What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Must Know
Cryptocurrencies let you purchase items and services, or trade them for profit. Here’s more about what cryptocurrency is, how to buy it and how to secure yourself.
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A cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) is a digital currency that can be used to buy products and services, but uses an online ledger with strong cryptography to secure online deals. Much of the interest in these unregulated currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators at times driving costs skyward.
Here are 7 things to ask 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. Lots of business have issued their own currencies, frequently called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the good or service that the company offers. Think about them as you would arcade tokens or gambling establishment chips. You’ll need to exchange genuine currency for the cryptocurrency to access the good or service.
Cryptocurrencies work using an innovation called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread throughout lots of computers that handles and records transactions. Part of the appeal of this technology is its security.
2. The number of cryptocurrencies are there? What are they worth?
More than 6,700 various cryptocurrencies are traded openly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a marketing research site. And cryptocurrencies continue to proliferate, raising money through preliminary coin offerings, or ICOs. The overall value of all cryptocurrencies on Dec. 18, 2020, was more than $645.7 billion, according to CoinMarketCap, and the overall value of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can inspect the current cost to buy Bitcoin here
3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?
Cryptocurrencies attract their supporters for a range of factors. Here are some 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 before they end up being more valuable Some supporters like the truth that cryptocurrency removes central banks from handling the cash supply, considering that over time these banks tend to decrease the worth of cash by means of inflation Other fans like the technology behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, due to the fact that it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more safe and secure than conventional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies since they’re going up in value and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting acceptance as a way to move cash
4. Are cryptocurrencies a good financial investment?
Cryptocurrencies might increase in worth, but numerous financiers see them as simple speculations, not real investments. The reason? Just like genuine currencies, cryptocurrencies generate no capital, so for you to benefit, someone 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 in 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 must be noted that a currency needs stability.” As NerdWallet authors have noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may not be that safe, and some notable voices in the investment community have actually advised would-be financiers to stay away from them. Of particular note, legendary investor Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s an extremely reliable method of transmitting money and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a method of transmitting money too. Are checks worth a great deal of money? Just because they can transfer money?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it must be noted that a currency requires stability so that merchants and consumers can identify what a fair rate is for items. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been anything however stable through much of their history. While Bitcoin traded at close to $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 rate volatility creates a problem. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, individuals are less most likely to spend and flow them today, making them less practical as a currency. Why invest a bitcoin when it could be worth three times the value next year?