How to Deal with Crypto FOMO

Hey, Max, did you know you missed out on Dogecoin?” “Everyone made a fortune off it.”

Many investors are terrified by questions like these. So much so that there is even a term for it: FOMO (fear of missing out). Research has found FOMO is more predominant in people ages 18 to 35. FOMO is a term that’s popular in the cryptocurrency community, a market that has become associated with irrational and sometimes unsubstantiated trading decisions.

Key Takeaways

  • FOMO is the acronym for “fear of missing out;” it is an ancient phenomenon and a part of all humans’ lives.
  • Experts have proved that FOMO affects the quality of human lives—leading to anxiety, loss of money, disconnection from family, and depression.
  • FOMO is a popular term in cryptocurrency investing that means making an irrational decision to buy or trade a cryptocurrency without conducting due diligence.

What Is FOMO in Cryptocurrency Investing?

FOMO in the crypto world occurs when a person makes an irrational decision to trade or invest in a crypto asset based on some piece of information received without properly verifying the source and or accuracy of it. FOMO in cryptocurrency leads people to buy assets at their highest prices or even sell them at their lowest, rather than vice versa, which would be better advised. Sometimes, the consequences of crypto FOMO can be worse and more profound than a loss of invested capital—it can lead to damaging situations such as disconnection from family, anxiety, and depression.

Health Hazards Associated with FOMO

When a person loses trading capital in a bad investment, especially a large amount, it might affect them mentally. In turn, this failure can be reflected in other aspects of their life, such as relationships, connections with family and friends, and more. The person starts experiencing social decline and gradually becomes dysfunctional if extra care isn’t taken.

In an 80-year study of male Harvard students on what makes a good life, the fourth director of the study, Robert Waldinger, mentioned, “The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health.”

Waldinger’s explanation also can be applied to crypto investing. FOMO in crypto not only can affect people’s portfolios but also can translate to how healthy they are and the quality of their lives.

It is important to avoid crypto FOMO by learning more about what it is through examples, understanding its causes and possible symptoms, and, ultimately, acting to prevent FOMO as an investor.

Examples of FOMO in Crypto

A familiar example of crypto FOMO to many is Dogecoin’s volatile movements in 2021. Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s tweets about Dogecoin caused FOMO among those who did not own Doge at the time. 

The meme cryptocurrency on several occasions has experienced a surge or plummet in price depending on how the words of Musk are perceived by the market. In May 2021, Dogecoin jumped ahead of Musk’s appearance on the TV show “Saturday Night Live” and then slid by nearly 30%, in the 24 hours after Dogecoin was referred to as a “hustle” on the show when he appeared.

The effect caused by FOMO in the crypto community has fueled the investment into many shitcoins. Crypto FOMO is fostered mainly by the desire to seize the next moneymaking successor to Bitcoin whenever possible. In reality, making a potentially profitable move in the market results from making rational decisions after conducting in-depth research before leaping to invest in any token.

Identifying the Cause of FOMO

FOMO is being driven in the cryptocurrency community for several reasons, and identifying some of them could help preempt the emotion when it next appears. The five causes below aren’t exhaustive, but the list may help lay the foundation for overcoming FOMO as a crypto trader or investor.

Catching the Next Big Move 

The idea of catching the next big move generally has dominated the crypto community, fired by the knowledge of how much money was made by some early investors in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Bitcoin, for example, has experienced cumulative growth of nearly 30,000% in the past nine years. The zeal to discover another such surge has prompted FOMO in the community.

Avoiding the Big Losses 

Crypto FOMO is often seen as being one-way: only profit-oriented, with individuals searching for a big move to gain from. But the reverse is also true: People experience FOMO when trying to avoid significant losses. One prominent example is the crash of TerraUSD (UST), a stablecoin that lost 70% of its value, from $1 to 30 cents, on May 11, 2022.

Access to Too Much information 

Information is a crucial driver, especially for profiting in the cryptocurrency space. But it also can be a tool that drives FOMO, mainly when there’s access to an overwhelming array of data from multiple sources.

The Early Entrant Wins All

This mentality stems from people who believe the early-mover advantage always leads to a positive outcome due to success stories of early investors in booming cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

Just as there are sometimes benefits to being an early investor, it’s worth acknowledging that there are downsides to trading and that not all cryptocurrencies will show up on the leaderboard of high-performing crypto assets. 

New, Untested Market 

Unlike the foreign exchange and stock markets, the crypto market is relatively untested, largely unregulated, and has a low barrier for entry. These factors have led to an influx of people with limited knowledge and understanding of how the market works eagerly participating, with their strategy mainly compelled by FOMO.

Signs of FOMO to Watch For

Understanding some of the causes of FOMO is a good first step, but being able to recognize the signs of it, especially in oneself, is just as important. Here are some behaviors that could indicate the possibility of an investor being FOMO-driven:

  1. The need to purchase a cryptocurrency on hearing it has gained a massive percentage. 
  2. A desire to trade or invest merely because a crypto asset recently has acquired popularity.
  3. Constantly contemplating how much could be made if a trade is executed.
  4. Obsession with social media focused on cryptocurrency trends and trades.

These four actions illustrate how greed can lead to making risky decisions, and how these choices can be irrational and fleeting.

How to Avoid FOMO as a Trader

Take the Time to Research

FOMO is compulsive and driven by information received from a variety of channels. Usually, news like that isn’t verified and is interpreted to suit a personal bias.

As a crypto investor, doing independent research to understand the coin’s situation is a must before being tempted to make an irrational decision that might trigger a loss or, even worse, liquidation. 

Rely on Trusted Media Outlets

Conducting research gives you with an edge in overcoming FOMO. Still, an additional helpful practice is having a list of expert individuals and media to turn to for more information. Relying on these selected media outlets and influencers as secondary sources contributes to better decision making on whether to buy or sell a crypto asset. The extra details and clarity can help inform trading or investment decisions.

You Can’t Win All the Time

Life is a combination of ups and downs; coming to this realization gives an investor a logical perspective and better grounding. Understanding that one can’t always be in a profitable position in investing sets the tone for more wins and being able to handle occasional losses. Not even Bitcoin advocates like MicroStrategy co-founder Michael Saylor are always on the winning side of the crypto market. An crypto investor’s or trader’s best bet is to develop strategies that make it easy to spot FOMO.

Developing a Guiding Strategy 

Having a guiding principle is a constructive way to get over the effects of FOMO. It means maintaining a checklist to prevent making drastic decisions or jumping too quickly on the market bandwagon. Your strategy will incorporate nuances like the use case of the crypto assets that you’re considering, its tokenomics, and more. Combine fundamental and technical analysis whenever possible to shield yourself from poorly thought-out trading decisions.

Know the Market Is Cyclical 

The cryptocurrency market, like others in the financial world, moves in an up-and-down cycle, with bullish and bearish periods. The bull market comprises a series of price highs, and the bear market comes with lows—and with people losing money. Understanding this cycle will help reduce the risk of being driven by FOMO, when you can recognize the right time to enter and exit a trade.

Learn from Previous Mistakes

One of the best ways to avoid anxiety from FOMO is to learn from previous mistakes. Reflect on that moment when you panic-sold your Bitcoin—prompted by news you heard about an incoming dump—only to watch its price rise sharply after you clicked the sell button. You discovered the information wasn’t profound or possibly wasn’t correct. A scenario such as that can make you regret selling. To sidestep this, reflect on a situation in which you made a trading decision that led to lost money, one that you regretted. As the saying goes, “Once bitten, twice shy” should be your guide.

Remember, FOMO Is a Tool for Scammers

Since crypto started gaining global recognition, many initial coin offerings (ICOs) have emerged. Some are genuine, but others have been a tool for exploitation

Scammers use these fraudulent tokens or ICOs to persuade investors via FOMO to sink money into them. One study showed that 80% of ICOs are a scam. Another report estimated that $9 million is lost daily to small-scale cryptocurrency scams. It’s important to remember how ICO scams can seem plausible when FOMO clouds a decision.

The Bottom Line

Forms of FOMO have been a part of human existence long before cryptocurrency was invented. With cryptocurrency, it can be detrimental because of the potential for losing an entire investment. Following guidance with discipline can help investors avert the danger and influence of cryptocurrency FOMO.

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. Australian Psychology Society, via Heads Up. “Stress and Wellbeing in Australia Survey,” Page 39.

  2. Investor.gov, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. “Thinking About Buying the Latest New Cryptocurrency or Token?

  3. Psychology Today. “6 Ways Real Investors Cope with Serious Financial Anxiety.”

  4. The Harvard Gazette. “Good Genes Are Nice, But Joy Is Better.”

  5. CoinDesk. “‘Call Me the Dogefather’: Elon Musk Explains Crypto to SNL’s Audience.”

  6. CoinGecko. “Bitcoin (BTC).”

  7. CoinMarketCap. “Terra Classic USD: Historical Data for Terra Classic USD,” select “Date Range: May 9, 2022 to May 13, 2022.”

  8. Investment Executive. “Crypto and FOMO Lure Retail Investors, ASIC Finds.”

  9. Satis Group, via Bloomberg. “Cryptoasset Market Coverage Initiation: Network Creation: Summary,” Page 1.

  10. Bitcoin.com News. “$9 Million a Day Is Lost in Cryptocurrency Scams.”

Take the Next Step to Invest
×
The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Investopedia receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where listings appear. Investopedia does not include all offers available in the marketplace.
Service
Name
Description