When the price of Bitcoin hits all time highs, as it has been for the past few months, people often ask me how they can buy. But then they worry that the price is about to drop once they do buy for the first time.
This happened to several people I know during the 2013 spike where the price peaked $1100 USD then proceeded to drop below $300 over the following three years.
Now that the price is $4200 up from $1000 six months ago, how do you gauge the likelihood the price will drop? It is possible to do market research and make an assessment of what the price will do but ultimately there is no surety it will go up even if all signs point that way.
In order to protect yourself from price drops you can use a hedging buy strategy to accumulate Bitcoin over the long term in a way that reduces your losses when the price goes down.
Here is a buy strategy that will reduce the effect of declining prices after purchase. This will reduce the amount of time where you are holding a loss on your purchases and also reduce the amount of loss when the prices drop so that you have more equity in case you need it unexpectedly.
On a regular interval, once per month, make a regular investment of a fixed amount of dollars into two parts, one use to buy Bitcoin on an exchange at the current market rate and the other half portion set aside a pool of cash. Each purchase make an entry in a spreadsheet to keep track of the date, purchase amount, cash pool contribution and then calculate your average purchase price from all of your purchases.
If the price rises continue adding equal portions to new BTC purchases and your cash pool. If however the price of Bitcoin falls below the average purchase price from your past buys then in addition to making your regular BTC purchase and cash pool contribution make an extra BTC purchase using your cash pool. The amount to purchase can be up to the same ratio of the total available cash pool as the drop in value of BTC relative to the amount you paid for it. For example if the price of Bitcoin drops to seventy five percent of what you paid for it use 25% of your cash pool to buy more BTC at the lower level.
This will have the effect of reducing your average purchase price because. When the market makes large drops for extended periods of time this gives you the opportunity to make use of the cash pool to purchase at a lower price. In the event that you need to pull out BTC or cash unexpectedly you will have both cash and BTC that you can sell at a price closer to the market.
It is important to make purchases on a regular schedule however and not make these cash pool purchases too frequently or you risk disrupting your allocation from small market corrections.
Also note that this strategy implies that you are speculating on future price actions. While this strategy does better than buying 100% Bitcoin of your monthly contribution if the price goes down, it will not return the same gains if the price continuously goes up. You are trading some upside potential for downside risk protection.
Feel free to adjust the recipe to your taste and let me know how you do with it. Other possibilities would be to invest the cash pool in another liquid asset that will return interest.
Why do this? It’s extra work but if you compare it to other investment options it may be a good fit if you want to claim a stake in the cryptocurrency market but are not comfortable with the psychological effects of a massive market downturn right after you buy in for the first time.
How does it perform? If you were to start investing at the market peak in December 2013 as an example and simply put $200 aside each month where $100 goes to purchasing Bitcoin and the other $100 into a cash reserve you would end up with the following month to month gains:
|Bitcoin Market Value||Bitcoin Gains||Cash Reserve||Amount Invested||Invested Gains|
After investing $8000.00 over four years your net assets would be worth $30,040.85. This is a 93% yearly return on total capital thanks in part to the uptrend at the end of the run in 2017.
Notice that when using the 50/50 cash/Bitcoin buys the Invested Gains is higher than the Bitcoin Gains when the market is negative. This is what you are gaining with the cash reserve.
The purpose of hedging each monthly investment in cash is to reduce the amount of losses each month where you are holding less in market value than you invested. However by doing this you are reducing some of the upside gains if the market goes up. If you had invested all of the $200 each month in Bitcoin your net assets would be worth: $52,081.70 a 162% yearly gain on total capital.
When using the cash reserve to buy during times when your market value is lower than your purchase price puts you somewhere in the middle of these options returning $43,510.60 using a small purchase amount. Although this reduces your ongoing cash reserve as you as using it to buy Bitcoin when the price is lower.
These different buying strategies illustrate to me how asymmetric the Bitcoin market has been. While you can reduce your monthly losses with a cash reserve by about 50% (up to $600 in some months) the overall cost in this particular time frame is $22,040.85 as this is how much more you would earn buy putting $200 per month into Bitcoin rather than $100. That is how much you are paying to hold more liquid assets thought the four years.
Disclaimer: This is not investment advice and is only my personal thoughts on possible options for purchasing Bitcoin. One of the challenges on choosing an investment strategy in Bitcoin is that because the market is so volatile even small changes in the timeframe of past data will give you a very different result. This makes it very easy to choose a strategy that works on past data but doesn’t necessarily take into account future trend possibilities. In other words, make sure you do your research and be certain you are comfortable with the results if the market goes down, up or flat.