Personal finance

Bitcoin’s latest slide erased nearly $90 billion from the cryptocurrency market. What investors should consider

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Bitcoin is falling, again.

The popular cryptocurrency slumped as much as 5% Tuesday, falling below the key $30,000 level for the first time since June 22, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

Other cryptocurrencies were also dragged lower. Ether slid as much as 6%, while XRP dropped as much as 9%. The negative price action wiped nearly $90 billion in value from the cryptocurrency market.

The rout in digital coins follows the stock market’s tumble Monday, when all three major U.S. indices ended the day lower on fears that a resurgence of Covid-19 would halt the economic recovery. A day later, stocks rebounded in the morning and recovered some losses.

Bitcoin, however, has been on a downward spiral since April, when it hit an all-time high of nearly $65,000. Since, the cryptocurrency has fallen more than 50% and nearly erased all of its year-to-date gains.

Extreme and sometimes unpredictable movements up and down are relatively common for cryptocurrency, and will likely continue.

“The only thing I can expect for sure is volatility,” said David Yermack, a professor of finance at New York University Stern School of Business. “From day one, this has been a risky investment for people.”

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Bitcoin has seen both astronomical growth over the last decade and major selloffs at various points in between. Although many bulls point to its past performance as a sign that the cryptocurrency will continue to surge in the future, that might not happen, according to Yermack.

“It’s a purely speculative asset,” he said.

Only invest what you’re willing to lose

Financial experts generally advise that people looking to invest in bitcoin allocate just a small amount of their portfolio due to its volatile nature.

“People should only invest really what they’re willing to lose,” said Daniel Polotsky, CEO of CoinFlip, one of the largest bitcoin ATM companies in the U.S.

He added that people near retirement, those who will need the money near term or people who are looking to trade frequently to make a profit may want to reconsider bitcoin as an asset for such goals.

“Maybe there are more opportunities to make money because it’s so volatile, but it can get very addicting very quickly to start trading back and forth,” he said. “And, most of the people that do that lose money.”

People should only invest really what they’re willing to lose.
Daniel Polotsky
CEO, CoinFlip

If you are going to assign part of your portfolio to a speculative asset like bitcoin, take a disciplined approach and impose rules for buying and selling, said David Sacco, an economics professor at the University of New Haven.

“You can get experience and not blow yourself up in the process,” he said.

Buy for the long-term

To be sure, there are many bulls who see bitcoin exploding in value in the future as adoption continues.

For those determined to hold bitcoin for the long run, a selloff after hitting a record high is not a huge concern, and is even an opportunity to buy more cryptocurrency at a discount.

Those who want to invest in bitcoin should assess where they stand with other personal finance and investing goals to determine if they have some extra money to put into a risky asset.

If you do, then it’s fine to put some money in bitcoin, and to buy on a day when it’s down, said Anjali Jariwala, a certified financial planner, CPA and founder of Fit Advisors in Torrance, California.

“Throw some money into it and kind of let it stay in there and season for a while,” she said. “Just so you’re not making decisions every time there’s a fluctuation in price, which at this point happens every few days.”

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Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.

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