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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Need to Know
Cryptocurrencies let you purchase goods and services, or trade them for profit. Here’s more about what cryptocurrency is, how to buy it and how to safeguard yourself.

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A cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) is a digital currency that can be used to purchase products and services, but uses an online ledger with strong cryptography to protect online deals. Much of the interest in these unregulated currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators sometimes driving costs skyward.

Here are 7 things to inquire about cryptocurrency, and what to watch out for.

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a type of payment that can be exchanged online for goods and services. Many companies have provided their own currencies, often called tokens, and these can be traded particularly for the great or service that the company offers. Think about them as you would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll need to exchange real currency for the cryptocurrency to access the excellent or service.

Cryptocurrencies work using an innovation called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread throughout numerous computer systems that handles and records transactions. Part of the appeal of this innovation is its security.

2. The number of cryptocurrencies are there? What are they worth?

More than 6,700 different cryptocurrencies are traded openly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a market research site. And cryptocurrencies continue to multiply, raising money through initial coin offerings, or ICOs. The total worth of all cryptocurrencies on Dec. 18, 2020, was more than $645.7 billion, according to CoinMarketCap, and the total worth of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can check the current cost to purchase Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies attract their supporters for a variety of factors. Here are some of the most popular:

Advocates see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future and are racing to buy them now, probably prior to they end up being more valuable Some advocates like the truth that cryptocurrency gets rid of reserve banks from managing the cash supply, since gradually these banks tend to reduce the value of money by means of inflation Other advocates like the technology behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, because it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more safe than traditional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies because they’re going up in worth and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting acceptance as a method to move money

4. Are cryptocurrencies a great financial investment?

Cryptocurrencies might increase in value, however numerous investors see them as simple speculations, not real financial investments. The reason? Similar to real currencies, cryptocurrencies produce no capital, so for you to profit, somebody needs to pay more for the currency than you did.

That’s what’s called “the higher fool” theory of investment. Contrast that to a well-managed service, which increases its worth with time by growing the success and cash flow of the operation.

For those who see cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin as the currency of the future, it should be noted that a currency needs stability.” As NerdWallet writers have kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some noteworthy voices in the investment neighborhood have advised would-be financiers to avoid them. Of specific note, famous financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s an extremely effective way of transferring cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of transmitting cash too. Are checks worth a great deal of cash? Even if they can send money?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it should be noted that a currency requires stability so that merchants and customers can determine what a reasonable cost is for goods. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have actually been anything however stable through much of their history. For example, while Bitcoin traded at near $20,000 in December 2017, its worth then dropped to as low as about $3,200 a year later on. By December 2020, it was trading at record levels again.

This price volatility develops a quandary. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, people are less most likely to invest and flow them today, making them less viable as a currency. Why spend a bitcoin when it could be worth 3 times the worth next year?

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