Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of the Ethereum blockchain and its associated cryptocurrency, does not want people throwing their life savings into virtual coins just yet.
“Reminder: cryptocurrencies are still a new and hyper-volatile asset class, and could drop to near-zero at any time,” he tweeted this weekend. “Don’t put in more money than you can afford to lose. If you’re trying to figure out where to store your life savings, traditional assets are still your safest bet.”
Buterin isn’t kidding about the volatility. One Ether “coin” was worth around $13 a year ago but currently costs $950. In the last couple months alone, it’s gone as high as $1,400 and as low as $580.
Bitcoin, meanwhile, has undergone multiple crashes over the same period, although it is currently heading north again (at $11,050, it’s up 5% on the day).
While it may seem unusual to see a major cryptocurrency player adopting a note of caution more readily associated with Wall Street giants and financial regulators, rather than making wild claims about future growth, Buterin is a relatively cautious figure on the scene.
More than once, Buterin has warned investors about bubbles and volatility in the cryptocurrency world. In December, he criticized some players for being obsessed with flaunting their cryptocurrency-derived wealth, arguing that they should instead be thinking about how to use the technology for “achieving something meaningful for society.”
At the moment, he is also deeply annoyed about people impersonating him on Twitter in order to defraud others of their Ethereum.