Crypto currency bitcoin has been remarkably stable lately, by its wayward standards. After its spectacular rise from a few US cents a decade ago to $20,000 a coin in December, and the crash that sucked it down to around $4,300 in June, it now appears to be in a holding pattern.
At time of writing, it trades at $6,762 a coin. Up some days, down others. In many respects this is respectable, given that some claimed the price would have collapsed to zero by now. Actually, plenty are still claiming that, insisting that it is a colossal pump-and-dump scheme. Others say it is forging its way to respectability. Nobody really knows.
I still have a bitcoin and a few other cryptos lying around online. I’m hanging onto them in the hope that something might happen, you know, like they suddenly soar to $1 million each or something. Dreaming is free.
Bulls and bears
There is always something to get excited about in the crypto world. Right now, people are getting worked up about the lack of volatility. Seriously. Bitcoin’s volatility has just fallen to its lowest level for 21 months, which has generated excitement because some believe this suggests that the digital commodity could face an imminent bullish or bearish trend.
Personally, I don’t take a view at all. Cryptos are uncharted territory, like the gold rush in the Yukon, and attracting a similar combination of dreamers, scammers, hucksters and true believers. Possibly the odd Fool as well. Either way, you venture there at your own peril.
The FTSE 100 attracts dreamers, hucksters, true believers and Fools aplenty, but at least it is full of real companies selling real things to real customers, and getting paid real money in return. Stocks and shares are still the place where you should keep most of your wealth. Online investment platforms have made it easy for ordinary people to invest at minimal cost, and tax-free inside an ISA.
Most should look to build a balanced portfolio of individual stocks, exchange traded funds (ETFs) and top performing investment trusts like these two stunners, one of which has returned to 205% over the past five years. Cryptos? Maybe, but only ever as a Bit on the side.
The FTSE 100 is in a relatively becalmed state at the moment. Trading at 7,545, it is only 3% higher than one year ago. Concerns over a global trade war, the emerging markets slowdown, and growing talk of a recession in 2019 or 2020, are combining to spook investors. Hang on, is that a black swan?
Race is on
Brexit is a mixed bag. The FTSE 100 actually dips when hopes rise of a deal, as sterling strengthens and shrinks the value of UK plc’s foreigns earnings. However, I believe a no-deal Brexit could swiftly change that.
Yet the index is holding firm, and Christmas is coming, which could set us all on course for another Santa rally. FTSE 100 at 8,000? It only needs to rise an ‘ickle 6% to get there. I think that’s more likely than bitcoin at $10,000. Who knows, we might get both.
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harveyj holds the iShares FTSE 100 tracker and one whole Bitcoin but has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.