If everyone expects to get rich from a coin, the price will drive up. This is called a “pump”. Once the coin reaches a certain value – anywhere from 3 to 20 times over its original cost – then people will sell off in troves. This is called a “dump”. These pumps and dumps are heavily frowned upon in the world of Wall Street – in fact they are quite illegal – yet they are so prevalent in the unregulated world of cryptocurrency.
The most common place where people buy and trade cryptocurrency is on the exchanges. Exchanges are places where you may buy and sell your crypto, using fiat. There are multiple measures to judge the reliability and quality of an exchange, such as liquidity, spread, fees, purchase and withdrawal limits, trading volume, security, insurance, user-friendliness. Out of all these, I find Coinbase as the best exchange hands down. It has a beginner-friendly user interface, and an unbeatable 100% crypto insurance.
Are my investments safe with the dev team? The first rule of investing should always be the preservation of capital. Can you trust the dev team with your money? Are you about to leave your money with founders who have been involved in previous scams? If you see these telling signs, back off immediately. The coin’s price might grow for all you care, but it is just not worth it to put your capital at such risk.
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.
Steindorff: Investment assessments for established and emerging projects are conducted to ensure each project’s team and underlying technology fit within the guidelines of our general thesis and pass our initial set of criteria to weed out superficial, low growth and fraudulent offerings. Upon approval, our researchers collect, review and analyze all relative qualitative and quantitative data pertaining to the project’s team, thesis, code, security, vision, momentum, partners, roadmap, operations, structure, geographics, cryptography, incentive design, applications, utility, compliance, industry specifics, token mechanics, economics, competition and growth potential. You have to remember there is no P&L, there is no way to calculate a present value of future cash flows for a protocol. Since many of these projects are essentially developer tools at this point we think some of the strongest signals come from tracking engagement and involvement on Github and the strength and passion of the developer community around a project.
When you get acquainted with buying crypto and start to itch for some crypto trading (e.g. BTC/ETH), simply perform an instant transfer from Coinbase to GDAX free of charge and start trading. Think of Coinbase as the place to conveniently buy and store your crypto and GDAX as your margin trading platform. Transfers between the two are instant and free.
However, as I’ve mentioned before, this is far more difficult, if not impossible, to do with cryptocurrency, more than even normal investment vehicles like stocks. I’ve seen people who think that bitcoin has hit a peak and must necessarily stop going up sell, intending to wait until bitcoin falls again to buy in again and make maybe a 20% extra profit, miss out entirely because bitcoin kept going up and never came back down. There are numerous stories of those who bought into bitcoin at $1 or less, but sold well before it ever reached even $10, much less $2500.
Please note that virtual currency is a digital representation of value that functions as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, or a store of value, but it does not have legal tender status. Virtual currencies are sometimes exchanged for U.S. dollars or other currencies around the world, but they are not currently backed nor supported by any government or central bank. Their value is completely derived by market forces of supply and demand, and they are more volatile than traditional fiat currencies. Profits and losses related to this volatility are amplified in margined futures contracts.