Is crypto still a good investment?
It's possible to get filthy rich by investing in cryptocurrency in 2022 -- but you could also lose all of your money. Investing in crypto assets is risky but also potentially extremely profitable.
Cryptocurrency is a good investment if you want to gain direct exposure to the demand for digital currency. A safer but potentially less lucrative alternative is buying the stocks of companies with exposure to cryptocurrency.
Is crypto a good long-term investment?
Many cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are launched with lofty objectives, which may be achieved over long time horizons. While the success of any cryptocurrency project is not assured, early investors in a crypto project that reaches its goals can be richly rewarded over the long term.
For any cryptocurrency project, however, achieving widespread adoption is necessary to be considered a long-term success.
Bitcoin as a long-term investment
Bitcoin, as the most widely known cryptocurrency, benefits from the network effect -- more people want to own Bitcoin because Bitcoin is owned by the most people. Bitcoin is currently viewed by many investors as "digital gold," but it could also be used as a digital form of cash.
Bitcoin investors believe the cryptocurrency will gain value over the long term because the supply is fixed, unlike the supplies of fiat currencies such as the U.S. dollar or the Japanese yen. The supply of Bitcoin is capped at fewer than 21 million coins, while most currencies can be printed at the will of central bankers. Many investors expect Bitcoin to gain value as fiat currencies depreciate.
Those who are bullish about Bitcoin being extensively used as digital cash believe it has the potential to become the first truly global currency.
Ethereum as a long-term investment
Ether is the native coin of the Ethereum platform and can be purchased by investors wishing to gain portfolio exposure to Ethereum. While Bitcoin can be viewed as digital gold, Ethereum is building a global computing platform that supports many other cryptocurrencies and a massive ecosystem of decentralized applications ("dApps").
The large number of cryptocurrencies built on the Ethereum platform, plus the open-source nature of dApps, creates opportunities for Ethereum to also benefit from the network effect and to create sustainable, long-term value. The Ethereum platform enables the use of "smart contracts," which execute automatically based on terms written directly into the contract code.
The Ethereum network collects Ether from users in exchange for executing smart contracts. Smart contract technology has significant potential to disrupt massive industries such as real estate and banking and also to create entirely new markets.
As the Ethereum platform becomes increasingly used worldwide, the Ether token increases in utility and value. Investors bullish on the long-term potential of the Ethereum platform can profit directly by owning Ether.
That's not to say Ethereum doesn't have competition. A number of "Ethereum Killers," including Solana (CRYPTO:SOL), Polygon (CRYPTO:MATIC), and Avalanche (CRYPTO:AVAX), are all built to handle smart contracts and use a blockchain system capable of processing more transactions per second. The speed has the added advantage of being less expensive for users as well. But Ethereum is the most broadly adopted platform for using smart contracts.
Should you invest in cryptocurrency?
Owning some cryptocurrency can increase your portfolio's diversification since cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have historically shown few price correlations with the U.S. stock market. If you believe that cryptocurrency usage will become increasingly widespread over time, then it probably makes sense for you to buy some crypto directly as part of a diversified portfolio. For every cryptocurrency that you invest in, be sure to have an investment thesis as to why that currency will stand the test of time. If you do your research and learn as much as possible about how to invest in cryptocurrency, you should be able to manage the investment risk as part of your overall portfolio.
If buying cryptocurrency seems too risky, you can consider other ways to potentially profit from the rise of cryptocurrencies. You can buy the stocks of companies such as Coinbase, Block, and PayPal, or you can invest in an exchange like CME Group (NASDAQ:CME), which facilitates crypto futures trading. Although investments in these companies may be profitable, they do not have the same upside potential as investing in cryptocurrency directly.
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