n recent years, cryptocurrency has been a hot topic simply because it’s an interesting technology. Beginning with bitcoin, it was developed to offer a secure and purely digital alternative to fiat currency, and its proponents have loudly proclaimed that it’s becoming just that for years now. While cryptocurrencies can sometimes be used as money though, many have begun to look at them more as trading assets or commodities. And after an incredible boom through 2017, cryptocurrency is a hot topic in 2018 for a different reason: it has become a trendy investment.

But is it actually viable as a strategic investment? That’s a question no one can answer definitively, but we can at least look at some of the relevant factors.

Investment Is Getting Easier

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies haven’t actually become any less complicated than they were when they first emerged. But explanations are more prevalent and more helpful, and there are more ways than ever before to buy and hold these currencies safely. A few years ago, you might have asked where you could buy bitcoin to begin with, and the answer wouldn’t have been particularly clear. Now, you can look to any number of online exchanges that do most of the work for you, such that you can just make simple buy and sell decisions. You can then look into the different wallet options and decide what kind of storage works best for a long-term investment. This doesn’t affect strategy or outlook, but the pure act of investing has gotten much easier.

Prices Have Become More Reasonable

This is as opposed to just a few months ago, when cryptocurrencies had actually climbed so high it was hard to justify any kind of point of entry for an investment. It’s helpful to read about the surge that happened late last year so that you can understand a little bit more about what drives cryptocurrency, but for now prices have settled into more reasonable ranges. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to buy, but it means the option can be explored.

Some Fear A “Dot-Com” Bubble

This is a comparison that’s often tossed around somewhat lightly and without explanation, but an article posted recently at an Irish gaming site clarified things to some extent. Cautioning gamers who might want to invest in cryptocurrency given its utility in online gaming markets, it noted comparisons to the dot-com bubble of the ‘90s. Basically this means that quick, lucky investors might make off with massive gains, but the markets could collapse at any time, which would leave the majority of investors at a loss. This is by no means a guarantee but it’s something that’s being cautioned pretty widely, so it’s worth keeping in mind or even researching more thoroughly.

Some Predict Major Gains

Just as some fear further crashes in cryptocurrency, there are others who are still certain that it’s going to climb again in 2018. Some of the more modest positive predictions see bitcoin reaching the $20,000 threshold it flirted with in early December; the more dramatic takes involve bitcoin reaching closer to $100,000 by the end of this year. None of these predictions should be taken at face value, but it’s important to know they’re out there to counter the more bearish outlooks.