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Easton Ramirez
Easton Ramirez

Is It Worth Buying Bitcoin



For 15 minutes at the airport, I refreshed the price of bitcoin over and over, watching as it gained and lost hundreds of dollars in a matter of minutes. I called out the price fluctuations breathlessly to my wife, who gently encouraged me not to be an idiot, before returning to her magazine.




is it worth buying bitcoin



She was in good company. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon recently called bitcoin a "fraud" and suggested people who buy it are "stupid." Warren Buffett called bitcoin a "mirage" in 2014 and warned investors to "stay away."


And yet bitcoin has climbed more than tenfold since Buffett's warning. Earlier this month, one college friend casually told me over drinks he'd made tens of thousands of dollars investing in another cryptocurrency. He said he hoped it would be worth enough one day to buy a house.


When I saw the price of bitcoin fall to $9,500, I pressed buy, defying the wisdom of two finance titans and my wife. One hundred dollars, or 0.0101 bitcoins. (A few days later, I bought another $150.) By the time we got to our hotel, my stake had already gone up 10%. One week later, it was (briefly) up 100%. My wife's opinion of me has reportedly decreased by the same amount.


Bitcoin cracked $1,000 on the first day of 2017. By this week, it was up to $12,000, and then it really took off: The price topped $17,000 on some exchanges Thursday, and $18,000 on at least one. Other cryptocurrencies have seen similar spikes, though they trade for much less than bitcoin.


There's a long list of factors people may point to in an attempt to explain this. Regulators have taken a hands-off approach to bitcoin in certain markets. Dozens of new hedge funds have launched this year to trade cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. The Nasdaq and Chicago Mercantile Exchange plan to let investors trade bitcoin futures, which may attract more professional investors.


Yet a key reason the price of bitcoin keeps going up is, well, because it keeps going up. Small investors like yours truly have a fear of missing out on a chance to get rich quick. And when the value of your bitcoin doubles in a week, as it did for me, it's easy to think you're a genius. But you can get burned assuming it will keep skyrocketing.


Some investors have likened the bitcoin hype to the dot-com bubble. Others, like Dimon, have said it's even "worse" than the Dutch tulip mania from the 1600s, considered one of the most famous bubbles ever.


As Buffett put it back in 2014, "the idea that [bitcoin] has some huge intrinsic value is just a joke in my view." Bitcoin is not backed by a company's earnings, or the strength of a government and rule of law. There's also no interest or dividends.


Or at least that was the promise when it was created in 2009. The surge and volatility of bitcoin this year may be great for those who invested early, but it undermines bitcoin's viability as a currency.


Right now, I can use my bitcoin holdings to pay for purchases at Overstock (OSTBP), or book a hotel on Expedia (EXPE). But if I use bitcoin to buy $25 worth of socks on Overstock today, and the price of bitcoin quadruples next week, I'll feel like those socks actually cost me $100. Then again, if bitcoin crashes, at least I'll always have the socks.


Bitcoin is built on the blockchain, a public ledger containing all the transaction data from anyone who uses bitcoin. Transactions are added to "blocks" or the links of code that make up the chain, and each transaction must be recorded on a block.


Today, the leading exchange is offered by Coinbase, a startup that has raised more than $200 million from a number of top tier venture capital firms. Square (SQ), the payments service, is also rolling out a bitcoin product.


There are also bitcoin ATMs in scattered bodegas and convenience stores around the country, through companies like Coinsource. The ATMs let you exchange bitcoin for cash, or vice versa by scanning a QR code from the digital wallet application on your phone.


With Coinbase, you must first give the app permission to connect to your bank account. As with other stock trading applications, you pay a small fee for each transaction, buying and selling. But the transaction can take significantly longer.


My original $100 bitcoin purchase won't officially be completed on Coinbase until Friday, more than a week after the transaction. The price I bought it at remains the same, but I won't be able to sell at the earliest until Friday.


As troubles in the traditional banking sector grow, bitcoin is benefitting, and risk sentiment has turned bullish on the once-beleaguered coin. Starting 2023 at around $16,600, the bitcoin price has risen a dramatic 70% and now sits around $26,969 as of 28 March.


One of the primary drivers of the recent rise in bitcoin price is the goldilocks market regime that appears to be developing. Inflation in the US has fallen from a peak of 9.1% in June 2022 to 6.0%, and consequently the Fed has been able to slow its rate hikes. Markets are pricing rate cuts for 2023, and this is bolstering risk assets such as equities and crypto. Crypto has also already priced in a lot of bad news recently, leaving the way open for upside moves.


Before the early 2023 bull run, bitcoin was having a miserable time. This was due to several events, both crypto-specific and part of the broader macro backdrop. You can see the current BTC price on the chart below and its historical progress through 2022.


Moreover, there are ongoing fears that the effects of high inflation and rising interest rates will plunge the world into a recession. Our recession probability indicator remains over 70%. Bitcoin is yet to experience a serious global recession, but we expect one would limit any potential upside in price action. This is because during times of economic uncertainty and weak growth, investors may be more inclined to sell risky assets like bitcoin and seek safer investments such as government bonds.


One exercise is to see how low prices could get were the NASDAQ to suffer a 2000-style crash. After all, earlier in 2021, the bitcoin and NASDAQ correlation reached highs of almost 80%. So where the NASDAQ went, bitcoin followed. The correlation has declined recently, but should it rise again, the historical drawdowns of NASDAQ could be informative.


Back in 2000, the NASDAQ suffered a 78% drawdown. As of November 2022, the NASDAQ is in a 27% drawdown. A repeat of the 2000-style drawdown would put the NASDAQ at 3,500. So where would crypto be if NASDAQ were trading at this level? We estimate a regression between bitcoin/ethereum returns and NASDAQ returns from 2020 onwards. Based on this relationship, we find:


We think bitcoin is a worthwhile long-term investment. However, we also note that bitcoin is extremely volatile. That means it experiences large price movements over short periods. Before investing, you must understand the risks involved: you could lose all or a large portion of your investment. Never invest money that you cannot afford to lose.


However, to invest in cryptocurrency, we must first understand it. Crypto tokens are unlike any traditional asset class. And they are all different. Just because you understand bitcoin, does not mean you know how ethereum works. Our video on bitcoin fundamentals can help you understand how bitcoin prices fluctuate and how to assess trends in important bitcoin metrics.


We think crypto markets are a worthwhile long-term investment. The technology can capture market share on some existing markets like payments and stock trading while creating new markets like valuable scarce digital assets.


We suggest paying attention to the long-term macro backdrop when asking yourself, should I buy bitcoin right now? Your exposure to bitcoin needs to be appropriately sized so that you can survive 50% to 80% drawdowns. Drawdowns provide good entry levels for exposure, but we would not go max long in an environment of rising central bank rates and falling global growth momentum.


For trading bitcoin over the next two to four weeks, we are slightly bearish. That means we expect falling prices. However, we think bitcoin is a good long-term investment for the next one to three years and are bullish overall. That means we expect prices to rise in the long term.


As with all investments, the value of bitcoin can rise as well as fall. While it is unlikely that bitcoin will suffer a complete loss of value, investors must be prepared to suffer drawdowns of between 50% and 80%. We recommend small allocations and diversification of your portfolio. Never invest what you cannot afford to lose.


Traditional wisdom says you should buy low and sell high. But whether you should sell bitcoin depends on your investment horizon, risk appetite and financial goals. Although some websites speculate that certain days of the week are better or worse than others for selling bitcoin, we believe that any decision to buy or sell should be based on an analysis of crypto fundamentals.


We think some cryptocurrencies like BTC and ETH are a worthwhile long-term investment. However, they are also extremely volatile. That means large price movements over short periods are common. Before investing, you must understand the risks involved: you could lose all or a large portion of your investment. Never invest money that you cannot afford to lose.


Smart contract platforms: after bitcoin, the big innovation was to have blockchains that were more programmable. These could host smart contracts or decentralised applications and have allowed the emergence of the metaverse and defi. Ethereum (ETH) is the most popular version of a smart contract platform. As well as ethereum, we also include some key competitors. The constituents of this index are: Ethereum (ETH), Cardano (ADA), Avalanche (AVAX), Solana (SOL), Fantom (FTM), VeChain (VET), Terra (LUNA), EOS (EOS), and Chainlink (LINK). We also include Polkadot (DOT) which allows interoperability between blockchains and the use of smart contracts via parachains. 041b061a72


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