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“Introduction to the Investors §2
In 2017, the total cryptocurrency market capitalization was approaching $850B which begs the question:
Why are investors turning to cryptocurrencies?
A survey by Blockchain Capital indicated that at least 30% of millennials would rather invest in bitcoin than invest in traditional stocks. Cryptocurrency investors, like traditional investors, expect a return at least proportionate to the risk they take. Due to the fundamental lack of regulation, incredible volatility and astronomical relative risk, many cryptocurrency investors expect to earn meteoric returns. Returns in the ranges of multiples from 200% to 1000%.
Let us first begin by examining the kinds of people who invest in cryptocurrency, and then let’s see the reasons why each of them is investing in this relatively new market.
Types of Investors
The “Newbie” Cryptocurrency Investor
This investor is just starting out. They probably have not had any significant experience in any form of investing before and bitcoin is their first experience. They have heard about people making incredible returns from cryptocurrency investing, or some aspect of the entire blockchain and crypto revolution attracts them, and they decide they want to invest too.
Unfortunately, most of the newbie investors will end up losing their money, primarily because of one specific misconception; they think cryptocurrency investing is an easy way to make huge profits.
“Types of Investors §2
“Gambler” or “Get Rich Quick” Investor
This is the second class of cryptocurrency investor, and is actually not really an investor at all.
This type of person is out to make a fortune as fast as possible. They will fall for whatever sweet-sounding scheme they hear. They love ideas that promise to double or triple their investment quickly. Like the Newbie, they do not understand how cryptocurrencies work, and they don’t care. The difference between this kind of investor and the successful individual or professional investor is that the gambler does not care about the management of risk, or about the timing of trades.
They place their money on the table, and they hope it will make a good return. They are gambling rather than creating an investment thesis and executing a well-thought out strategy. They might even have an infectious positive attitude, but unfortunately it is not backed by knowledge or the due diligence required to be a successful investor.
A good example of this style of thinking, outside of cryptocurrency, is high yield investment plans (HYIPs) that promise to multiply an investors capital by a certain factor. This is not to say that all HYIP programs are scams, but a good number of them are. Most importantly, the investors who flock into such plans have similar characteristics to that of the Get Rich Quick investor in that they will not take the time to learn about the field in which they are investing. They are just looking for fast money and an overnight success.
“Types of Investors §3
Short Term Traders (Day/Swing Traders)
Short term traders must, without a doubt, be the most knowledgeable investors if they are going to succeed at their chosen profession. They have, or they should have, studied the art and science of trading more thoroughly than other people. This is the kind of investor who has taken the time to learn about cryptocurrencies and the markets on which they trade. Short term traders create deliberate and timed strategies in an attempt to profit from fast market movements. Maybe many of the short term traders started off as Newbies, but these are the individuals who took the time and effort to learn about the market. They wanted to know what they were doing. These are the people who survived and thrived to grow into the type of trader that they want to be.
Interestingly, the Day Trader does not attach emotion to any given coin. They do not need to believe in the sustainability/whitepaper/vision/road map, etc. of the project they are buying into at any particular time. They just need to be confident about the direction and timing of the potential price movement of the coin.
“Types of Investors §4
Long Term Investors/ Hodlers
A great majority of successful cryptocurrency investors can be most properly classified as Long Term Investors, or HODLers in true crypto terminology. These are investors who understand quite a bit about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology and believe in the sustainability of the coins in which they are investing.
Think of the first few investors who bought bitcoin in the early days and years, when it was still deep under the radar for most people. These are the people who believed in the blockchain and cryptocurrency revolution. They didn’t sell their bitcoin for fast profit, although they had many chances to do so. They knew what they were doing, holding for the long term. These early investors and HODLers enjoyed astronomical growth all the way up to 2016 and 2017. But to be a long-term holder despite all the bad news and negative factors surrounding this brand new asset class, they must have really believed that bitcoin and the blockchain were going to change the world. This belief can only be established through study and research about the blockchain industry and the specific currencies and tokens in which you are going to invest.
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“Types of Investors §5
These are experts in cryptocurrency investing. They most likely have a background in other forms of trading and investing, such as in stocks, bonds or options etc. They may also be earning fees by investing or managing money for other people.
The Iconomi fund managers are a good example. Each Fund Manager manages an array of digital assets. Investors might choose Iconomi because it offers a platform for the investor to allocate funds to specific fund managers, with the ability to swap between managers instantly if the investor desires to do so.
Each fund manager selects a number of coins in which they wish to trade or invest, with specified time horizons, short or long term. Investors can buy into the array of mutually held coins. This allows investors to utilize the knowledge and experience of professional fund managers to trade an allocated pool of capital, hopefully generating returns greater than the individual investor would be able to produce on his own.
The fund managers are motivated by the fees and commissions they earn, and perhaps a performance-linked bonus. You can certainly be properly classified as a Sophisticated Investor without any need to be a fund manager for other peoples’ money. But a professional fund manager has the ability to trade with a larger pool of capital, manage complicated risk, and diversify trading strategy to generate various streams of income.
A particular country’s participation in cryptocurrencies largely has to do with the legal regulations about blockchain projects and crypto currency investment in that jurisdiction.
When China banned the use of cryptocurrency, most Chinese nationals had to withdraw their investments. Many other countries have also placed bans on the use or trade of cryptocurrencies. Countries like Japan that have allowed the use of cryptocurrencies have witnessed a significant rise in cryptocurrency investments as a result. Japan and South Korea are home to several high-traffic cryptocurrency exchanges, meaning that a notable proportion of their population is investing in cryptocurrencies.
Another way to look at cryptocurrency investment demographics is to look at the bitcoin ATMs present in each country. The United States of America is the leading country, followed by Canada and then the United Kingdom.
According to a report by Google trends, the five top countries interested in bitcoin are: South Africa, Slovenia, Nigeria, Colombia and Bolivia.
Remember, cryptocurrency demographics can be a little tricky due to the anonymity involved. Many people may be afraid to participate in surveys, especially when their governments have placed legal restrictions on cryptocurrency investing.
The main point the research seems to validate is that the demographics of the cryptocurrency investor base is diverse. While the average investor may be a white or Asian male between the ages of 26-30 with at least a university degree, the entire investor base is so much larger than that. Many big investors are likely to be significantly older, and have connections and businesses in the traditional economy as well.
“Notable Investors in Cryptocurrency
While many people have made fortunes from cryptocurrency investing, a handful of them stand out as being particularly remarkable. We will take a more detailed look at some of the biggest investment success stories to see how they did it and learn about their investing strategy.
The Winklevoss Twins
After being awarded their settlement from the lawsuit against Facebook, the Winklevoss twins decided to invest a significant portion of their money in Bitcoin. They invested $11million of the $65million they received. At that time, the price of a single bitcoin was about $120.
This high-risk investment paid off handsomely and they became the first publicly known Bitcoin Billionaires, perhaps owning more than 1% of the total bitcoin in circulation. In an interview with Financial Times in 2016, the twins jointly said that they consider “Bitcoin as potentially the greatest social network because it is designed to transfer value over the internet”. They also pointed out that compared to gold, bitcoin has equal or greater foundational traits of scarcity and portability.
“Notable Investors in Cryptocurrency §2
A self-made billionaire ex-Goldman Sachs investment banker, Novogratz has invested more than 30% of his fortune in cryptocurrency. In 2015, he announced a $500million cryptocurrency hedge fund, including $150million of his own money. Novogratz believes that “the blockchain, the computer code that underpins all cryptocurrencies, will reshape finance, just as the internet reshaped communication”.
The investment thesis of Mr. Novogratz is similar to that of the Winklevoss twins. He has taken and maintains a long-term position while he trades in and out of short term moves, based on his fundamental belief in the potential and likely application of the underlying blockchain technology. By starting an investment fund in addition to his other cryptocurrency related ventures, he is demonstrating a strong fundamental grasp of the technology, including its applicability and impact across so many industries.
In December 2014 after the US Marshal’s office seized 50,000 bitcoins from the Silk Road, Barry Silbert purchased just 2,000 of those bitcoins at $350 per coin. A few years later of course, those coins were worth millions of dollars.
Barry is the founder and CEO of the Digital Currency Group (DCG) a cryptocurrency investment firm. Barry also made significant profits from Ethereum Classic, purchasing the coin in its very first days. He has invested in over 75 bitcoin related companies, including CoinDesk. As founder of the Digital Currency Group, Barry endeavors to support bitcoin and blockchain companies and accelerate the development of the global financial system.
“Directly through Exchanges
Step One: Register on a reputable cryptocurrency exchange
To start investing, you first need to register on a reputable cryptocurrency exchange where you can buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Binance is a good exchange to use in this lesson. While it may or may not be the best, it is currently the largest, and they provide a very supportive layout and customer service department.
You should remember, to buy most altcoins (cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin), you specifically need to use an exchange like Coinbase or Kraken that allows you to convert fiat currency into cryptocurrency. From there, if you want to trade altcoins not listed on that exchange, you will have to transfer your BTC or ETH to a larger exchange like Binance, and buy the altcoin you want, using whichever trading pair that is best suited (BTC and ETH pairs are most common).
As we have already explained, if you are buying Bitcoin or any cryptocurrencies, you should invest in a wallet to safely store your coins. It is not advisable to store your BTC or other crypto on the exchanges for too long, due to hacking and other risks.
“Directly through Exchanges
Step Two: Determine your Strategy
There are different ways to invest. You need to find a strategy that works for you and your specific set of skills. The value of a cryptocurrency is not defined by a formula or something out a textbook. If everyone was able to calculate the actual value of a share of stock, for example, or a bond, or other tradeable asset, then the price on an open market exchange would never move. Buyers and sellers would know exactly how much the asset is worth, so there would be no reason to sell lower or buy higher than the actual value.
You need to come up with your own ideas and strategies to take advantage of market moves. Sometimes you will have a position that is contrary to the general market. Other times you might be trading in agreement with a majority of other market participants. Investors are basically separable into one of two groups of thinkers. Contrarian investors go against the crowd, swimming against the current; Momentum investors ride the wave feeling secure in the majority. Being different can be good or it can be bad. You do not always want to necessarily get caught up in the most crowded trade.
“Things to keep in Mind
We need to mention the bitcoin futures market as another potential way to invest. Toward the close of 2017, Bitcoin started trading on two fully recognized and well-established futures markets; the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange CME.
The key quote from the exchanges was “because the futures can be traded on regulated markets, it will attract investors, making the market liquid, stabilizing prices and it will not suffer from low transaction speeds of Bitcoin Exchanges.”
For a risk averse investor, this offers a safer entry into cryptocurrency investing. A futures contract commits its owner to buy or sell the underlying asset, BTC, at a set price, and at a set date in the future. The investor in the futures contract does not actually own the underlying asset, but rather is trading on fluctuations in the price of the asset over a certain timeframe, as specified in the futures contract.
“Things to keep in Mind §2
We cannot conclude this lesson without one more look at the common pitfalls a new cryptocurrency investor should avoid.
The problem areas are:
-Falling for scams by failing to carry out due diligence.
-Relying solely upon self-acclaimed crypto gurus and experts. If you want to trade, you must understand how to read news and charts for yourself.
-Too much Greed. Not taking profit when you should. It is better to take a 20% gain, than wait for a 100% gain, only to lose it all in the end.
-Lacking an investment strategy or exit plan.
-Not sticking to your investment plan or strategy.
-Allowing emotions to rule your decisions. Chasing your losses.
-Investing what you cannot afford to lose.
And finally, some time-tested wisdom from Wall Street: Bulls make money. Bears make money. Pigs get slaughtered every time. (Don’t be greedy!)
We cannot overemphasize the risk involved in cryptocurrency investing. The potential to make huge gains over a short period of time does not come without risk. There is no doubt that significant players in the global financial markets are entering the cryptocurrency markets too. We are likely to witness more and more government authorities trying to regulate cryptocurrencies, hopefully to the overall benefit of a healthy market. It seems safe to say we will see cryptocurrencies become more mainstream due to the intense interest from the traditional financial industry and institutional investing community all over the world.
What are better ways to successfully invest in cryptocurrencies? Which pitfalls should you avoid? Learn all on successful