The day I first heard about Bitcoin on Reddit, a friend had also called me to tell me about it. We spent most of our friendship talking about Ayn Rand and programming, so when we heard about a currency that was software and couldn’t be controlled by governments we were very interested. I purchased $600 worth of BTC and my friend and I planned on buying a mining rig.
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.
Like any other loan, this borrowed Bitcoin must be paid back with interest. On losses, you will need to pay back the loss and the interest. Poloniex offers up a great guide to margin trading that explains everything you need to know. It’s worth reiterating that the estimated liquidation price is the price at which a forced exit from our position would occur, costing us all of the Bitcoin in our margin account so that it may be used to pay back the borrowed coin. Utilizing stop limits to avoid this is almost always a good idea.
Dollar-wise, as you can see – Litecoin’s price has increased along with Bitcoin (but less). A reminder about the majority of those quoting “Bitcoin has increased greatly, I’ll buy Litecoin”, buy Litecoin with FIAT (or by converting to Bitcoin, then to Litecoin right after – which is the same). Therefore, learning from the graph yet maintaining the same behavior, when Bitcoin’s value drops, Altcoins’ USD value will drop as well (although as a percentage it will probably be less, but it will still go down).
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.
Bitcoin isn’t just an unknown commodity: it will always be an unknown commodity. Bitcoin doesn’t have the fundamentals that investors typically use to analyze an asset. Most stocks or bonds can be analyzed based on some trait of the instrument. Stocks have P/E ratios and dividends, for example, while bonds have return percentages. Bitcoin has no fundamentals that can be easily measured.
Don’t invest blindy. There are people in this world who would sell a blind person a pair of glasses if they could make money. Those same people play in the cryptocurrency markets and use every opportunity to exploit less-informed investors. They’ll tell you what to buy or claim certain coins will moon, just to increase the prices so they can exit. Due to the highly speculative nature of the cryptocurrency markets today, a good investor will always do his or her own research in order to take full responsibility for the potential investment outcome. Information coming from even the best investor is, at best, great information, but never a promise, so you can still get burned.