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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Should 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 safeguard yourself.

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A cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) is a digital currency that can be used to purchase goods and services, but uses an online journal with strong cryptography to protect online deals. Much of the interest in these unregulated currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators at times driving rates skyward.

Here are 7 things to inquire about cryptocurrency, and what to watch out for.

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a kind of payment that can be exchanged online for items and services. Lots of business have provided their own currencies, often called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the great or service that the company supplies. Consider them as you would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll need to exchange genuine currency for the cryptocurrency to access the good or service.

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

2. The number of cryptocurrencies are there? What are they worth?

More than 6,700 different cryptocurrencies are traded openly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a market research site. 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 overall worth of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can inspect the current rate to purchase Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies appeal to their supporters 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, probably before they become more valuable Some advocates like the fact that cryptocurrency eliminates central banks from managing the cash supply, considering that over time these banks tend to reduce the value of money through inflation Other fans like the technology behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, because it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more protected than conventional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies because they’re increasing in value and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting approval as a method to move cash

4. Are cryptocurrencies a great investment?

Cryptocurrencies might go up in worth, but numerous financiers see them as mere speculations, not real investments. The reason? Just like genuine currencies, cryptocurrencies produce no capital, 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 financial investment. Contrast that to a well-managed service, which increases its worth 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 kept in mind that a currency needs stability.” As NerdWallet writers have kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may not be that safe, and some notable voices in the investment neighborhood have actually advised potential financiers to steer clear of 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 transferring money too. Are checks worth a whole lot of cash? Just because they can transfer 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 customers can identify what a reasonable price is for products. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been anything but stable through much of their history. For example, while Bitcoin traded at close to $20,000 in December 2017, its worth then dropped to as low as about $3,200 a year later on. By December 2020, it was trading at record levels again.

This cost volatility develops a problem. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, people are less most likely to invest and flow them today, making them less viable as a currency. Why invest a bitcoin when it could be worth three times the value next year?

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