As it stands, cryptocurrency markets are very unstable, especially with the market caps of Ethereum and Ripple trading with each other frequently. There is a proliferation of ways to buy cryptocurrencies, with exchanges opening at the CBOE and with many online exchanges in operation.

Needless to say, individual investors are pooling their fiat currency and buying altcoins. Other altcoins that are trading at lower premiums are attractive to investors, and an inverse price relation exists in the crypto market. Preston Byrne said it best — cryptocurrencies have become the world’s largest penny stock casino.

Institutional investors are also taking a look at cryptocurrencies, so there may be some stability coming to the markets. Ripple is also legitimizing the cryptocurrency space as well. Despite its downturn in the last week, its relationships with major banking firms such as Santander and UBS strengthen its position despite the protests of crypto idealogues. Despite a recent downturn in the markets from $3.84 to 1.62, Ripple Technologies is confident in the long-term profitability of the project.

The sociopolitical climate is challenging for major altcoins like Ethereum, Bitcoin, and others, with South Korea cracking down on the exchanges. The threat of governments taxing — or even outright banning — cryptocurrency is a major risk. Obviously, one should conduct deep research before investing.

Before investing in cryptocurrency, make sure that you have at least six months of emergency reserves and a healthy amount of conventional assets such as mutual funds or stocks. Cryptocurrency is highly speculative as it stands and is not a “get rich quick” scheme. You could lose nearly all of your investment if you place it in crypto. With so much volatility in the cryptocurrency markets these days, it is best to hedge your bets.

There are conflicting opinions on the viability of cryptocurrencies in the technological space, with Len Jordan of Madrona Venture Group saying that cryptocurrencies are the most overhyped technology of 2018, despite blockchain tech being valuable. “Many cryptocurrencies (as distinct from underlying blockchain technology, which is very interesting).” On the other side of the arena are crypto enthusiasts like Julie Sandler at Pioneer Square Labs, who says that it is “hard not to look in the direction of new crypto-driven applications and platforms.”

Ultimately, only you can make an informed decision about your finances. Therefore, it would be in your best interest to do careful and thorough research prior to investing in any financial vehicle, let alone cryptocurrency.