SALLY HAMILTON: My one big financial regret? What next for bitcoin and will it buy bitcoin miner europe again? Gatehouse Bank lands latest blow in the best buy savings battle with table-topping fixed rates of up to 2.
My dad invested his pension but he’s too ill to handle it any more – what can we do? Can I get broadband without a landline? SIMON LAMBERT: We might not be at the top yet, so would you buy into the bitcoin bubble now? Read this: SIMON LAMBERT: We might not be at the top yet, so would you buy into the bitcoin bubble now? Should you buy into a bubble? That’s a question I have asked myself all year, as we’ve watched one blown. But bear with me, as what may on the surface appear to be one of my more financially irresponsible columns, has a purpose in trying to understand the temptation of a bubble.
Because even now, with bitcoin up 1,600 per cent since the start of the year, I do wonder about buying some. The reason being that I suspect we aren’t at the top of the classic bubble chart yet. I profess no expertise in bitcoin. What I can see is that it is in a bubble. There are varying bubble definitions, but broadly speaking it is when the price of something becomes detached from its value and exuberant market behaviour sends it soaring. Will I have to pay tax if I sell? The promise of blockchain technology may be great, but don’t let that mislead you.
And we have plenty of hallmarks: a huge price rise, irrational exuberance and mass speculation, and a mainstream rush to profit. There’s the chart that at one point became a line rising straight up into the sky, the stampede to sign up to cryptocurrency wallets, and the numerous conversations I am overhearing of bitcoin, litecoin and other crypto purchases by people who seem to have little experience of the investing or trading world. Our reader comments on a recent story about the attraction of 100-year-old investment trusts also took a twist typical of this last week, as these venerable long-term investments were decried by those claiming better and bigger profits on bitcoin. How close is bitcoin to the top of the bubble? So, yes this is a mania. The dilemma is that I think if you can stomach the huge risk there might still be money to be made.
On the classic bubble chart, I think we are just above media attention and enthusiasm, but have widespread greed and delusion still to come. Of course, that could just be my greed and delusion kicking in, as I’ve missed out while watching bitcoin rise all year. 7,491 at the start of this month. Who knows what will happen from here, but it is fascinating to watch a bubble unfold. The thing I can say for certain is that were I to buy some now it would be a gamble not an investment. On the chart above the smart money got in some time ago, I would be very much the dumb money if I bought now.
Buying into a bubble is a commitment to thinking you can profit from greater fool theory in that someone out there will buy from you at a higher price. But there’s every chance that bitcoin’s price could crash from where I bought in and I would end up as the greatest fool. If you hold bitcoin or any other cryptocurrencies and have made a big profit, congratulations. I would consider cashing some out. If you haven’t bought bitcoin and are thinking what I’m wondering and do buy some, just know that you are taking a punt and be prepared to lose potentially all your money. Charts that rocket like this inevitably come tumbling down. Remember bitcoin yields nothing and its main source of value is scarcity.
Most bitcoin activity is trading not investing. Research coin wallets, the digital vaults where cryptocurrency is held, and consider security carefully. Bitcoins have been stolen before, understand how this happened. Consider how you would cash in any gains. There are reports that this has proved hard for some people. A time of market stress could lead to people being locked in and unable to trade.