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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Must Know
Cryptocurrencies let you buy items 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 products and services, but 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 at times driving costs skyward.

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

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a form of payment that can be exchanged online for goods and services. Many business have actually provided their own currencies, often called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the great or service that the business provides. Think about them as you would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll need to exchange real currency for the cryptocurrency to access the good or service.

Cryptocurrencies work using an innovation called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread throughout numerous computers that manages and tape-records 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 different cryptocurrencies are traded publicly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a marketing research site. 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 overall worth of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can inspect the existing rate to purchase Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies appeal to their fans 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 prior to they become more valuable Some fans like the reality that cryptocurrency removes central banks from handling the money supply, considering that in time these banks tend to reduce the worth of cash by means of inflation Other fans like the innovation behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, since it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more secure than standard payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies since they’re increasing in worth and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting acceptance as a method to move cash

4. Are cryptocurrencies an excellent investment?

Cryptocurrencies might increase in worth, however many investors see them as mere speculations, not real financial investments. The factor? Just like genuine currencies, cryptocurrencies create no capital, so for you to benefit, someone has to pay more for the currency than you did.

That’s what’s called “the higher fool” theory of financial investment. Contrast that to a well-managed business, which increases its worth 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 requires stability.” As NerdWallet writers have actually noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may not be that safe, and some noteworthy voices in the investment community have encouraged prospective financiers to avoid them. Of specific note, famous investor Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a very efficient method of sending cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of sending cash too. Are checks worth a lot of cash? Just because they can transfer cash?” 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 so that merchants and consumers can determine what a fair cost is for items. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been anything but stable through much of their history. For instance, 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 rate volatility develops a problem. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, individuals are less most likely to spend and distribute them today, making them less feasible as a currency. Why spend a bitcoin when it could be worth three times the value next year?

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