Amid this week’s huge bitcoin and some cryptocurrencies rally—which has added over $100 billion to the value of the world’s digital tokens—Coinbase chief executive Brian Armstrong has warned over the “risk” of bitcoin and cryptocurrency investing.
“While it’s great to see market rallies and see news organizations turn attention to this emerging asset class in a new way, we cannot emphasize enough how important it is to understand that investing in crypto is not without risk,” Armstrong said in a blog post this week—published just before the San Francisco-based firm revealed it has filed confidentially for a long-awaited initial public offering (IPO) with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Coinbase is jumping on the IPO bandwagon when the other technology firms, like Airbnb and DoorDash, are debuting with sky-high valuations. When Coinbase, which makes money through fees attached to customer trades, last raised funds in 2018 it was valued at $8 billion.
“Crypto can be a volatile asset class,” Armstrong explained about risk of cryptocurrency investing, “Often more so than the types of traditional financial instruments that most investors are used to. For example, this means that the market can move in either direction much faster than equity markets.”
BTC price, after beginning the year at around $7,000, dropped to under $4,000 in March as the coronavirus pandemic caused markets to go into meltdown. It quickly rebounded to around $10,000 and started climbing towards its 2017 all-time high in October.
The bitcoin price surge has accelerated in recent months as a growing number of high-profile investors name BTC as a potential inflation hedge and some of Wall Streets biggest banks change their tune on the digital token asset class.
“Like all asset classes, crypto markets will rise and fall over time,” Armstrong stated, pointing to bitcoin’s 2017 bubble that faced the bitcoin price climb from under $1,000 at the beginning of the year to around $20,000 only to fall to $3,000 in 2018.
“We’ll occasionally see strong market rallies where prices will rise quickly and aggressively. While we’re always excited to see increased interest in crypto, it’s also important to point out that this is not only a time of high volumes, but also price volatility.”
Despite these warnings, the BTC and cryptocurrency community has been celebrating the bitcoin price’s return to its all-time highs (ATH), with many long-term cryptocurrency investors feeling vindicated after three years out in the cold.
“We’re now officially in uncharted territory,” Ian Balina, the chief executive of Washington DC-based bitcoin and cryptocurrency data company Token Metrics, said via email, adding he thinks the bitcoin price could climb to around “$50,000 within the next few years.”
“I think low $20,000 is just the beginning,” said JP Thieriot, chief executive of California-based bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange Uphold.
“This upward trend is likely to continue for months to come, as investors continue buying into consumer-style digital platforms that offer greater access to these markets than traditional financial service providers do.”