Bitcoin has been on a wild streak lately, showcasing why curious investors should pause before putting money into the cryptocurrency.
The asset hit a record high of $41,973 on Friday, according to data from Coin Metrics, but on Monday plummeted about 15%, wiping as much as $200 billion of value from the cryptocurrency market in just 24 hours.
The extreme movements up and down are relatively common for bitcoin and are expected to continue.
"The only thing I can expect for sure is volatility," said David Yermack, a professor of finance at New York University Stern School of Business. "From day one, this has been a risky investment for people."
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Bitcoin has seen both astronomical growth over the last decade and major selloffs at various points in between. Although many bulls point to its past performance as a sign that the cryptocurrency will continue to surge in the future, that might not happen, according to Yermack.
"It's a purely speculative asset," he said, adding that while bitcoin has grown in popularity, it's still not considered a mainstream investment, meaning that many have little information about the asset.
"You should never invest in anything that you don't understand," said Yermack.