What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Should 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 safeguard yourself.
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A cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) is a digital currency that can be used to purchase goods and services, however utilizes an online ledger with strong cryptography to protect online transactions. Much of the interest in these unregulated currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators sometimes driving prices skyward.
Here are seven 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, typically called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the excellent or service that the company offers. Think of them as you would arcade tokens or gambling establishment chips. You’ll need to exchange real currency for the cryptocurrency to access the good or service.
Cryptocurrencies work using a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized innovation spread across many computers that manages and records transactions. Part of the appeal of this technology 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 marketing research site. And cryptocurrencies continue to multiply, raising money through initial 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 total value of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can check the current price to buy Bitcoin here
3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?
Cryptocurrencies attract their fans for a variety 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, presumably prior to they end up being more valuable Some fans like the fact that cryptocurrency removes reserve banks from managing the money supply, considering that gradually these banks tend to lower the value of cash through inflation Other supporters like the innovation behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, since it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more protected than standard payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies due to the fact that they’re increasing in worth and have no interest in the currencies’ long-term approval as a way to move money
4. Are cryptocurrencies a great financial investment?
Cryptocurrencies might go up in value, however many investors see them as simple speculations, not real investments. The reason? Similar to real currencies, cryptocurrencies generate 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 in time by growing the profitability and cash flow of the operation.
For those who see cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin as the currency of the future, it needs to be kept in mind that a currency needs stability.” As NerdWallet writers have noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some significant voices in the financial investment community have advised potential financiers to steer clear of them. Of particular note, famous financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s an extremely effective method of sending money and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a method of transferring cash too. Are checks worth a great deal of cash? Even if they can transfer money?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it needs to be noted that a currency needs stability so that merchants and customers 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 value then dropped to as low as about $3,200 a year later. 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, people are less most likely to spend and distribute them today, making them less viable as a currency. Why invest a bitcoin when it could be worth 3 times the worth next year?