Risky, bitcoin? The latest converts to cryptocurrency are well placed to find out: their portfolio lost 15% of its value between January and the beginning of April alone… just as much as those who bet on the CAC 40. It must be said that the market for there is nothing balanced about this digital token. According to a study by the NBER (National Bureau of Economic Research), 27% of the 19 million bitcoins currently in circulation are indeed held by… 0.01% of wallets. The famous “whales”, which can make and break courses.
To make matters worse, the first capitalization of the sector has now been joined by nearly 15,000 other virtual currencies, such as ethereum or solana. “95% of them are empty shells, and are of no interest”, warns Paul Bourceret, commercial director of the broker Coinhouse. Like the shiba inu, devoid of any technological basis, but which was worth, at the end of February, nearly 12 billion euros in total. Not sure, finally, that bitcoin is a safe haven, or can even protect your savings from inflation: in recent weeks, its price has indeed fallen, following the major American technology stocks, listed on the Nasdaq.
But to go its way would be to forget a little too quickly the tremendous potential of this virtual currency market, which 8% of French people have already tested, according to a study by the firm KPMG for Adan (Association for the development of digital assets). And which now attracts even institutional investors. On February 28 alone, the main cryptocurrency recorded a flash gain of $5,000. “From the start, an investor who has kept his bitcoins for at least three years has necessarily been a winner,” adds Paul Bourceret.
Even if the currency, created in 2009, has a longer history than its peers, it is better to play it safe. “You should only invest the money you don’t need,” warns Stanislas Barthelemi, consultant at Blockchain Partner, a subsidiary of KPMG. And this, within an overall limit of 5 to 10% of your assets. Also be sure to diversify the bet, by acquiring other types of digital chips.
Because investing in a cryptocurrency is a bet on the value of its blockchain, this technology which allows, via a dematerialized chain of blocks, to store and transmit information in a transparent, secure and decentralized way. However, like any innovation, this one can end up losing momentum, or even be supplanted by another.
Take ethereum, which has become the main competitor of bitcoin, with 10 to 20% of the total capitalization of cryptocurrencies. Created in 2015, it relies like bitcoin on a “proof of work” system, which leads computers around the world to run at full speed to first solve a complex mathematical equation, allowing transactions to be validated, and pocket a reward in cryptocurrency.
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Nearing saturation, this protocol now only allows slow and costly exchanges… It is, of course, being modernized, but is facing competition from solana, a blockchain that relies on “proof of stake”, whereby only users with the highest number of tokens win the right to validate transactions. Much faster and cheaper, this protocol now appeals to many developers. And the solana was, at the end of February, the only currency clearly on the rise in our panel, over six months as well as over a year.
In addition, do not hesitate to use techniques likely to limit the extreme variations of these different tokens, sometimes during the same day. “For example by investing over time, small amounts each month,” advises Stanislas Barthelemi. Also look at the side of “stablecoins”, these cryptocurrencies pegged to physical currencies, such as the dollar. This is the case with tether. In the event of a bitcoin crash, you will be able to switch your capital to these tokens, without having to recover all of your capital. And then only take the exchange risk between the reference currency and the euro.
Finally, it will be necessary to choose the right intermediary. Priority, in this area, to brokers who have obtained from the AMF (Financial Markets Authority) the status of PSAN (service provider on digital assets), like StackinSat, Bitstack, or the pioneer of the sector, Coinhouse . This label guarantees that the “honesty and competence” of the managers have been verified, and that the site complies with the legislation relating to the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
Only the most knowledgeable, on the other hand, will embark on specialized exchange platforms, such as Paymium and Bitpanda, registered with the AMF in France, or Coinbase and Kraken, this time regulated in the United States. And remember to dissect all the costs: this is how Coinhouse charges 2.99% for funding the account by transfer, but 3.49% when the bank card is used.
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Cryptos: the keys to investing without risking losing everything
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