Bitcoin just made the Winklevoss twins paper billionaires. Might it do the same for you? Last Thursday, the explosively appreciating cryptocurrency briefly rose past $19,000 — from below $1,000 at the start of the year.

On Friday, bitcoin traded around $16,000, according to

With bitcoin’s price chart looking a lot more like a rocket trajectory than a sensible, steady investment that might merely plateau, investment advisers and financial planners say they’re getting inundated with inquires from ordinary investors.

“The gains have gotten a lot of publicity — up 40 percent this week, with a $5,000 jump over 48 hours,” said Kirsty Peev, portfolio manager for Halpern Financial in Rockville, Maryland. “But people seem to forget the fact that bitcoin regularly has dips of 20 percent or more after it jumps up like this. High risk goes with high return.”

Peev added that “for the average person, the benefit of encrypted, fully anonymous financial transactions does not yet outweigh the risk to use it.”

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have transformed from an esoteric idea hatched on the internet to the financial world’s mainstream with market valuations that eclipse some publicly traded corporations, including Goldman Sachs (GS). Cryptocurrencies’ rise — led by the most well-known currency, bitcoin — has individual investors looking to buy, financial planners like Peev say.

“I advise my younger clients to invest 2 percent of their portfolio in digital currencies as a long-term speculative play,” Jason Kirsch, founder of Grow, which tailors its advice to millennials, said in an e-mail. “For allocation reasons, I can’t imagine substituting digital currency for something that humans have romanticized about for thousands of years. You know, that shiny yellowish metal called gold.”

“I don’t advise ‘playing’ bitcoin,” he said. “There are better ways to gamble.”


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