As cryptocurrency prices continue to slide, some investors are taking this opportunity to stock up at a discount.
This can be a smart move in some cases. If prices eventually rebound, you can stand to make a lot of money by investing right now. That said, it's important to invest in the right places, because not all cryptocurrencies will be able to recover from severe downturns.
While it can be tempting to load up on riskier investments because they're more affordable right now, there are two ultra-popular cryptocurrencies it's best to avoid.
1. Shiba Inu
Shiba Inu (SHIB -0.28%) saw astronomical returns last year, becoming one of the most popular cryptocurrencies of 2021. However, it's currently down around 76% from its all-time high in October.
Although most cryptocurrencies have been hit hard in this downturn, Shiba Inu may have a harder time recovering. Its rise to popularity was due primarily to hype, as retail investors bought the cryptocurrency in droves to drive up its price -- only to sell shortly after it peaked.
In its defense, Shiba Inu has been trying to emphasize its real-world utility. Its developers created ShibaSwap (BONE), for example, a decentralized exchange where Shiba Inu investors can trade without an intermediary.
Overall, though, Shiba Inu has very little in terms of utility. It's far from being a widely accepted form of payment, and its extreme volatility makes it a poor store of value. In addition, the top 10 Shiba Inu accounts control nearly 65% of all the coins in circulation. If any of those investors choose to sell, the price of Shiba Inu could plummet overnight.
The original meme coin, Dogecoin (DOGE -1.30%), inspired a slew of canine-related cryptocurrencies -- including Shiba Inu. It's been on a downhill slide since last summer, however, falling more than 81% since its peak in May 2021.
Like Shiba Inu, Dogecoin's rise to popularity is mostly fueled by retail investors rather than real-world utility. Although Dogecoin has gained wider acceptance as a form of exchange, it's nowhere near competitors like Bitcoin (BTC -0.29%).
It also doesn't allow decentralized applications (dApps) like non-fungible token (NFT) marketplaces or decentralized finance (DeFi) projects, which makes it hard for Dogecoin to compete with networks like Ethereum (ETH -0.74%).
Although Dogecoin has managed to stay afloat after its most significant crash last year, without any serious competitive advantages, it will be tough for it to stick around for the long term.
How to choose the right cryptocurrency
Crypto can be a tricky investment because it's still speculative. Even the strongest cryptocurrencies are not guaranteed to survive over the long term, so no matter where you invest, there's a certain degree of risk.
That said, you can limit your risk by choosing investments that have more real-world utility. Bitcoin and Ethereum, for example, are not only the two most popular investments in the crypto space, but they also have real uses. Bitcoin is a form of exchange as well as a store of value, and Ethereum's network can host everything from NFT marketplaces to DeFi projects.
There are also smaller projects gaining traction, like Solana (SOL -2.43%) and Cardano (ADA -1.77%). While these cryptocurrencies are not as widely adopted as Bitcoin and Ethereum, they do have real uses and plenty of long-term potential.
The most important thing to remember when buying crypto is to try your best to avoid hype. If a cryptocurrency's price is skyrocketing for no apparent reason, that's a major red flag. By doing plenty of research before you invest, your crypto investments have a much better chance of surviving volatility.