5 strategies to help you research crypto investments

November 8, 2022
updated on
April 15, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Investing in crypto involves risk given the volatility of cryptocurrency markets.
  • Crypto scams can happen, but there are some ways to educate yourself as to what’s real and what’s not.
  • With Alto, investing in crypto to save for retirement is easier than ever for individual investors.

Want to start investing in cryptocurrencies but aren’t sure where to start? We look at five crypto research strategies to help you assess a coin’s investment potential.

Investing in crypto involves considerable risk given the volatility of cryptocurrency markets, making it essential that you do your due diligence.

In this post, we’re sharing five useful crypto research strategies to help you decide what to buy, plus tips for avoiding crypto scams. As always, there are no guarantees when investing, and you should never invest more than you can afford to lose.

Five Crypto Research Strategies

Bitcoin and Ethereum have typically been the starting point for many crypto investors due to their familiarity and relatively large market caps. Naturally, the further you venture down the list toward lesser-known cryptocurrencies, the more risk you may shoulder. However, if you want to delve deeper into other crypto assets, read on for tips on how to research what crypto to buy now by assessing their investment potential.

Before making investment decisions, it’s useful to consider both quantitative and qualitative factors. Quantitative factors include the price and market cap of a token, whereas qualitative factors include considering how you heard about a digital asset and whether the source was credible.

For example, if you heard about a currency through claims of its value quadrupling overnight, consider it a red flag and fact-check the data. Only consider investing in currencies you hear about through trusted sources, and never invest based on word of mouth alone.

If you believe the source is credible, consider the tactics below as you develop your own crypto research strategies.

1. Perform a fundamental analysis

When investing in stocks, traders often review a company’s profit and loss statements, EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), and other potential indicators of the health of the business. While this same level of reporting is unlikely to be available, before investing in a digital asset, you should understand what problem the coin solves and whether there is demand for it. Doing so will help you determine whether the underlying project has real value.

Trading volume is another factor that can help determine a coin’s value. If there’s little or no trading volume for a coin with a lot of hype, ask yourself why that is.

However, it’s important to be aware that trade volume by itself is not a gold standard, nor should you look at the trade volume listed on just one exchange or analytics site.

Questions to ask yourself as part of a fundamental analysis:

  1. Does it solve a problem?
  2. Is the problem big enough that it needs to be solved?
  3. What are the potential use cases?
  4. Is there steady trade volume?
  5. Is the trade volume relatively consistent across exchanges and sites?

2. Read the white paper

The details of blockchain-based projects are typically shared in a white paper that is made readily available to the public.

Typically, these informational documents detail the project’s concept, plans for the future, expected timelines, and long-term value creation. A robustly constructed crypto project will have a well-defined roadmap explaining how the crypto asset derives its value and how developers plan to support its growth.

Keep in mind though that the existence of a white paper alone doesn’t necessarily signify legitimacy. Case in point: The Squid Game* currency had a white paper. Yet it collapsed after its creators fleeced investors.

Before investing in a cryptocurrency, read the white paper to understand the problem it addresses. If the solution it proposes doesn’t make sense, seems far-fetched, or appears too good to be true, you should probably avoid it.

*It’s also worth noting that purchasers of the Squid coin quickly learned they were barred from selling it.

3. Investigate whether a coin has an active developer community

Although many major cryptocurrencies are built on decentralized networks, legitimate ones will typically have publicly listed developer communities.

Take some time to learn about the people involved in developing and maintaining the currency’s underlying technology. . Be wary if the currency’s board members have shared only first names or hide behind the anonymity of Twitter handles.

In the case of Bitcoin, the creator(s) chose to stay anonymous but still put forth a solid white paper and were originally prolific in their writings, at least until Satoshi Nakamoto went quiet.

While you won’t know or recognize every board member or supporting company, you should be able to look them up to verify that they are real and genuinely involved. It’s also wise to look into how much of the currency its key stakeholders own, where they are based, whether they have a supporting team, and who notable investors are.

Additionally, make sure the currency is active and new tokens are being minted. You don’t want to invest in an asset that has been abandoned or is a scam.

Signs developers are active include:

  • An up-to-date website
  • Regular social media activity
  • Community activity on platforms like Reddit, Telegram, or Discord
  • Developer activity on GitHub
  • Trading volume that indicates other people are investing in or trading the asset*

*Typically, the higher the trading volume, the greater the liquidity in the market, which can be a positive sign. However, as noted earlier, you should not form an opinion on trade volume alone.

4. Examine market sentiment

Market sentiment is what causes price fluctuations in cryptocurrencies and motivates investors to buy or sell. Pay close attention to the chatter and hype about a currency before investing in it. To do this, it’s helpful to follow crypto social media handles, news channels, and discussion groups on platforms like Reddit and Discord.

However, keep these pointers in mind as you take the pulse of the market:

  • Take what’s said online with a grain of salt. Not everything you read is true.
  • Beware of pump and dump schemes, in which false information is spread online to create demand and pump (drive up) a currency’s price so that a small group of people may dump (sell) their existing tokens while their value is high. The price of an unknown coin skyrocketing without reason can be an indicator of such schemes.
  • Like money, people seldom give away crypto for free. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

5. Analyze the technicals

Technical analysis of a currency involves studying its price chart, identifying trends in past price movements and coin distribution, and assessing factors like market cap. For example, a large market cap indicates a well-established coin that is likely more stable.

This kind of technical analysis can be helpful in predicting changes in value and in determining when to buy or sell a token. (Keep in mind, though, that in the long run, time in the market is often a better strategy than trying to time the market.)

Find out if the cryptocurrency imposes limits on how many tokens can be issued and how they will be distributed. Pay close attention to anything that doesn’t feel right. For example, if a few people hold a majority of the tokens, they have the power to influence price. Not to mention that if a project plans to create millions more coins, especially over a short period of time, the value of each coin might drop precipitously due to excess availability.

The bottom line

Investing in cryptocurrency can be exciting and rewarding, but it’s important for investors to carefully consider a coin before they commit money to it. Like any investment, the right decision will be unique to each and every investors’ individual financial situation.

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