Introduction: To Invest in Cryptocurrencies: The Ultimate Beginners GuideIf you landed on this text, you might be already interested in investing in cryptocurrencies. Virtual or crypto currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are definitely by far the hottest investment product currently available. These immutable and exchangeable cryptographic token promise to become a hard and non-manipulatable money for the whole world. Their advocates see a future in which Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies will substitute Euro, Dollar and so on and create the first free and hard world currency.
Holding Bitcoin means to have a share in this venture. If Bitcoin ever replaces monetary reserves of central banks or becomes the dominant currency for international trades – just to name two examples — the value of one Bitcoin will be far beyond 10,000 Dollar. Buying and keeping cryptocurrencies is a bet on the success of this silent revolution of money. It’s like a security of a large ecosystem.
In the past, investors in cryptocurrencies have been ridiculously successful. Let’s have a look at three charts, which show the price of Bitcoin, Ethereum and all cryptocurrencies combined.
Since 2011, Bitcoin generated an increase in the value of at least 25,000 percent. Since a linear chart can’t represent this increase, we need to use an exponential chart.
Since May 2016, Ethereum value shot up by 2,700 percent. That’s maybe the fastest rally a cryptocurrency ever demonstrated.
And talking about all cryptocurrencies – the complete market cap soared by 10,000 percent since mid-2013.
Can you trust an asset, which demonstrated this incredible vertical take-off? Must it not be a bubble?
Sure: it would have been better to invest one year ago, two years ago or six years ago. But if you understand the potential of also be found and if your belief in their vision of money, today might be the best day possible to start investing in it. That’s why we wrote a guide explaining how to invest in cryptocurrencies. We will tell you how you create a cryptocurrency-portfolio, where you buy cryptocurrencies, how you store them and how you tax your gains.
This said we need to note that cryptocurrencies are not a normal investment. The volatility grossly exceeds that of any other investment class. It is to some parts unregulated. There is the risk that cryptocurrencies get outlawed, that exchanges get hacked or that you lose your cryptocurrency key. Cryptocurrencies are a high-risk investment.
So an important advice is to only invest as much that you can keep on living and be if all of it goes to zero. Like Wence Casares, CEO of Xapo, said in an AMA on bitcoin.com:
“I always tell them [my family] that the second most stupid thing they could do right now is to own an amount of bitcoins they cannot afford to lose and the most stupid thing they could do would be to not own any. “
With this quote, we start our guide.
Why Invest in Cryptocurrencies And Why Not?Besides what was already said, there are three major good reasons to invest in cryptocurrencies. First, because you want to hedge your net-worth against the fall of the Dollar imperium, which is assumed by many people to inevitably happen at some time. Second, because you support the social vision behind cryptocurrencies – that of a free and hard money for the whole world. Third, because you understand and like the technology.
However, there are also very bad reasons to invest in cryptocurrencies. Many people fall victim to the hype surrounding every cryptocurrency-bubble. There is always somebody captured by FOMO (fear of missing out), buying massively in at the peak of a bubble, just in hope to make quick money, while not understanding cryptocurrencies at all. That’s a bad reason. Don’t do this. Learn before you invest.
What Cryptocurrencies Should I buy? Building your Portfolio.The former only crypto has been Bitcoin. Up until late 2016 Bitcoin was the cryptocurrency, and there was not much besides it. If you wanted to invest in the success of cryptocurrencies, you bought Bitcoin. Period. Other cryptocurrencies – called “Altcoins” – have just been penny stocks on shady online-markets, mostly used to keep miner’s GPUs working, pump the price and dump the coins.
However, this has changed. While Bitcoin is still the dominant cryptocurrency, in 2017 it’s share of the whole crypto-market has rapidly fallen from 90 to around 40 percent. Many people saw this coming as a result of the growing popularity of Ethereum and the ongoing self-tearing of the Bitcoin community over the blocksize issue. This again shows that it is important to keep your eyes open and listen to what the communities say.
If you want to invest in cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin is still a standard item of every portfolio – but it is no longer the onliest asset. In every well-balanced crypto-portfolio today you find other coins, like:
A good starting point to put together your portfolio should be the website coinmarketcap.
- And more
Some on smart contracting, like Ethereum and Ethereum Classic, and some on scaling payments, like Litecoin and, again, Dash. Some coins, like Ripple or Nem or Bitshares, seem to be less open and decentralized as Bitcoin and other coins.
How to buy Cryptocurrencies?
Buying Real Bitcoin on Exchanges
Mostly buying Bitcoin is not a big problem. You open up an account at the exchange, verify your identity – this is required due to Anti-Money-Laundering rules in most jurisdictions – and fund your account with Dollar or Euro or whatever paper money you use. On some exchanges, like Bitcoin.de, you don’t need to fund your account, but trade directly with other users.
Buying other Cryptocurrencies
- Again, the site coinmarketcap is useful, as it lists all crypto exchanges, sorted by trade volume.
The Altcoin exchanges have less strict KYC (know your customer) rules, as here you usually don’t trade with fiat money. You can fund your account with Bitcoin, which serves as a unit of account for the altcoin markets, similar to the Dollar’s function on the Forex markets.
Is there a good time to buy?
How To Store Cryptocurrencies?
Keep them off an Exchange
- Where are they located?
- Are the owners known?
- Since when do they operate?
- Do they provide some audits to ensure you that all the coins are available?
- How do they react to customer’s requests?
Our Recommendation: Store them by yourself
What’s with Taxes and so on?
No free lunch
The Good News …
- You bought 10 Bitcoins for 1,000 Euro and sold them for 2,000? Your taxable income increased by 10,000 Euro.
- You bought one bitcoin for 100 Euro and ordered a 10-Euro-pizza when the price was 1,000 Euro? Your income increased by 9 Euro. In most cases, the tax rate for this is higher than for financial gains.
However, there is a loophole. If you hold your coins for more than 1 year, you don’t need to pay taxes at all when you sell it. This rule was added to dis-incentivize day trading of other properties and stabilize prices by incentivizing holders. For cryptocurrencies it made Germany, and also the Netherlands, which apply the same rules, to tax havens. Some countries might have similar rules. In doubt, your tax advisor can help you out.