A bitcoin sits among Ethernet cables inside a communications room at an office in this arranged photograph in London. (Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg)

Bitcoin Bull Tom Lee Says HODL On During Slumps for Big Gains

(Bloomberg) -- Bitcoin advocate Thomas Lee is leaning on his years of experience as a stock analyst when warning cryptocurrency investors that they need to be patient in the wake of this year’s more than 40 percent decline.

“Market timing is generally discouraged in traditional equity investing,” Lee, the former chief equity strategist at JPMorgan Chase & Co., wrote in a note Wednesday. “If an investor missed out on the 10 best days (for S&P 500) each year, the annualized return drops to 5.4 percent (ex-10 best), from 9.2 percent. In other words, the case for buy and hold in equities is the opportunity cost of missing out on the 10 best days.”

If an investor missed out on the 10 best days for Bitcoin each year, the annualized return drops 25 percent annually, wrote Lee, managing partner and head of research of Fundstrat Global Advisors LLC. On average, Bitcoin was down every year with the exclusion of the top 10 day gains, according to Fundstrat data. With a handful of days each year accounting for the bulk of Bitcoin’s gains, holding is a sensible option, he said.

That may bring some comfort for those pledging to HODL -- one frenzied trader’s misspelled entreaty to hold onto the tokens during an earlier rout that’s become the mantra of Bitcoin purists.

Bitcoin is trading at the breakeven cost of mining, at about $8,000, based on a model by Fundstrat. “The overhang from regulatory risk is generally keeping investors sidelined," Fundstrat analysts including Robert Sluymer wrote in the note. "However, we see positive catalysts for Bitcoin later in 2018, including the clarification of regulatory hurdles."

Combined with the overhang from U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission actions and political backlash coming from Washington on cryptocurrencies, Fundstrat predicts a "purgatory" period forecast of 150 to 175 days aiming for mid-September.

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