A quick look at the Bitcoin price over the last few years reveals a strong upward trend, but also times where the price was over and undervalued. Since most buyers and sellers are regular people and not professional traders, the cryptocurrency market is extremely sensitive to media hype and news stories. When the news is good, people rush to buy overvalued cryptocurrencies. When something bad happens, they panic and sell their coins at below their true value.
There are some people who believe that Bitcoin is the only blockchain based protocol which has value and that all others will fail. These people are known as Bitcoin maximalists and their belief is based on economics, specifically Austrian economics, and that the technology which is great for Bitcoin is not useful for anything else. I am more open minded and believe that there are other applications of the technology which will create sustainable ecosystems but I could be proved wrong here. It is important to spend time doing your own research and building up your own view on where the technology may be used.
Back in the dotcom era many people made millions piling risk on risk as the market boomed then bubbled. When the bubble burst they lost everything. You must always look to spread your risk even when or especially when things are going great. Keeping all your money on the table and piling it up on each play will in the end break your bank. A lot of investors in crypto are feeling that pain right now and the “HODL” (a bitcoin community term referring to holding a cryptocurrency rather than selling it) incantation will not make them whole anytime soon.
Cryptocurrency is volatile! There is always the chance that the market will crash, or that you will face some other catastrophe. Cryptocurrency isn’t a centrally controlled and regulated fiat currency. If you lose a coin, or someone cheats you, or your account gets hacked, there is nothing you can do about it (which is one reason why you want to have 2-factor authentication set-up).
Embrace volatility – Cryptocurrencies are famously volatile. The price of Bitcoin, for example, went from $3,000 down to $2,000 and then leapt up to nearly $5,000, all within three months in 2017. Whilst this means risk is high, it also means the potential for profit is great too. It’s always sensible to check the volatility of the exchange you decide to go with.
No one actually knows how long this whole crypto thing will last but instead of losing sleep at night constantly checking token prices which have zero fundamentals behind them, I’d much rather invest in a real business that will make money whether Bitcoin prices go up or down. (Full disclosure: To satisfy my own curiosity, I do own a tiny amount of Bitcoin which won’t make me rich nor will it affect me if the whole space goes to zero).
So let’s take our hypothetical 1 BTC from before and take a short position on Ethereum. We are able to borrow 2.5 BTC worth of ETH and sell it. 30 minutes later, the price of ETH has plummeted 10%. Now we can close our short position, buying back 2.5 BTC worth of ETH; except now, since the price has dropped, we are buying more ETH than what we sold. Our borrowed coin can be payed back and we take the rest as profit!
Another thing I need to make clear is the type of trading I do - day trading. My base currency is Bitcoin, which I use to buy Altcoins like Ethereum, ZCash, Golem, etc. When I make a trade to buy an Altcoin with BTC, I could end up selling the Altcoin back for BTC within a matter of minutes or hours. All of my profits are converted back into BTC at the end of each trading day.
Bitcoin (BTC) is King/Queen; Don’t Get Overly Optimistic About Altcoins. Those who invest in BTC tend to get itchy fingers when BTC stagnates and alts go up. Sure, going into IOTA or ZCash can be a brilliant move at times… at other times you’ll be holding the bag while everyone moves back into BTC. Stick with coins you know and like, but consider always being partly in BTC (not 24/7, but in general). This advise applies somewhat to Ethereum as well, but first and foremost BTC is the center of the crypto economy.