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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Must Know
Cryptocurrencies let you purchase products 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 transactions. Much of the interest in these uncontrolled currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators sometimes driving costs skyward.

Here are 7 things to inquire about cryptocurrency, and what to keep an eye out for.

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a kind of payment that can be exchanged online for items and services. Lots of companies have actually released their own currencies, typically called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the great or service that the business offers. Think about them as you would arcade tokens or gambling establishment chips. You’ll require to exchange genuine currency for the cryptocurrency to access the excellent or service.

Cryptocurrencies work using a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized innovation spread throughout lots of computers that handles and tape-records deals. Part of the appeal of this technology is its security.

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

More than 6,700 different cryptocurrencies are traded publicly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a marketing research website. And cryptocurrencies continue to proliferate, raising money through initial coin offerings, or ICOs. The total value 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 examine the existing price to purchase Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies attract their fans for a variety of factors. Here are a few of the most popular:

Advocates see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future and are racing to purchase them now, most likely prior to they become more valuable Some supporters like the fact that cryptocurrency gets rid of reserve banks from handling the money supply, since over time these banks tend to reduce the value of cash via inflation Other fans like the innovation 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 due to the fact that they’re increasing in value and have no interest in the currencies’ long-term approval as a method to move money

4. Are cryptocurrencies an excellent financial investment?

Cryptocurrencies might go up in value, however numerous financiers see them as simple speculations, not real investments. The reason? Just like real currencies, cryptocurrencies produce no cash flow, so for you to profit, someone needs to pay more for the currency than you did.

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

For those who see cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin as the currency of the future, it needs to be noted that a currency needs stability.” As NerdWallet authors have actually kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some noteworthy voices in the investment neighborhood have advised potential financiers to avoid them. Of specific note, legendary financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a very reliable way of transmitting cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a method of transmitting money too. Are checks worth a whole lot of cash? Even if they can transfer money?” 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 customers can identify what a fair rate is for goods. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been anything but stable through much of their history. For example, while Bitcoin traded at near $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 produces a problem. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, individuals are less most likely to invest and circulate them today, making them less viable as a currency. Why invest a bitcoin when it could be worth 3 times the value next year?

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