The ultimate guide to crypto investing strategies
As many of us know, the investment landscape is a rich, dynamic and ever-changing environment. We all have heard about or seen people investing in properties, stocks, bonds and the crypto market. While the latter has seen exponential growth in the last year, it also has its share of risks. Consequently, for the average investor, going into crypto can be very challenging and sometimes overwhelming.
Most new crypto investors face a range of questions: How can they get started on their investment journey? What are the risks of investing in crypto? What is the right investing approach for the crypto market? Fortunately, these questions can all be answered by having a clear investment strategy from the outset.
This article will explain what an investment strategy is, why it is important to have one and examples of some popular strategies. Then we will cover how to choose the right strategy based on your goals and needs.
What is an investing strategy?
An investment strategy is a set of instructions designed to help an investor make investment decisions, including what to invest in, when to invest and how much to buy. There are many investing strategies to choose from, ranging from conservative strategies that focus on low-risk portfolio management, with the objective of wealth protection, to aggressive strategies, which focus on high-risk portfolio management with the goal of capital appreciation.
While all investing strategies have both benefits and risks, the right one for you will depend on a variety of factors, including your age, goals, expectations, available capital or lifestyle.
Why is it important to have a strategy?
Investing strategies work like a handbook or a guide. They force investors to define their goals and risk tolerance, as well as commit to a plan for building their wealth.
- Simply, the strategy dictates all the decisions an investor might make regarding their investments - when to buy, what to buy, how much to buy, how long to hold and when to sell. The benefits of having a strategy include:
- Helping investors make investment decisions - rather than getting caught up in the latest trend or FOMO, an investor simply follows the plan they have established.
- Encouraging clearer and more independent thinking - a strategy forces investors to think about investment decisions and goals in advance, which means they are less vulnerable to psychological biases.
- Reducing the risk linked to investments - having a strategy ensures any risks made are calculated, and the maximum acceptable risk is defined before making an investment.
- Defining realistic goals - investing strategies are designed to increase and/or secure the investors’ wealth, and defining them up front creates a clearer idea of future capital needs/allocation required to achieve those goals.
Ultimately, investing strategies help investors reach their goals.
Not having a strategy also has consequences. Risk is an inherent part of investing, no matter the means used or the market an investor chooses. With the crypto market being known for its volatility, going in without having a strategy will increase the chances of an investor making bad decisions - influenced by greed or fear. This will irremediably lead him to much riskier scenarios and increase his probability of loss.
Now that we’ve covered why investing strategies are important in crypto, let’s look at some examples of common investing strategies.
12 different investing strategies
Invest early in strong projects
The more time you give your investments to grow, the more you can potentially earn in the long term, especially if you pick a strong project and hold your tokens until their value has increased.
First, use the following platforms to discover new projects:
- ICOs (Initial Coin Offering) platforms such as ICOalert, Top ICO List or ICO Bench share information about upcoming ICOs, including expert opinions to help investors make informed decisions about participating in them
- CoinGecko offers a good overview of thousands of cryptocurrencies for investors and traders who want to be ahead of the market. You can find there a real-time ranking of live cryptocurrencies across multiple exchanges
- Smith + Crown is the world's leading blockchain research platform, which delivers a range of educational research based on asset intelligence, cryptoeconomics and industry analysis.
- Cryptowatch provides a live feed of hundreds of cryptocurrencies across eight different exchanges and is designed to help you improve the odds of your investing/trading success after you might have bought any cryptocurrency.
Once you have considered new projects you might like to invest in, the next step is to evaluate the opportunity using the following questions:
- How unique is the idea and how could the project succeed? Gather some reviews, insight, look at the project’s fundamentals and make sure the coin has a purpose or an actual use case. Also ensure that the team behind the project is competent, reputable, and transparent. Then, based on this and the performance of similar projects, consider if the guaranteed returns are realistic.
- Does the whitepaper make sense? When a cryptocurrency raises money for an ICO, the team will release a document called a whitepaper, which includes among other things the problem that the project is looking to solve, the project’s architecture, its planned interaction with the users and detailed product descriptions.
- What about the project’s community? Is it convinced, involved and loyal? The community activity and message are crucial indicators of a cryptocurrency’s potential.
- What about the coin distribution or its smart contract? The latter has specific guidelines, like the number of coins that will be made available in the market and destroyed over time (like CHSB’s Protect & Burn utility ), its allocation to the company’s team/advisors, and the company’s reserves.
- Will the token be listed on an exchange or several? If an exchange like Coinbase, Bittrex or Kraken states that it plans to list a coin, this is a great sign.
You can learn more about how to evaluate a project in our article on the best cryptos to invest in.
Hodling (or buy and hold)
HODL - which is both known as a mispelling of the word ‘hold’ as well as an abbreviation for ‘hold on for dear life’ - is a long-term strategy that has proven to be one of the easiest and more effective approaches out there.
The strategy is simple, you buy your tokens, you hold them and you wait. Holding is common for those who invested early in different projects and it is a strategy that makes a lot of sense in the Swissborg ecosystem.
There are many cases of Bitcoin hodlers who bought Bitcoin tokens at a price much lower than its current value. Consider the 10 richest Bitcoin addresses below:
All these addresses display massive amounts of BTC, with some hodlers who have never sold any BTC. This is the case of the 7th largest BTC address, highlighted in green - the holder (or holders) first invested more than 10 years ago and never sold any BTC. The holder or holders of this address bought the 79,957 BTC for around $73.5k in March 2011 when the BTC price value was around $0.92 for 1 BTC. At the time of writing, this 79,957 BTC is now worth around $2.7 billion (around 36,735 times the original value), peaking on 13th April, 2021 at $5.09 billion (around 69,252 times the original value).
Like the example above, if you don’t plan on selling any of your assets for years, then congratulations - you are a hodler!
Earning a yield
The purpose of this crypto investing strategy is similar to hodling, which is to bring the token holder a financial return over the long term. The difference is that buying and holding involves buying an asset at one price with the expectation that it will increase in value, then selling it at the higher price. Earning a yield involves holding your assets, but earning passive income while you hold - like how a savings account pays interest on your balance.
In crypto, one example of this strategy is SwissBorg’s Smart Yield wallets . You can earn a yield on your USDC, USDT, BTC, ETH, BNB and XRP, as well as on SwissBorg’s own CHSB token. There are different yields offered on each of the tokens, and you have the ability to double your yield with a Genesis Premium account . You can lock your tokens as long as you want and withdraw them every 24 hours.
Dollar cost averaging
Dollar cost averaging is when an investor allocates an amount of capital to an investment periodically (e.g. investing €500 per month). The benefits of this approach are that investors don’t need to worry about short-term volatility, as they will be adding to their portfolio regardless of whether the market is up or down. The focus is long-term returns, as assets with strong fundamentals tend to increase in value over the long term.
Learn more about dollar cost averaging here.
Lump sum investing
This strategy is pretty much the opposite of dollar cost averaging. Instead of investing a small sum regularly, here you go “all in” - you invest all the money you have available at a certain point in time. For example, if you received a bonus, a lottery win or an inheritance of $10,000, with the lump sum strategy you would invest it all at once, rather than splitting that amount into smaller investments (e.g. $1,000 per month).
These two strategies are often compared, with the best strategy for an investor depending on their investment style, the type of asset they want to invest in or how much liquidity they have at any one time.
Imagine having $2,000 to invest in the crypto market. Which strategy is better - dollar cost averaging or lump sum investing? Let’s consider this in two different time periods, using SwissBorg’s CHSB token.
We are in January 2021, enjoying a great bull run. If you invested all your money in CHSB in January when it was priced at $0.25, you would have doubled your investment in January alone, and multiplied it by six times when it hit $1.51 a few weeks later.
In this scenario, lump sum investing would have worked in your favour, with dollar cost averaging costing potential profits.
Now let’s take another moment in time, let’s say mid-May. CHSB fell from around $1 to $0.60 over the next six weeks. In this scenario, with lump sum investing you would have lost 40% of your investment. By contrast, if you used dollar cost averaging to buy in once a week, you would have benefitted on lower prices as the price of the token fell.
Ultimately, both approaches can work for different market environments, with lump sum investing resulting in higher returns and higher losses, depending on your market timing, and dollar cost averaging leading to more stable returns and smaller losses over time.
This strategy focuses on assets that are undervalued, meaning their real value is much higher. The concept was introduced by Benjamin Graham, also known as the father of value investing. It was then made famous by Warren Buffet, the world's most famous value investor.
Essentially, if you believe an asset is undervalued, it’s price should increase once the market sees its value. One example of this concept could be Bitcoin, which was arguably undervalued for its first 10 years of existence (many would argue that it is still undervalued!). As more investors have recognised its value - including governments and institutions - demand for Bitcoin has increased, and so this too has its price. Those who saw Bitcoin’s value early on have made significant profits as a result.
The challenge with value investing is determining which assets are undervalued. This strategy requires a lot of research as well as a long-term mindset as it can take time to make a profit. However, if your research is correct, these efforts are generally worth it as the returns can be substantial. The process can also teach you how to get better at finding projects with great value, thus becoming a better investor.
A specific example would be to look again at the CHSB token. The token has increasing utilities and the SwissBorg community is growing every day, both of which are signs that it has a lot of value. However, at the time of writing, its price has fallen due to the current bear run. Investors who believe that CHSB is undervalued and buy at the current price would therefore be considered to be value investing.
Michael E. Edleson, Managing Director of Morgan Stanley and former Harvard professor, introduced the concept of value averaging back in 1988. The value averaging strategy is similar to value investing with a slight difference: the amount you invest periodically is more flexible and depends on market situations.
Dollar cost averaging and value averaging are often compared: while dollar cost averaging implies investing the same amount periodically with an unknown growing portfolio value, value averaging differs from this strategy by investing higher amounts when a token price decreases (bearish market) and investing less when the token value increases (bullish market). While returns can be higher and the process is more flexible than dollar cost averaging, value averaging is subject to potential higher losses and is also more complicated to manage than dollar cost averaging.
Warren Buffett said "Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful". This quote summarises what contrarian Investing is about. Contrarian investing happens when investors purposefully go against current market trends by buying when most investors are selling, or the opposite.
The picture below highlights the cycle of market emotions and how the contrarian investor looks at it:
Many investors are euphoric and willing to take higher risks in bullish market phases, but they are fearful, despondent and unwilling to make investments during bearish phases. Contrarian investors seize their opportunities by basing their approach on going against these trends.
- Bullish markets: When the market is bullish, the trend is euphoric and attracts a lot of interest. This moment represents the highest risk entry for a contrarian investor. A good example would be to look at Bitcoin before its all-time high in mid-April - at this time, many investors were talking about Bitcoin’s price increasing even more, which encouraged many newcomers to invest in Bitcoin.
- Bearish markets: When the market is bearish, this is when contrarians see the best opportunities to invest and when they have the best chance to earn high returns. The bear trend that started in May 2021 has been a great opportunity for investors to buy assets like Bitcoin, Ethereum and CHSB at a discount. Bitcoin losing around 50% of its value following its April all-time high made a lot of investors panic and sell. The contrarian investor would have seen this scenario as an opportunity to do the opposite and buy Bitcoin at a discounted price and later sell it at a higher price.
The picture below synthesises how a contrarian basically operates.
Being a contrarian can be greatly rewarding, but it is also a risky strategy that could take a long time to pay off.
Compared to value investors, growth investors do not care about the market price or the intrinsic value of an asset. These investors are interested in projects or tokens that display above-average growth signs. This strategy is generally more short-term than the others.
There are many examples we can use to highlight this strategy, but let’s take Bitcoin again. As we all know, Bitcoin had spectacular growth between the end of 2020 and April 2021. Back in January, Tesla bought $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin and then cashed out $272 million in the first quarter of 2021, making $101 million in profits for the company. Bitcoin in this phase was showing strong performance and was a great alternative investment for Tesla to make rather quick profits. In other words, they used growth investing.
This strategy often occurs in hedge funds, but more and more cryptocurrency investors are using this approach to diversify their portfolio and increase their profits.
Long/short equity seeks to take advantage of profit opportunities with two approaches: the first one aims at taking long positions on assets that are perceived as undervalued, while the second one focuses on selling short assets that are deemed overvalued.
The aim of this strategy is to reduce the risk of market exposure, and gain from the movement of both assets.
One crucial aspect in this strategy is being able to identify when assets are undervalued and when they’re overvalued.
Investing in crypto index funds
The crypto market now has over 10,000 different types of digital currencies, making it difficult for an investor to assess all the opportunities and tokens available in the crypto sphere. This is where crypto indexing comes in.
What is a crypto index? A crypto index is a set of cryptocurrencies bundled together and based on various criterias. It is similar to an ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) or stock index in traditional finance.
By investing in a crypto index, investors can choose to invest in a market or theme that interests them, rather than having to research and select individual assets. This makes this approach helpful for investors who do not have time to monitor the cryptocurrency market, and who seek more diversification, as their portfolio will be less vulnerable to the movements of individual cryptocurrencies. It can also be a good way for beginners to get started.
However, more experienced investors who are interested in several specific cryptocurrencies or projects will probably not choose this option.
How to choose the right strategy for you
Now that we’ve covered 12 different investing strategies, how do you decide which one is right for you?
There are a number of elements to consider, including your investment goal, your risk profile, and your preference for passive vs. active investing.
1. Set your investment goal and time frame
As individuals, we all have different investment objectives and horizons.
An example of an investor with a shorter-term goal might be someone who wants to save some money to go on an overseas holiday. Their goal is to make fast profits for a luxurious trip, and their time frame is rather short-term (1 to 3 years).
By contrast, other investors have longer-term goals (5+ years), such as having money for retirement, or having enough money to pay for their children's education.
We can see that the two objectives and time frames highlighted above are quite different - the time frames for achieving the goals, the portfolio required to fund them, and even how important they are to the investor (for instance, the holiday might be nice to have, whereas retirement funding would be essential) are very different. These factors will then influence the investing strategy chosen.
To set your investment goal(s) and time frame(s), think about:
- How much do you need to have in your portfolio? Pin down a clear number - to the closest $1,000 for short-term goals, and to the closest $10,000 for very long-term goals.
- When do you want to reach this goal? Set the time frame - how many months or years. Like the monetary value of the goal, this will be more specific for short-term goals (you might have a certain number of months, or even a day when you need to achieve your goal), whereas longer-term goals might have a five-year range for when you’d like to achieve them.
- What is your starting investment, and how much can you invest over time? Do you have a lump sum to invest now, or do you plan to set aside a regular portion of your salary each month?
- What return will you need to make in order to achieve your goal? A simple place to figure this out is by looking for a compound interest calculator online. Simply enter your starting amount, enter any regular contributions you plan to make, and enter your time frame. Then you can experiment with different interest rates to figure out the annual percentage return you will need to make in order to achieve your goal.
All these factors will influence your choice of investing strategy.
2. Understand your risk profile
Investing and risk go hand-in-hand, and cryptocurrencies are known for being a very risky asset class.
The figure above highlights the risk-return tradeoff, showing that potential returns depend on the degree of risk you take, and both are linked to the type of investment you choose. You can see that cryptocurrencies are at the top: while offering the highest potential rewards, investing in them is also riskier than other investments, mostly due to the market’s volatility.
We can even see this within the crypto market, where smaller altcoins often have higher returns than Bitcoin or Ethereum, but they are also riskier because there isn’t as much history behind the project.
So should you put everything into the riskiest asset because you want bigger profits?
Generally, no - most investment strategies will include some level of diversification. Understanding how much you invest in riskier assets versus safer assets will depend on your level of risk tolerance.
Risk tolerance refers to the level of uncertainty or loss an investor is prepared to tolerate while carrying out his investment strategy. This one depends on many factors, such as:
- Age: Younger investors generally take more risks as they have more time to wait for market volatility to even out. A 30-year-old investor who bought Bitcoin at its 2017 high could have simply waited until the price recovered in 2020. A 65-year-old investor who needed that money for retirement may have had to take a loss if they needed those funds immediately.
- Experience: If you have some investment experience, you might have discovered preferences for specific asset classes or projects. On the other hand, if you are brand new to investing, you might not know much about the crypto market, so don’t feel comfortable putting a lot into cryptos. Your experience will influence your risk tolerance.
- Time frame and goals: As we previously covered, each investor has a different investment goal and time frame. Usually an investor will be willing to take more risk if he plans on investing for a long period of time.
- Portfolio size: The larger your portfolio is, the more tolerant you may be of risk. A $100,000 portfolio, for example, will make it easier for an investor to take risks rather than a $1,000 portfolio: the bigger portfolio investor is more “shielded” from risks if value decreases.
- Comfort level as an investor: Some people are naturally more comfortable with taking risks than others. Some investors get stressed out by volatility, which can lead to bad investment decisions in volatile markets.
These factors will all help you determine your risk tolerance, which can be measured on a scale from conservative (having a low risk tolerance) to aggressive (having a high risk tolerance).
Now we will consider the three main investor profiles, based on their risk tolerance.
The main goal of the conservative investor is to protect his portfolio with little margin for capital growth. He accepts lower returns in order to get more stability and available liquidity.
This kind of investor is able to take risk when necessary, but would prefer to avoid it.
The moderate investor values protecting his portfolio as much as increasing his returns. He will accept balanced risks to seek higher returns. While he is willing to take more risks than a conservative investor, he is not at the same level as an aggressive investor.
The aggressive investor is pretty much the opposite of the conservative investor. This investor profile is eager to accept great risk as his goal is to maximise returns. An aggressive investor could potentially earn a lot more than the two other profiles, but could also be the subject of much more volatility and potentially higher losses.
To further highlight the differences in these profiles, consider the following allocations for each of their portfolios.
Asset allocation for conservative, moderate and aggressive crypto portfolios
*Please note that the numbers shown in the above table are only there as an example and they represent an average of each profile.
Like goals and time frames, risk tolerance also influences the strategy you choose. An aggressive investor might be more comfortable with lump sum investing or growth investing, because they are comfortable to take on large risks for larger potential rewards, while a conservative investor might prefer dollar cost averaging for entering the market, and then choosing investments that earn a yield rather than high-growth investments.
3. Choose your involvement level
Now that we have covered the main investor profiles, let’s consider different investing strategies that might be appropriate for them. The first area to consider, though, is whether a strategy is active or passive.
Passive investing is an investment strategy that focuses on a long-term investment perspective, with very little use of buying and selling (trading) activities. This strategy requires a buy-and-hold mentality, as it can often be tough to resist market opportunities or volatility phases. Passive investing is generally less complicated, less expensive and often leads to higher results than active investing. Great examples of this strategy are hodling, earning a yield or dollar cost averaging.
Active investing takes the opposite approach and requires high involvement from an investor. In practical terms, investors will buy and sell assets on a regular basis to maximise profits. Trading is the most famous active investing strategy that there is. To a lesser degree, another active investing strategy would be long/short investing.
Learn more about these investing styles in our article on investing vs. trading .
These two approaches are found among many different crypto platforms. Swissborg, which is our reference crypto ecosystem, delivers a wealth management experience and therefore promotes the passive, long-term investing approach, especially with products like its Smart Yield wallets . TradeStation and Kraken are examples of platforms more suited for active trading, as they offer a great variety of tools suited for that type of investing. Importantly, while some investors might naturally lean towards passive or active investing, there’s no need to commit to just one approach. Many investors incorporate both styles in their wealth management strategies.
4. Measure your progress
Once you have started following an investment plan, one important thing to do is to set regular checks to determine if your investments are going the way you want them to.
Depending on what kind of investor you are, the goals you have set and the strategy plan you have built, it will be important to remind yourself to check your investments performance on a weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly basis.
Indeed, investment performance measurement will help you assess the success of your investments. If you are getting the results you wanted, then great! However, if you see that your strategy is not achieving the results you want, you will be able to change your strategy or reallocate your assets to achieve your goals, or even consider modifying your initial objectives.
Examples of two different investment strategies
Let’s take here again our two investor types discussed earlier.
The first investor wishes to go on holiday overseas in the short term. He will be looking for quick profits for that to happen, so his investment approach will be more active than passive. Moreover, as he plans to invest for a short time, he will be looking to maximise returns in order to achieve his goal, thus making him more tolerant of risky investments (aggressive investor).
With this in mind, he decides to invest a lump sum, splitting it between growth investing, trading and the long-short strategies. Because he is actively investing, he doesn’t set a schedule to monitor his performance, but is instead keeping an eye on things on a daily basis as he trades.
The second investor from our previous example has a completely different profile: his primary goal is to accumulate wealth in the long term for his retirement plan and for his kids’ education. He has plenty of time to build his wealth, and he also wants to preserve his capital as his two objectives are vital for the future. He doesn’t want to experience a loss that will leave him unable to cover his lifestyle costs.
This investor is conservative and will certainly go for passive investing strategies, which are generally known to be easier to follow and bring generally more profits over time.
In his case, he follows a dollar cost averaging approach, where every month he puts money into Smart Yield wallets, and into assets he plans to hold over time while they increase in value. He then checks his portfolio on a quarterly basis to ensure it is growing as planned.
Final considerations for choosing your investment plan
Risk tolerance, volatility, uncertainty and goals are all important considerations when it comes to investing in cryptocurrencies. Building a solid crypto strategy plan is essential if you want to be successful in the long run, and creating this plan can take a bit of time and experience.
Some important considerations to keep in mind include:
- Do your own research: Nobody got rich (at least, not sustainably) by listening to some guys on social media who promised high returns or other financial advice. Teach yourself with educational content: get to know the value of the projects you are interested in, the crypto market dynamics, security features of different investment products, and keep an open mind.
- Know yourself, your strategies and objectives: Rather than any particular strategy being a clear winner, the key is finding the best strategy for you. Before choosing an investment strategy, it is important to clear goals and understand your investing preferences. This will help you discard potential strategies that are not right for you and avoid unfortunate losses.
- Take action: While research is important, so too is experience. By building your investment experience, including experiencing both losses and profits, you’ll grow as an investor and build more efficient strategies over time.
- Diversify your portfolio and reallocate your assets when needed: Diversify your portfolio into different asset classes so that you can be comfortable with the risks you are taking as an active, passive, conservative, moderate or aggressive investor. Depending on your investment plan phase or the market situation, you may need to change your asset allocation to prevent losses and maintain peace of mind.
- Only invest what you can afford to lose: Don’t bet your life savings or money you need. When investing, you should still be able to comfortably live your life.
- Stick to your plan: Your investment strategies should come from logic and research, not emotion. FOMO and FUD can lead to investing decisions that are not beneficial in the long term, so once you have a plan it is best to stick to it.
What is the right strategy for you?
From what we have covered in this article, you will surely guess by now that there is no single right cryptocurrency investment strategy for everyone.
The right strategy varies from person to person. The only thing that we all have in common and that regroups us as investors is the hope of growing our wealth over time to pursue different life objectives. The manner of how this is done is up to you, and you only.
We could say that the best strategy, or strategies, for you would be the ones that suit your unique risk tolerance, experience, knowledge, preferences and goals. Don't hesitate to test and review some of the investing strategies we covered to see if they are a good fit for you. In that process, you might even find that a combination of strategies achieves better results in a more diversified investment plan to achieve your goals.
As Anthony Lesoismier-Geniaux (CSO & co-founder at Swissborg) said, “The more you are true to yourself, the more you match who you are, the better an investor you will become.”
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