Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that is secured by cryptography (the science of keeping information secret and safe by transforming it into a form that unintended recipients cannot understand.), which makes it nearly impossible to counterfeit or double-spend. Many cryptocurrencies are decentralized networks based on blockchain technology—a digital ledger enforced by a large network of computers. All of this is done publicly, making every transaction on the blockchain verified and transparent.
Whether you have a large amount of capital to invest or a little bit of extra cash you’re looking to dabble with, cryptocurrency is an investment worth exploring. Here are a few of the pros and cons associated with investing in crypto:
- PRO: Huge Returns are Possible. $1,000 invested in Bitcoin in 2013 would be worth over $400,000 today.
- PRO: Cryptocurrency is fast becoming an extremely liquid asset making it easy to sell crypto for ether or dollars quickly and stress free.
- CON: The market can be volatile. Be ready to take a risk. While it is rare there may be issues with hacking or a market drop which could cause a big hit to your investment.
- CON: Even though crypto is becoming more popular, there is still limited acceptance from retailers and service providers who are wary to take this new form of currency.
How do you know if an investment in cryptocurrency is right for you? Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have enough money (6-9 months of expenses) in an “emergency fund” savings account?
- Have you paid off your student loans and other debts?
- Do you have a retirement savings strategy in place?
- How willing are you to take risks?
- Have you researched the various types of cryptocurrency to find the one that is right for you?
If the answer is “no” to any of the above questions, perhaps it is not the right time for you to invest in cryptocurrency. If you answered “yes” however, then you’re ready to begin your new digital investment journey!
Getting started in cryptocurrency is actually relatively easy.
- Open a brokerage account with a company that allows crypto investments
- Deposit funds into your account
- Buy the cryptocurrency and then later sell the crypto for a gain or loss (It is all very similar to the stock market, only regulated by the public not the banks!).
Some of the top cryptocurrency brokers to check out include Coinbase, eToro, Robinhood, and Charles Schwab among others.
If you’re truly worried about the risk, there are also some ways that people can begin to invest in cryptocurrency, particularly in the technology behind it, without holding any coins or crypto tokens themselves.
Instead of investing in something like bitcoin, find a publicly traded company that is related for example, to the blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrency. There are also companies you can invest in that allow users to trade cryptocurrency on their platforms like Square and PayPal or big tech giants like Google, Amazon and Microsoft that all use blockchain technology in some aspect. It’s a great way to invest in crypto with a little more security than doing something like mining bitcoins.
Whatever you do, don’t get caught up in cryptocurrency craziness if you’re not ready. There are no ways to tell if it will have staying power, which means assets are not 100% safe so make sure no matter what you’re diversifying your investments!