Investing in Bitcoin: Opportunities and Risks

Alex Rasmussen |

In recent years, Bitcoin has emerged as a prominent digital asset, capturing the attention of investors, media, and the general public. In fact, many clients of investment advisory firms (WRFA included) have inquired about this relatively new and mysterious asset. As Bitcoin continues to evolve, it is essential for investors to understand both its potential rewards and inherent risks, especially when considering direct investment or via an Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF). 

What is Bitcoin? 

Created in 2009 by an anonymous individual or group using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin is a form of digital currency that operates independently of a central bank. It utilizes blockchain technology, a distributed ledger that records all transactions across a network of computers, ensuring transparency and security. Unlike traditional currencies, Bitcoin’s supply is finite—only 21 million coins will ever exist. This scarcity is one of the factors that contribute to its value. 


How to Invest in Bitcoin 

Investors interested in Bitcoin have two primary options: direct investment in Bitcoin itself or investing through a Bitcoin ETF. 

  1. Direct Investment: Buying Bitcoin directly involves purchasing the cryptocurrency through an exchange and storing it in a digital wallet. This method provides the most direct exposure to Bitcoin’s price movements.
  2. Bitcoin ETFs: A Bitcoin ETF is a fund that holds Bitcoin as its primary asset but trades like a stock on traditional exchanges. This provides investors the opportunity to gain exposure to Bitcoin’s price movements without the complexities of managing a digital wallet.


Merits of Investing in Bitcoin 

Diversification: Bitcoin has demonstrated a low correlation with traditional financial assets like stocks and bonds, making it a valuable tool for diversification. By adding Bitcoin to a portfolio, investors can potentially reduce volatility and improve returns over time. 

High Return Potential: Bitcoin has shown periods of exceptional growth, significantly outperforming traditional asset classes in its best years. For those willing to tolerate high volatility, the returns can be substantial. 

Liquidity: Bitcoin markets operate 24/7, offering high liquidity compared to other investment vehicles. This means investors can enter and exit positions at almost any time with minimal impact on price. 


Risks of Investing in Bitcoin 

Volatility & Price Declines: Bitcoin’s price is highly volatile. Dramatic price swings can occur within short periods, driven by market sentiment, regulatory news, and technological developments. This volatility can lead to substantial losses, making Bitcoin unsuitable for risk-averse investors. 

Regulatory Uncertainty: As a relatively new asset class, Bitcoin faces significant regulatory scrutiny. Changes in regulations can affect its adoption, usability, and ultimately, its price. Investors must stay informed about regulatory developments in their country and globally. 

Security Concerns: While blockchain itself is secure, Bitcoin exchanges and wallets are vulnerable to hacking and other types of cyberattacks. Investors must prioritize security, using reputable exchanges and employing robust security measures for their digital wallets. 

Lack of Recourse: Bitcoin transactions are irreversible. There is no central authority or mechanism to address disputes, refund transactions, or recover lost coins. This finality requires a high level of responsibility and understanding from the investor. 



Bitcoin is a speculative investment. While it offers the potential for high returns and portfolio diversification, the risks associated with its volatility, regulatory landscape, and security issues may not be appropriate for many investors. Whether choosing direct investment or a Bitcoin ETF, it is crucial for investors to perform thorough due diligence. If you have questions or are considering a “do it yourself” investment in Bitcoin, please consider speaking with your financial advisor to ensure any potential investment is congruent with your financial goals and risk tolerance. 

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. The contents should not be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. The information provided does not take into account the specific objectives, financial situation, or particular needs of any reader. Before making any investment decisions, readers are advised to consult with their own financial advisor to ensure that any investment aligns with their individual circumstances.