Today, we conclude our brilliant 3-part series on Bitcoin and your IRA with the simple question: SHOULD you invest in Bitcoin inside of your self-directed IRA or solo 401(k)? That’s a big question, and I’ve got some important things for you to consider. I’m Bryan Ellis. This is Episode #281 of Self-Directed Investor Talk.
Hello, Self-Directed Investor Nation! Welcome back to the show of record for savvy self-directed investors like YOU, my friends!
Today’s episode is brought to you by Self-Directed Investor Society’s latest analysis piece called Bitcoin IRA Investing: 5 Critical Questions You Should Ask First. This analysis is, for now, available to you at absolutely no cost simply by visiting today’s show page at SelfDirected.org/bitcoin where you’ll find the appropriate link. Check it out. If you’re even considering Bitcoin investing in your IRA without reading that analysis, you may be taking risk much greater than is necessary. Check it out now at SelfDirected.org/bitcoin.
Today we delve into a rather serious question: Should you invest your IRA or 401k into Bitcoin. And as we tackle that question, I welcome you to participate in the discussion. You can do so at any time, 24 hours, 7 days a week by phone at toll-free 833-SDI-TALK, by email at feedback@SelfDirected.org, or by commenting on today’s show page at SelfDirected.org/bitcoin.
Should you buy Bitcoin with your retirement money?
Spoiler alert – I’m not going to give you a straight yes or no answer to this, because the answer is not the same for everybody. Rather, I’ll give you a framework for thinking about this, along with some considerations that are unique to Bitcoin specifically and cryptocurrencies generally.
One good starting generalization is this: Realize that Bitcoin is wildly volatile. WILDLY. (Check out the chart here.) That’s not necessarily a horrible thing, because over time, that volatility has had a distinctly upward motion. But it is extremely volatile on a regular basis, so if you can’t stomach unpredictability, you should stay away from Bitcoin.
Another thing to consider: Bitcoin has a very, very short history. It’s only been around for a few years, and for most of those years, the participation in it was so small as to render the pricing history to be of potentially questionable value… not because it’s fraudulent or untrue, but simply because the volume of trade was so low that it seems possible that valuations could have been easily pushed around with relatively small trades that could affect the entire market. But do note that that comment is merely conjecture on my part and I have no evidence to support it, it’s just something that I’d be considering.
Even now, there’s a total of only a bit over $70 billion worth of Bitcoin in circulation. Now, $70 billion is a lot of money, to be sure… I don’t scoff at that. But for the sake of comparison, Goldman Sachs alone has over $1.4 TRILLION in assets under management. Fidelity Investments has about $6 TRILLION in assets until management. So $70 billion… while a lot of money… doesn’t even exceed the net worth of several individual PEOPLE like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos. What does this mean? Well, small markets can be manipulated easily. Manipulated markets work for the benefit of the manipulators. Unless your objectives happen to be in line with anyone who might want to manipulate that market, you could find yourself working against a tidal wave that’s basically unpredictable.
One final note of concern, then I’ll give you what I perceive as the upside. Here’s the thing, folks: Bitcoin is basically a method of payment… a currency. Now the IRS categorized virtual currencies as personal property and not a currency or coin, and that’s fine and actually helpful to IRA investors since that clarification cleared the way to own Bitcoin in an IRA. But come on… the ability to create currencies and the ability to tax are probably the two most powerful tools that give governments great power over people, private enterprise and everything else. Do you think that, even for a single minute after the U.S. government stops viewing Bitcoin as a novelty, that they’re going to make it easy for Bitcoin to continue to grow?
I think the government will, assuming the continued growth and popularity of Bitcoin, step in to stem the tide of that particular movement. And when they do, if they do, the effect for Bitcoin could be very, very ugly.
For that reason, if no other, I hope you’ll be very, very careful in allocating only highly speculative risk capital to Bitcoin investments. I’m not saying you should inherently avoid Bitcoin… I suspect there may still be really big upside until regulatory pressure comes into the picture. But just be really, really careful.
On the positive side of the coin, so to speak, hehehe… Bitcoin represents something big… a fundamental shift in both technology and in the way that people think about holding money. It’s a big, big deal. I expect that the technology upon which Bitcoin is based – called block-chain – is here to stay, and will have very, very wide applications beyond just Bitcoin and even beyond digital currency…
…and I similarly expect that Bitcoin may not end up being the king of the hill. But for now, it’s the 800lb gorilla of digital currencies, and at the moment, the skies above Bitcoin look quite clear and unencumbered for additional growth.
But again, my friends, if you’re seriously considering Bitcoin investing, do yourself the favor of checking out our new guide called Bitcoin IRA Investing: 5 Critical Questions To Ask Yourself First. That guide is free and available to you at SelfDirected.org/bitcoin, SelfDirected.org/bitcoin.
That’s all I have for you today, my friends. I hope you’ve enjoyed this series on Bitcoin investing in your retirement account. As always, your questions and comments are welcomed on today’s show page at SelfDirected.org/bitcoin.
My friends, invest wisely today and live well forever!
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