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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Should 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 protect yourself.

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A cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) is a digital currency that can be used to buy items and services, but uses an online ledger with strong cryptography to secure online transactions. Much of the interest in these uncontrolled currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators at times driving costs skyward.

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

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a form of payment that can be exchanged online for goods and services. Many companies have actually issued their own currencies, frequently called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the great or service that the company supplies. Consider them as you would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll need to exchange genuine currency for the cryptocurrency to access the great or service.

Cryptocurrencies work using a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread across many computers that manages and tape-records transactions. Part of the appeal of this innovation is its security.

2. How many cryptocurrencies exist? What are they worth?

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

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies attract their fans for a range of reasons. Here are a few of the most popular:

Fans see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future and are racing to buy them now, most likely prior to they become more valuable Some fans like the reality that cryptocurrency gets rid of reserve banks from managing the money supply, since in time these banks tend to decrease the value of money via inflation Other advocates like the technology behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, because it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more safe and secure than traditional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies due to the fact that they’re increasing in value and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting acceptance as a method to move cash

4. Are cryptocurrencies a good investment?

Cryptocurrencies might increase in worth, but lots of financiers see them as simple speculations, not real financial investments. The reason? Similar to genuine currencies, cryptocurrencies generate no cash flow, so for you to profit, somebody has to pay more for the currency than you did.

That’s what’s called “the greater fool” theory of investment. Contrast that to a well-managed company, which increases its worth over time by growing the profitability and capital of the operation.

For those who see cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin as the currency of the future, it ought to be noted that a currency needs stability.” As NerdWallet writers have actually noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some noteworthy voices in the financial investment community have actually advised prospective investors to avoid them. Of specific note, famous investor Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a really reliable method of sending money and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of transferring cash too. Are checks worth a great deal of cash? Just because they can transmit cash?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it ought to be kept in mind that a currency needs stability so that merchants and consumers can determine what a reasonable cost is for products. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been anything but stable through much of their history. For instance, while Bitcoin traded at near to $20,000 in December 2017, its value then dropped to as low as about $3,200 a year later on. By December 2020, it was trading at record levels once again.

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

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