Bitcoin (BTC) has been engaged in a predictable up and down pattern where it absolutely crashes at the beginning of any year and then sky-rockets as the year nears its end. Bitcoin held steady at around $19,000 in December 2017, and then sure enough – crashed big time to around $6,000 at the beginning of 2018. At the time of writing, March 8th 2018, the price of Bitcoin is relatively stable between $10,000 and $12,000. In my opinion, the price will run again soon.
These are what allow us to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. There are a handful of popular crypto exchanges, some of them have advantages over others. For example, some exchanges don’t allow us to deposit and withdraw using fiat currency like the U.S. dollar and euro; others aren’t available in certain countries. In this guide we will focus on two very popular exchanges, GDAX and Poloniex. GDAX gives us the ability to use our fiat currency to buy Bitcoin. Poloniex does not, but does give us a wide array of altcoins to trade. There, we’ll be using major coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum to buy the altcoins, and vice versa. Other popular exchanges such as Kraken and Bittrex offer even more coins.
Use small buy-ins, and don’t margin trade or short unless you know your stuff. The smaller your bet is compared to your total investable funds, the less risk you are taking on every bet (one of many insanely important things we are covering here). Putting it all on black is tempting, but then if it comes up red, you have nothing left to invest. Live to fight another day by learning to manage your buy-in size. As a rule of thumb invest 1% or less per buy-in (yes, that small, really; losing 100% of 1% leaves you with 99%, losing 1% of 100% leaves you with 99%. Small bids offer the same bet, but with way less risk). Put reward aside and practice risk management and capital preservation until you are very experienced (and thus, by logical extension: don’t margin trade or short unless you know what you are doing, as those leveraged bets magnify your risk by their very nature). See Kelly criterion.
It is important not to neglect the power of altcoins, or non-bitcoin cryptocurrencies. Altcoins are less prone to public speculation. Their smaller market caps are more prone to larger swings in pricing. Each altcoin has a purpose and an intent, catering to different niches. There are larger risks associated with investing in altcoins, but also larger rewards. Our personal favorites are DASH, ZCash and Monero.
Take profits. Some investors think “taking profits” is a dirty phrase, but it is a rather conservative strategy none-the-less. Taking profits can result in you making less money than you would have if you did nothing and just “let it ride”… but that is only true if Bitcoin goes up over the long term. If you have hefty profits, consider taking them off the table, and then waiting for a lower price in the future. Worst case, you can buy back in at a higher price later (leaving some potential profits on the table). TIP: If a coin just went up 400%… consider taking some profits. Cryptocurrency almost always corrects at some point after a big run. I personally would say HODLing after making 400% gains is called GREED. I won’t ever sell my full stack in one chunk, but I’m going to start averaging out when the MACD turns bearish after a 400% – 1,000% run if the run was somewhat organic. If the run was the result of a pump and dump, then I will likely take it all off the table quickly. Pump and dumps are frustrating events, like I said, watch out for manipulation.
You can’t simply go to a bank and ask for any digital currency. Instead, you’ll need a proper digital platform for making any trade in Bitcoin, Ether, Ripple or as a matter of fact any crypto. After all, that’s the whole point of creating digital currencies. Cryptocurrency exchange platforms are such online portals that allow you to exchange a digital currency (cryptocurrency) for another one or even a fiat currency depending upon the type of exchange.
The benefit of a USD wallet on Coinbase is that you can put money in that and then buy coins instantly from the wallet. If you try to buy directly with your bank account, the transaction can take about a week. A credit card doesn’t have this problem, but limits are usually lower on a credit card. TIP: I almost always deposit USD in my wallet as opposed to buying coins directly from Coinbase via my bank account when using Coinbase to buy (I do this on-the-go sometimes). You can also wire money if you need the funds to be in the wallet faster. On that note, I almost always then use GDAX to buy/sell coins when I’m on a desktop (then use Coinbase as my wallet and mobile app).
Always pay attention to Bitcoin. Most altcoins (every cryptocurrency except Bitcoin) are pegged more closely to Bitcoin than Asian currencies were to the USD during the Asian Financial Crisis. If Bitcoin price pump drastically, altcoins price can go down as people try to exit altcoins to ride the BTC profits; inversely, if Bitcoin prices dump drastically, altcoin prices can go down, too, as people exit altcoins to exchange back into fiat. The best times for altcoin growth appear when Bitcoin shows organic growth or decline, or remains stagnant in price.