The past year has been rough for crypto, with most investments seeing their prices plummet.

Bitcoin (BTC -0.50%) and Ethereum (ETH -0.43%) are both down nearly 70% from their peaks last year, for example. Smaller cryptocurrencies have been hit even harder, with Solana (SOL 1.65%) falling by close to 87% from its peak.

With many investors concerned about a recession on the horizon, there's a chance that crypto prices may not bounce back anytime soon. Here's why I'm continuing to invest anyway.

Investing in crypto is a long-term strategy

Crypto is notoriously volatile in the short term, and even the most popular cryptocurrencies have seen their prices fluctuate wildly from year to year. But over the long term, many investments have seen positive returns.

For example, although Ethereum is currently down almost 70% over the past year, it's up more than 52,000% since its inception in 2015. In the last five years alone, its price has soared by more than 400% -- despite several major downturns in that time.

Other cryptocurrencies have seen similar upward trends over the years. Cardano (ADA -0.59%), for example, is up by more than 1,500% since it was launched in 2017. Bitcoin's price has increased by nearly 3,500% since 2012. And Solana is up by more than 3,000% since its inception in 2020.

In other words, many cryptocurrencies have seen phenomenal long-term gains despite short-term volatility. If you buy now and hold onto your investments for at least a few years, you'll have a better chance of making a lot of money with crypto.

Risks to consider before you buy

Crypto can potentially be a lucrative investment over time. If you had invested just $100 in Bitcoin back in 2011, for example, that investment would be worth more than $2 million today.

However, it's important to keep in mind that all cryptocurrency is still speculative right now. Nobody knows for certain how the sector will perform over time, so investing in crypto does carry a certain degree of risk.

To lower your risk, be sure you've done your research when deciding where to buy. The strongest cryptocurrencies will have some sort of real-world utility and the potential for long-term growth. Explosive short-term investments can be tempting, but they can be extremely risky -- and there's a higher chance you'll lose more than you gain.

You can also keep your money safer by ensuring that the rest of your portfolio is strong and well-diversified. Stocks, in general, are less risky than crypto. By double-checking that you're investing in a wide variety of long-term stocks from healthy companies, you can better protect your savings just in case your crypto investment doesn't pan out.

Is now the right time to invest in crypto?

While prices are plummeting and nobody knows when this crypto winter will end, that doesn't necessarily mean right now is a bad time to buy.

Because prices are so much lower now, it can be a fantastic time to buy. Even the most expensive cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are priced at a 70% discount compared to one year ago, and if you've been waiting for a more affordable time to buy, now may be your chance.

Again, crypto is a risky investment, so there are no guarantees that it will make you a millionaire. But I'm still buying despite plunging prices, and if you're willing to take on higher risk for higher potential rewards, now could be one of the best times to invest in crypto.