Buyers of Bitcoin woke up Friday morning to a troubling sight: the cryptocurrency dropped in value by more than 30 percent overnight after spending month after month climbing to new highs. The sudden drop has traders and perspective investors wondering if now is the time to buy or abandon ship.
The answer depends on how one views the Bitcoin price drop. If Bitcoin’s sliding value—and the accompanying down turn for other crytpocurrencies like Ethereum and Litecoin—is a sign of the bubble popping, then it’s best to stay away. If the drop is just a temporary correction, then it’s time to get while the price has reached a new floor before it jumps back up.
“We have seen this market go up and down 20 to 30 percent the whole year dozens of times,” David Drake, the founder and chairman of LDJ Capital, told International Business Times.
It’s tempting to view Bitcoin’s price fluctuation as an aberration, especially since the cryptocurrency has done nothing but increase in value for the majority of the year, but it’s important to note that volatility is nothing new for the digital currency.
Marco Krohn, the co-founder of Genesis Mining, noted that there are still tons of variables in play that make these types of spikes and drops possible. “This is a very new digital asset and the market is still trying to assess how useful it is,” he said.
Krohn noted that regulatory concerns still exist and “will continue to cause fluctuations in price.” He also said scenarios like Chinda deciding to crack down on cryptocurrencies are in play and could impact the market in the short term. However, he viewed the long term prospects for the cryptocurrency as positive.
“Recent announcements by regulatory agencies in the U.S. and major financial institutions are all signals for continued growth, not a bust,” he said. “[Bitcoin] may become the next gold, being a better, more modern digital store of value, but it also has the potential to become much more.”
That understanding of Bitcoin and how its price has moved over time may be lost on new investors who have jumped into the cryptocurrency market after seeing prices skyrocket over the last few months. Bitcoin increased in value from under $1,000 at the start of 2017 to as high as $19,500 earlier this month and many people have tried to ride that wave.
Dan Novaes, the co-founder and CEO of Current Media, told IBT that this is the result of Bitcoin going mainstream. Over the last three weeks, a slew of new buyers have come into the market, many of whom have never seen a large price dip,” he said.
Those new investors watching the price slide will likely sell their positions out of fear of the market crashing, but Novaes said that experienced cryptocurrency traders are used to seeing the value of coins drop during the holiday season. “That has been the case over the past several years,” he said.
Given that, Novaes still sees Bitcoin as a good investment. “Market dips are healthy. The market can’t always go up day over day,” he said, noting that he still views the long term prospects for the cryptocurrency as being sound.
“Right now is the best time to buy more Bitcoin,” Novaes said. “After the holidays, I expect the prices to rebound. I am long on Bitcoin.”
Krohn of Genesis Mining was similarly optimistic. “I’ve been doing this since 2011, and I’ve seen 4 times when the price spiked, then went down. But each time, when the ‘bubble’ burst, the price was always higher than it had been before the spike,” he said.
Krohn noted that anyone who has bought and held Bitcoin at almost any point have seen the asset appreciate in value. “Most experts think Bitcoin will continue to rise in value, and dips like this allow new investors to enter the market, which generally supports long-term adoption and price growth,” he said.
LDJ Capital’s Drake said simply that he expects Bitcoin will recover its value just as quickly as it has lost it. “It will bounce back again in as much as 24 hours as it has too many times before,” he said.
Of course while history can be an indicator, it is not guaranteed to repeat itself. Bitcoin spent many of those previous boom and bust cycles priced well below $1,000—it has never reached the heights that it is at currently, even with the sudden downturn.
Elliott Prechter, head of computer analysis at Elliott Wave International, doesn’t see the same potential in Bitcoin today as he did during previous cycles. Prechter, who first recommended buying Bitcoin when it was trading at six cents in 2010, did not echo his calls to invest in the cryptocurrency at its current value.
“Bitcoin had great potential in 2010, but not in 2018,” he said. “With today’s elevated prices, manic psychology and weak fundamentals, I wouldn’t touch it. The risk that it could collapse is too great.”
Ryan Breslow, the CEO of payments platform Bolt and a founding member of the Bitcoin Club at Stanford University, told IBT that he sees the temptation that a price drop can have for traders looking to enter the market, but advised approaching it with caution.
“Given the recent price drop, it might be tempting to buy. Today’s price is still high compared to where Bitcoin was several months back, and there’s still a lot of room for downward movement,” he said. “Anyone who has been close to Bitcoin understands it’s promise and isn’t uncomfortable with the big swings we’ve seen.”
Breslow didn’t have any hang ups about the potential for Bitcoin to recover its value, but advised that people only invest if they believe in the long-term prospects for the cryptocurrency and aren’t simply looking for a quick profit.
“If you’re not in it for the long-haul, don’t buy,” he said. “If you genuinely believe in crypto’s long-term vision, and are willing to lose all your money to see that vision through, then I would advise getting involved. The true believers are going to hold.”
That sentiment was echoed by Novaes. “Prospective investors have to make a decision if they are long on crypto or not. If they are going to day trade, then they will likely get burned sooner or later,” he warned.