From there, you’re ready to buy and sell Bitcoin based on the current market value. Rather than paying for a set amount of Bitcoin, you will tell the exchange how much money you want to trade, and they’ll break down how much Bitcoin you can buy. Unless you’re investing thousands of dollars into the cryptocurrency, you’re likely to be buying a fraction of one Bitcoin.
No. 2: Cryptocurrencies provide a unique and attractive combination of returns and volatility: Crypto assets are appealing because they enjoy relatively low correlation to other asset classes, like bonds (negative correlation) and gold (zero correlation). In other words, crypto assets can be an ideal way for investors to diversify a portfolio consisting of stocks and bonds. Research shows that a 2 percent exposure to crypto assets in a portfolio could, on average, boost returns by up to 200 bps. Five percent exposure could boost performance by over 500bps, nearly double that of a typical stock/bond blended portfolio. At the same time, active managers seeking retuns better than the market will possibly seek the high volatility of Bitcoin and other digital currencies.
Personally, for myself, a quick back of the napkin calculation that I can do to estimate the possible future value of bitcoin is to see what the market has valued all of the gold in the world at, and use this as a rough guiding principle for seeing how much appetite the world currently has for something that can hedge against other currencies and holds similar characteristics to gold as a store of value. I can see that the total value of all the gold in the world is over 8 trillion dollars, and consequently, if bitcoin were to reach that same total valuation, each bitcoin, assuming 21 million eventual bitcoins, would be worth approximately $400,000. Dividing this by bitcoin’s current value, I can see that there’s still room for approximately 150X gains. This means that if I truly believe this is a possible outcome for bitcoin, then as long as I believe this outcome has more than a 0.66 percent chance of happening, or 1/150 chances of success, it would be an +EV bet to make.
Instability is good for Bitcoin. In general, political unrest is not good for the stock market -- whose value is tied to established companies that depend on government services, stable financial institutions, a dependable workforce and so on. However, unrest is good for Bitcoin, which is resilient to political unrest because it is not a government-backed currency. There's evidence that recent unrest in Asia contributed to the Bitcoin price surge. If you think the future holds more instability for governments and traditional banks, you might find Bitcoin to be a compelling investment.
I ended up making another big mistake here too, and figured that bitcoin had already gone up way too much, and that my best bet was to invest in some smaller altcoins as well. I made this decision after seeing litecoin (LTC) skyrocket from $4 to $40 in just a few days. The buzz at the time was that litecoin would be to silver what bitcoin was to gold. The price seemed incredibly low compared to bitcoin, and this made a superficial sort of sense (meaning, no sense at all), so I decided to jump in. For good measure, I also decided to jump into a few of the other most popular altcoins of the time — peercoin (PPC) and namecoin (NMC).
Had I actually done my research and believed that it was a fair bet to make that one day bitcoins would be worth far more than even the height of the local maximum bubble at the time, it absolutely could have been the right decision to buy in then, even if it crashed later temporarily to $200. What wasn’t right was buying in simply because the price was going up and I had a fear of missing out.
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.
The Bank for International Settlements, the central banker for global central banks, has warned that cryptocurrencies in the future could become a "threat to financial stability" if regulators aren't vigilant. U.S. regulators appear to be playing catch-up. As of Feb. 6, the cryptocurrency working group put together by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had held a single meeting.
A Trezor also allows you to set multiple passwords that open secret vaults to different wallets on your device, such that even if in some crazy scenario someone just kidnaps you and threatens to beat you with a wrench until you give them your coins, you can just give them a second password to another wallet that holds say $500 in cryptocurrency instead of $10 million, and there’s no way for them to know that that’s not all the money you had on your Trezor.
I don’t chase the market. I have, and I have been burned. FOMO is not part of my strategy and I covered this in my blog. When a coin is making a parabolic move, and you chase it you can easily be caught as it drops back. If something goes up 20x in a short space of time, it has to do another 20x from the original position for you to achieve a 2x. There are always other trades out there.
Second, there are no fundamental metrics for investors to examine, making a comparison between virtual currencies both difficult and arbitrary. At best, investors can look to project partnerships and processing speed as a few noteworthy comparisons, but that should be hardly enough to decipher whether one cryptocurrency will outperform another over the long run.
The easiest way to invest is to sign up at Coinbase.com. If you sign up with a referral code, you get $10 when you purchase $100 in bitcoin or ether. I’ve linked my mom’s referral code here if anyone is interested. Straight to her retirement fund! (In the interest of having zero monetary gain from my fiduciary advice, however, just email me if you use this link and buy over $100 of bitcoin, and I’ll send you the whole $10 my mom receives on her end as a referrer — so you get $20 for investing $100. Not bad!)
Indeed, the only thing a 51% attacker could really accomplish is destroying collective faith in bitcoin. They couldn’t somehow steal and gain all the value of bitcoins for itself. The attacker wouldn’t be able to generate new bitcoins on demand arbitrarily, and would still have to mine for them. They also would have no control over taking bitcoins created in the past that didn’t belong to them. The only thing they could do, really, is repeatedly spend bitcoin they already owned again and again, but even this is limited in its value, because ‘honest’ miner nodes would never accept these fraudulent payments.
In general, bigger market cap coins are less risky but have a lower chance of phenomenal returns. On the other hand, lower market cap coins generally have much more risk attached, but sometimes have the potential for greater gains. In cryptocurrency you must be aware that a large market cap coin can still potentially lose 70% or even 100% of it’s value.
Ripple (XRP) is a more recently popular cryptocurrency, although some argue that it can't really be called a cryptocurrency at all. It does, however, have a market cap of $19.2 billion as of this writing, 3rd largest amongst cryptocurrencies. Ripple is meant to act as something of a payment processing system that could allow for instant international money transfers. It has partnered with several notable companies, including American Express.
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.
While it is enticing to attribute the underwhelming trading volumes to the decline in the underlying assets’ valuation, some observers point out that the two are actually tied in a kind of an egg-and-chicken cycle, mutually influencing each other. As early as in January, when a multitude of versions explaining the crash of Bitcoin price began to emerge in media space, one of the less-visible yet sound considerations was that futures trading had opened the crypto markets to bear investors.