There are hundreds of altcoins, and more appear every day. Most altcoins are little more than Bitcoin clones and they do not survive for very long. They only change minor features, such as its hashing algorithm, distribution method, or transactions speed. One exception is Litecoin, which has branded itself as “silver to Bitcoin’s gold.” The reason for that is that, in addition to using a different hashing algorithm than Bitcoin, Litecoin has a much higher number of currency units.
Grayscale Bitcoin Investment Trust, or GBTC, which tracks Bitcoin’s market price, has seen its net asset value hit its lowest point since the cryptocurrency’s price surged late last year. Shares of GBTC are down around 80 percent since Bitcoin hit a high of $19,511 in mid-December. The price of Bitcoin has dropped nearly 66 percent during the same time period, making the premium to the cryptocurrency almost nonexistent. The fund has traded at more than twice its net asset value.
Dollar cost averaging generally is most applicable to situations where you’re trying to mitigate your risk, you’re investing for the long term, and you believe that what you’re investing in will go up in the long term. It helps when a clear entry point is arbitrary, as is the case with cryptocurrencies, because then you can completely ignore the price. If you want, you can choose to buy in all at once. Understand that this can produce higher profits, but also comes with an equal amount of higher risk.
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.
On a bitcoin exchange, the investor trades at the coin's full price. For example, if bitcoin is trading at $8,000, an investor spends $8,000 on every coin priced at that amount. Most futures contracts involve leverage, allowing the trader to put up only a small fraction of the asset's price, but for bitcoin this "margin" is unusually high, at more than 40 percent. So the investor could control one $8,000 bitcoin for just over $3,200, plus a small fee for the transaction. If the price jumped 12.5 percent to $9,000, the gain would be 32 percent of the sum invested.
Some bitcoin exchanges allow account holders to short — bet that bitcoin will fall in value — but the ordinary investor cannot do this as easily with bitcoin as with stocks or exchange-traded funds. Shorting is easy on the futures markets, however, as the trader simply buys a contract to sell a block of bitcoin at today's price sometime in the future. If it works out the price will fall and the bet will pay the difference.
While futures products still carry unique and often significant risks, they can potentially provide a more regulated and stable environment to provide some exposure to bitcoin as a commodity as well. You should carefully consider whether trading in bitcoin futures is appropriate for you in light of your experience, objectives, financial resources, and other relevant circumstances.