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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Need to Know
Cryptocurrencies let you buy 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, however utilizes an online journal with strong cryptography to protect online transactions. Much of the interest in these unregulated currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators sometimes driving costs skyward.

Here are seven 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. Many companies have actually released their own currencies, typically called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the excellent or service that the business supplies. Consider them as you would arcade tokens or gambling establishment chips. You’ll require to exchange genuine currency for the cryptocurrency to access the good or service.

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

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

More than 6,700 various cryptocurrencies are traded publicly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a market research site. And cryptocurrencies continue to proliferate, 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 value of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can check the current cost to buy Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

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

Supporters see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future and are racing to buy them now, presumably before they end up being better Some fans like the reality that cryptocurrency removes reserve banks from managing the money supply, given that gradually these banks tend to lower the worth of cash via inflation Other supporters like the innovation behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, since it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more safe than conventional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies since they’re increasing in worth and have no interest in the currencies’ long-term approval as a way to move cash

4. Are cryptocurrencies a good financial investment?

Cryptocurrencies may go up in value, however many financiers see them as mere speculations, not real financial investments. The reason? Just like real currencies, cryptocurrencies produce no cash flow, so for you to benefit, someone needs 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 value gradually 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 requires stability.” As NerdWallet writers have kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may not be that safe, and some noteworthy voices in the financial investment community have actually recommended prospective investors to stay away from them. Of specific note, legendary financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a very effective 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 lot of money? Just because they can send cash?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it must be kept in mind that a currency requires stability so that merchants and customers can identify what a fair cost is for products. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been anything but stable through much of their history. For instance, while Bitcoin traded at close to $20,000 in December 2017, its value then dropped to as low as about $3,200 a year later. By December 2020, it was trading at record levels again.

This rate volatility develops a dilemma. 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 viable as a currency. Why invest a bitcoin when it could be worth 3 times the value next year?

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