin has fluctuated since it first debuted almost a decade ago, down to daily changes in value.
Gold, unlike fiat currencies, requires no trust and faith in a government to responsibly manage its money supply and other financial dealings in order to believe that it will retain its value well over time. This is because gold has no central authority that controls it and effectively dictates its supply and creation arbitrarily. Gold is fundamentally scarce, and only a small amount of it can be mined every year and added to the whole net supply. To date, the estimated total of all the gold ever mined in the history of humankind is only 165,000 metric tons. To put that in perspective, all that gold wouldn’t even fill up 3.5 Olympic sized swimming pools.
But even with many success stories surrounding bitcoin investments, seasoned investors are voicing caution. Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban and "Oracle of Omaha" Warren Buffett warn of bitcoin's volatility. Legendary investor and index fund mogul Jack Bogle, at a recent Council on Foreign Relations event, told the audience, "Avoid bitcoin like the plague."
As a general rule, what goes up can come down, and what goes up particularly quickly is privy to come down just as quickly. This is not to say that things will come down if they go up, but merely that they can, and certainly have before. This is particularly noteworthy today, with ethereum having seen some truly wild gains this year, all the way up from $7 back in December of last year to over $350 presently — a gain of 50X in just about half a year. Again, this isn’t to say ethereum will fall, but merely that it very well might, for any host of reasons, and it’s very important to keep this fact in mind and not overextend yourself with investments you perceive to be less volatile than they truly are. I’ll get back to this more later.
A futures contract commits its owner to buy or sell an underlying commodity, currency or market index at a set price on a given date weeks or months in the future. In most cases the trader never takes possession of the corn, crude oil or bitcoin covered by the contract. Instead, gains or losses are reflected in the changing price of the contracts themselves as the underlying asset rises or falls.
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Generally speaking, diversification -- the ability for investors to buy stocks in different industries and sectors, or based on market cap, growth rate, or dividend yield -- has allowed investors the opportunity to maximize their long-term capital appreciation potential. If one sector is doing poorly, a diversified portfolio might be hedged with another industry or sector that's thriving. Plus, with the ability to load a diversified portfolio with dividend-paying stocks, complete with reinvestment, it's often easy to build wealth over time. All it really takes is patience, discipline, and the resolve to buy stocks at regular intervals over time, regardless of how "high" or "low" the market is trading.
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The book’s General Kutosov perfectly encapsulates this. The Commander-in-Chief of the Russian army, Tolstoy’s Kutosov does not see the struggle as a personal one between himself and the French Emperor, but rather an event influenced by a plenitude of known and unknown factors – morale, the weather, the temperature of the stew – which can only be observed and reacted to.
If you want to trade in cryptocurrencies, you’re going to need a platform on which to trade them, and an intermediary to communicate within the network of traders. Most of us lack the technological inclination or means to mine Bitcoin directly, or communicate and trade with miners directly, or store our digital currencies and assets. That’s where Coinbase comes in.
I’m in it for the long term and I don’t focus on daytrading, ever. However (and it took me a while to understand this), HODLing isn’t always the best way to fly either. Yes, the market is still in its infancy, and the new Googles and Facebooks may already be listed on Coinmarketcap and perhaps even in your portfolio. But your portfolio can be worth much more with a measured strategy, instead of passively HODLing. And let’s be honest, at least half of your motivation to buy crypto is to make a lot money.
Moreover, people tend to become emotionally attached to specific coins and beliefs. You shouldn’t “believe” in a coin or in a market movement. I’ve read so many times that people are convinced something will go up because it has to, right? The market is just acting weird – it will understand that this or that crypto or the whole space is undervalued. The market is just wrong. Truth be told, the market does what it does, without any sympathy for how you feel about something.
That doesn't mean it's risk-free, though. Blockchain technology is an intriguing development that could disrupt a number of huge industries, but at the moment, it's also a fashionable word to throw around. Long Island Iced Tea, a beverage company, renamed itself Long Blockchain in late 2017, seemingly knowing that the word itself could cause a jump in stock. And for a brief moment, the stock actually did jump just because of that. Don't fall for tricks like that, stay vigilant and avoid cryptocurrency scams like these.
The biggest risk when investing and trading is you: your emotions, biases, and beliefs. This strategy tries to remove the “you” as much as possible from the equation. This article accurately depicts the biases and shortcomings we all have. The markets are not rational; almost everyone lets their emotions (such as FOMO and panic-selling) get the best of them. In the end, big money will always beat you if you don’t come to terms with these cold hard truths.
Technology development: this is a key aspect in cryptocurrency. If the technology behind a cryptocurrency is not fit for purpose, then it is likely that in the long-term, the cryptocurrency will fail. An example of a positive technological development is Ethereum’s recent Byzantium hard fork. This hard fork allowed for more transactions to be processed on the Ethereum blockchain. This positive technological development increases the likelihood of Ethereum being widely adopted, and so once again makes it a viable candidate for our portfolio.
The financial crisis of 2008 highlighted yet another risk of the modern banking system. When a bank goes out and spends the 90% of net deposits it holds in investments, it can often make very bad bets, and lose all that money. In the case of the 2008 crisis, banks in particular bet on high risk subprime mortgages. These were mortgages taken out by borrowers very likely to become delinquent, to purchase houses that were sharply inflated in value by the rampant ease of acquiring a mortgage.
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