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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Need to Know
Cryptocurrencies let you purchase 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 goods and services, however utilizes 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 at times driving rates skyward.

Here are seven things to ask 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 products and services. Lots of companies have issued their own currencies, frequently called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the excellent or service that the company offers. Consider them as you would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll require to exchange real currency for the cryptocurrency to access the great or service.

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

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

More than 6,700 various 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 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 examine the existing price to buy Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies attract their fans for a range of reasons. 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 before they end up being better Some advocates like the truth that cryptocurrency removes central banks from handling the money supply, given that with time these banks tend to lower the value of money through inflation Other fans like the innovation behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, due to the fact that it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more protected than conventional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies since they’re increasing in value and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting approval as a way to move money

4. Are cryptocurrencies an excellent financial investment?

Cryptocurrencies might go up in worth, however lots of investors see them as simple speculations, not real financial investments. The reason? Just like real currencies, cryptocurrencies produce no cash flow, so for you to benefit, someone has 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 business, which increases its value over 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 authors have kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may not be that safe, and some notable voices in the investment neighborhood have recommended potential financiers to stay away from them. Of particular note, legendary investor Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s an extremely effective way of transmitting cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of sending money too. Are checks worth a great deal of cash? Just because they can send money?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it needs to be kept in mind that a currency requires stability so that merchants and consumers can identify what a reasonable cost is for goods. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have actually 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 price volatility creates a conundrum. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, individuals are less likely to spend and flow them today, making them less feasible as a currency. Why invest a bitcoin when it could be worth three times the worth next year?

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