It may still be too early to tell, but The Merge has thus far been disappointing from an investment perspective. This technological upgrade from Ethereum (ETH -0.13%) was one of the most hyped events of the year, but the price of Ethereum has not responded as planned. The crypto is down nearly 65% for the year and an eye-popping 20% since The Merge took place on Sept. 15.

One major takeaway from The Merge is that the overall macroeconomic environment is going to far outweigh any news from a crypto, no matter how positive. Right now, investors are focused on bigger issues, like inflation, Federal Reserve rate hikes, and the risks of a lingering recession.

With that in mind, here are three crypto investment lessons from The Merge.

Investor analyzing Ethereum on a tablet.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Only buy cryptos you are willing to hold for the long term

This sounds like something Warren Buffett might say, and for good reason. Buffett has often used this advice to justify his investment decisions in the stock market. But this advice can just as easily be applied to the crypto market. The people who are most likely to lose money on Ethereum are all the investors who were chasing after an easy profit by buying a crypto they didn't really understand.

They hoped to buy Ethereum on the cheap during the summer, hold on to it just long enough to make a tidy profit, and then cash out. That's not going to happen anytime soon with Ethereum, given current market conditions. So they are either stuck with an underperforming asset they don't like in their portfolio, or are forced to take a loss on their position. Ouch!

2. It's almost impossible to time the market perfectly

Crypto investors who piled into Ethereum during the summer thought the price of the crypto would generally trend up for some time before finally hitting a crescendo on or about the date of The Merge. The media was filled with stories about "why you need to buy Ethereum ahead of The Merge." The logic seemed so simple: Get in during the summer, watch your crypto skyrocket in value, and then tell all your friends you were "early" on Ethereum. Unfortunately, the only people who were "early" on Ethereum were the people who started accumulating Ethereum back in 2015.

Moreover, if you look at the stock chart for Ethereum before The Merge, it's very striking visual proof that it's almost impossible to time the market perfectly. There are zigs and zags, peaks and valleys, all while the market was trying to find the "real" market price of Ethereum. If you bought Ethereum in mid-August, just 30 days before The Merge, you were probably paying close to $2,000 for Ethereum. Yes, you were "early" on Ethereum, but not nearly early enough. 

3. Cryptos have business fundamentals

In the crypto industry, the decision of whether to buy a crypto for many people usually comes down to a single question: "Is it currently going up, or is it currently going down?" But this is an extraordinarily lazy way to think about investing in crypto. It also explains why a lot of people are probably feeling like they got burned by investing in Ethereum. The painful lesson here (sorry, folks) is that you have to do your homework if you want to find a quality crypto.

The difficulty, of course, is that cryptos are not companies. They don't have "earnings," they don't generate cash flows, and they don't have quarterly calls where you can sit down with the company's executives and really dig into the numbers.

But there are plenty of places around the web where you can find important metrics that give you insights into the true fundamentals of a crypto. For example, Total Value Locked (TVL) has emerged as a favorite metric for measuring how much activity is actually happening on a blockchain. There are plenty of cryptos that claim they have a lot of activity happening, but when you check the TVL figure, the argument seems to be more hype than reality.

So is Ethereum a buy?

The good news is that the underlying fundamentals for Ethereum continue to look good. In terms of TVL, Ethereum is still the acknowledged leader by a wide margin, responsible for more than 57% of all TVL among blockchains. If you take a look at Ethereum's position in the non-fungible token (NFT) market, it is still the dominant blockchain by nearly any metric. So we know that, fundamentally, Ethereum is still a quality crypto. Over time, its price should go up.

If you're thinking about buying Ethereum, however, forget about trying to time this market. It's still down nearly 75% from its all-time-high of $4,891.70, so it's currently on sale. Buy it now and hold it forever. Your crypto portfolio could thank you later.