Bitcoin is the most fascinating thing to happen in finance in a while. It’s an anonymous currency that can’t be counterfeited or manipulated. It’s growing at an absurd rate, especially in 2017. It’s also hard to pay taxes on, as the current way of reporting is voluntary and bitcoins are more or less untraceable.
Is it a viable investment opportunity? Given its tremendous growth — 180% since the start of 2017 — some would say yes. Sure, it’s one of the most volatile investments you can make, but at least it makes a lot of money now.
But is it something you should pour your entire retirement savings into? Absolutely not.
New financial startups are popping up left and right to offer bitcoin-powered IRAs, letting you invest in cryptocurrencies and your retirement. As enticing as these IRAs might sound, you shouldn’t go anywhere near them. To get an idea of why, here are three things that could happen to your retirement money if you invest in a bitcoin IRA.
You could make a metric f-ton of money.
Let’s say bitcoin keeps growing. (Some analysts predict it will hit $500,000 per coin). So, the more you invest, the more you will likely make as the cryptocurrency rises. When it’s time to cash out, your bitcoin investment will be worth many times what it was before, and your retirement is going to be pretty sweet.
You could lose a lot of money.
You could lose all of your money, too. If the cryptocurrency can increase to astronomical levels at a rapid pace, it can also quickly decrease in the same amount of time. This is because bitcoin is one of the most volatile investments you can make. While it’s a good time for crypto investments right now, nothing gold can stay — even if it’s digital gold.
Government regulation could put a damper on your investments.
The government doesn’t do anything right now to regulate or enforce laws on cryptocurrency transactions. They don’t really know how to treat it. Yet this won’t always be the case, especially as bitcoin grows in popularity and in value. The government will try to tax and treat bitcoin in a certain yet-to-be-determined way. They can’t regulate it, as that goes against the nature of bitcoin. They can, however, shut down major exchanges like Coinbase or make it much harder for them to do business. This could effectively decrease demand or ease of use, which could have an impact on bitcoin’s price. It could also render your retirement accounts a bit worthless.
Here’s why you should stick with stocks.
The stock market isn’t perfect. It can go through some pretty devastating periods, like the 2007-2008 recession. Yet stock indexes and the market as a whole has increased since its inception, and will likely increase further in the future. It may dip back down a bit, but that won’t be permanent.
Bitcoin, on the other hand, is a risky, unproven investment. No one knows how if it will be worth double what it is now in a year, or worth a whole lot less. If you’re making decisions pertaining to your life savings, put it in something with oodles of data and years of history behind it — not a new and untested investment.