As we enter the second half of 2019, we are once again seeing the price of Bitcoin skyrocket. Like clockwork, I am starting to receive at least one to two messages a day from old friends, casual acquaintances, and even random strangers, all asking the same thing:
"Is it too late to invest in Bitcoin?" "How do I invest in Bitcoin?"
and of course, "Should I invest in Bitcoin?"
And throughout the years, I have always answered the same thing:
"If you have to ask, maybe you shouldn't."
Not yet, at least.
If you're buying Bitcoins just because someone you know doubled their money in the last three months, then your "investment strategy" is as sophisticated as trying slot machines with warm seats in a casino. High-risk investing yields high rewards, yes, and there is nothing wrong with that, but you really have to evaluate your decision making process when it comes to financial matters. For example, make sure you are not doing the following:
- Buying Bitcoin while daydreaming about getting rich without effort.
- Buying into the hype and immersing yourself in pro-bitcoin websites and forums and other groups that create an irrational feedback loop that, although seemingly harmless, is the last place on earth to get sound financial advice.
- Making decisions based on the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO), which tends to drive people into irrational decision making.
- Borrowing money or investing more than you can afford to lose.
Although this advice applies to any kind of financial investment, the Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency world is highly speculative, maybe even more speculative than any other asset class out there today. It would be foolish to put all your money in even a single stable and traditional investment, what more a brand new technology that is still in an experimental stage? Although the probability of Bitcoin's value dropping to zero is close to zero at this point in its evolution as a technology, it has shown that it can drop sharply as fast as it rises.
There are many reasons to justify this recent rise in Bitcoin's price today, and trends show that the price will likely keep rising in the near future, fueling more speculation, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. The problem begins when people start to think that the price will keep rising, never stabilizing, never stopping on its way to an incredible 6 or 7-digit dollar value in just a year or two.
The entire market capitalization of cryptocurrencies has increased from $140 Billion to $280 Billion in just the last 90 days. Yes, that sounds exciting, and you may feel like you don't want to be left behind, but hear me out first.
If you are curious about Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies, invest in education, and not in speculation. The price of Bitcoin is the least interesting thing about it. Like investing in any asset, learn as much as you can about it AND THEN make an informed and calculated decision.
Some important points to consider:
Almost six years ago, in December of 2013, the price of one Bitcoin hit $1,242, and then fell slowly and painfully down to $195 by January 2015, a drop of 87%. It happened again 2 years ago in December of 2017, where the price of one Bitcoin hit $19,600, and then fell sharply over a torturous 12 months to $3,150. Now imagine that happens again? Will you be able to stomach such a drop as people once again call it the death of Bitcoin, like they have done over 300 times in the last five years?
People are free to do what they want to do with their hard earned money. The thing about Bitcoin is that it is all voluntary — no one is being forced to invest in it or to use it. Since people will do it no matter what, the best thing to do is to help them be aware of the risks and know how to reduce these risks if possible.
- Learn about Dollar-cost averaging. It is a great strategy: Buy in small increments over a fixed period of time, in fixed intervals. This way, you can get an average cost on your purchases and avoid the stress of trying to time the swings of the price.
- You don't have to buy ONE Bitcoin! You can buy fractions of a Bitcoin. Start by trying to buy the minimum, most exchanges will allow you to buy $20 worth or so.
- Set aside only a small percentage of your net worth or income in investing, not just in Bitcoins but in any kind of investment for that matter. Start at 1% if you must. Make sure that you are not getting in debt or investing more than you can afford.
- Inform yourself. Resources on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are free and widely available. Learn about what you are getting into, if you have to get into it.
- Remember that Bitcoin is NOT a get-rich-quick scheme. The technology behind Bitcoin is what makes it valuable, not the exchange rate on Bitcoin exchanges. They have nothing to do with the actual technology that enables Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies.
- Avoid scammy businesses like cloud mining or Bitcoin investment clubs that ask you for minimum investments, make you recruit others, and guarantee earnings. That is not what this is about.
- Although Bitcoin and Blockchain technologies are here to stay and have much more room to grow, nothing rises in value to infinity. Have realistic expectations about your financial investments.
Finally, this piece is not intended to convince anyone to invest or not to invest in Bitcoins or cryptocurrencies. It's a public service announcement to everyone out there who is curious about what is going on in the Bitcoin world and want to be informed about the risks and rewards of participating in this technological experiment.
If nothing can stop you and you've done enough research to know exactly what you are getting into, use legitimate exchanges (each country or territory usually has a local exchange or brokerage business) with a good track record and proper consumer protection practices.
The next couple years will be crucial in the growth of this industry. Reckless investments from the public will only serve to hamper the last ten years of steady growth and innovation. Let's all help one another by working together and watching each other's backs as we blaze the trail for the next generation of financial technology, connecting the five-plus billion people that are currently excluded from today's systems.