The prices are low and the panic is high. Is this the time to sell?

If you’ve been around crypto for longer than a couple of months, you’re probably familiar with the feelings that come with your average market-wide correction.

Euphoria fizzling away as that first red candle starts dropping down, down, down. Confidence in a quick recovery giving way to sweaty-palmed anxiety as the correction passes the 10, 20, 30% mark. Is this the big one? We all know what happened on March 13th last year. Finger hovering over the “Sell” button, knowing that if you just pressed it this horrible feeling would go away.

And even worse are the recriminations. How could I have been so blind? How did I let this happen? Why didn’t I sell when the going was good? Will I ever feel joy again?

Unrealised profit and loss

Look, I’m not going to say I told you so, but if there has ever been a market in need of a correction it was the crypto market of the last two months. It wasn’t a question of if your alt was going to do a 50 or 100% day; it was a question of when. Meanwhile, Bitcoin basically tripled its 2017 all-time high over the course of eight weeks, making it (briefly) a trillion dollar asset.

It’s not that bitcoin doesn’t deserve to be in that august club, but more to point out that markets will always revert to the mean, no matter how compelling the background narrative might be. And in the same way that you don’t expect to see an elephant jump over a small apartment block, an asset of bitcoin’s size shouldn’t be tripling in size like it ain’t no thing. Especially not when it’s taken three long, hard years to get back to its previous peak.

Timing is everything

Here’s the thing though: in every other market that humanity has ever created, taking three years to make a new all-time high actually is perfectly reasonable, bordering on suspiciously fast. Investments aren’t supposed to be measured in days or weeks. They’re supposed to take years, if not decades to play out. But the speed, 24/7 relentlessness and hyper-visibility of the crypto markets means it’s very easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. People who bought in at the absolute peak of the last bubble are still up 250% - presuming that they had the patience to hold on for a measly three years.

Nonetheless, selling can produce a real and concrete advantage. Get out near the top and you might be able to buy back in close to the bottom, thereby compounding your gains. (Despite what the people of TikTok Investors would have you believe, this is far harder than it appears.)

More simply though, money is money and when assets are appreciating like crypto assets have recently that can mean getting ahead of your mortgage, or buying a car, or paying for a holiday for your family, or being able to cover rent for the next month. If what you’ve made could make a difference in your life, then it makes complete and total sense to sell some - even if you think the crypto market is going to keep on going up. As the old adage goes, no-one ever went poor from taking profits.

Respect the sell-out

That’s not an invitation or a suggestion to sell it all right now – a good rule of thumb is sell when it feels hard (i.e. on the way up) not when it’s easy (on the way down) – but more to start thinking about what your endgame is. What do you hope to gain from this bull run? How much is enough? And will you be strong enough to start getting out when you reach your target? (Also, on a more prosaic note, what would taking profits mean for your tax?)

These are questions without easy answers, but start planning now and you’re less likely to be swept up in the mania and delirium that marks the real, bloody and unmistakable end of the bull market. And until then? DIAMOND HANDS ENGAGE.