I don’t understand Bitcoin, but I’m investing anyway.
Like many people in awe about this week’s Bitcoin surge, I decided to throw some money into the land of cryptocurrency. I don’t totally understand Bitcoin — or the other coins I invested in, Ethereum and Litecoin — but I took the plunge anyway.
Why, you ask?
Well first and foremost, I’d been considering investing for a while. Just a few months ago, I fell down the rabbit hole that is Reddit, and I spent hours and hours reading about cryptocurrency. I wanted to know the lingo (what’s an alt coin? What does HODL mean?) and I wanted to know exactly why I should be investing in what I wanted to invest in.
But like many people, I chickened out.
I couldn’t quite understand blockchain, or the technology behind any of it. I know security is a huge part of it, but the mechanics of it had me lost. I have investments in stocks and bonds, but this was a different world.
Additionally, I had fears that Bitcoin — or any other coin — would not be widely adopted.
There are so many variables — and so many reasons why governments don’t want cryptocurrency, so I thought I’d be wasting my time and money. Between that and the fact that I couldn’t understand the darn thing in the first place, I decided NOT to invest.
Until this week, that is. Myself and so many others took the plunge and invested in Bitcoin and decided not to wait any longer to participate in what could be the future of tech and finance.
I’m using Coinbase, which is widely recognized, easy-to-use, and reputable. There are other ways to buy coins, but as a cryptocurrency newbie, I decided to stick with the basics.
I spread my money across the three coins offered by Coinbase, and my portfolio looks like this:
Why did I pick this ratio?
Like many people, I wanted to get in on Litecoin while it is still inexpensive. From the reading I’ve done, Litecoin seems to have potential and will likely grow significantly over the next few months and years. I wanted something I could heavily invest in long term, because that’s the strategy we use for long term gains in the stock market.
But this isn’t the stock market, and there are many differences with cryptocurrency.
First off, I’ve noticed that a coin’s value skyrocketing oftentimes depends on demand moreso than the coin’s inherent value. The perfect example is Bitcoin, which cryptocurrency experts assert may not be the most scalable and useful coin in the long run.
But Bitcoin is a great example of the power in being first to market.
Because Bitcoin has the name value and gets the mainstream press, it’s the go-to for crypto newbies like myself. And because it’s the go-to, all the press in the past week caused an enormous surge of investments in Bitcoin, causing the price rising up to $20,000 at times. That’s HUGE.
That is, if it is sustainable.
Many people view Bitcoin as a “get rich quick” investment. Throw some money into Bitcoin, watch it grow, and get out quickly. And while there are some Bitcoin millionaires and yes, billionaires (I’m looking at you, Winklevoss twins), those investors achieved such success because they were in it for the long haul.
Many crypto newbs like myself are hesitant to trust coins in the long run. Even veterans view it something like this: coins will absolutely be the future of global tech and economics. OR, coins will largely fail, be shut down by governments, and/or prove vulnerable to hackers… all which could diminish coins’ reputation at best — and at worst, cause coins to be completely eradicated.
So what should your strategy be?
Well, there’s no one “right” answer, and based on my conversations with crypto fanatics, there are a whole bunch of opinions and essentially zero certainties.
Here’s what I’m doing:
I invested a good chunk of money into the aforementioned coins, but not so much that I’ll be hardpressed and devestated should the coins (or at least the coins I invested in) crash. I left my traditional investments as is, and didn’t withdraw any assets that I’d been saving or investing elsewhere. Instead, I just used some disposable income that had been burning a whole in my pocket anyways. I wholeheartedly believe in the advice that you should only invest what you can afford to lose. Buying into the idea of getting rich quick is virtually impossible — or else everyone would be getting rich quick.
Even if you threw every penny you had into cryptocurrency, a quick surge in prices — like the one we witnessed this week — isn’t going to change your life. The price of an investment multiplying 2x or 5x or even 10x likely won’t change your life, but waiting it out and seeing if it can hit 50x or 100x might prove worth your while and be the type of gains that could retire you.
That’s not to say, of course, than any of these coins will even ascend to that kind of growth. That’s why every person’s investment strategy will be different, and doing research into the market and the purposes of specific coins is absolutely pertinent.
But if Bitcoin is any indicator, coins can and will ascend to astronomical growth. And either way, me and my little portfolio are along for the ride.