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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Must 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 buy goods and services, but 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 costs skyward.

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

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a form of payment that can be exchanged online for goods and services. Numerous companies have issued their own currencies, typically called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the good or service that the company supplies. Think of them as you would arcade tokens or gambling establishment chips. You’ll need to exchange genuine currency for the cryptocurrency to access the great or service.

Cryptocurrencies work using a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread throughout lots of computers that manages and tapes deals. 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 website. 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 overall value of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can check the existing price to buy Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies interest their supporters 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 become better Some fans like the reality that cryptocurrency gets rid of reserve banks from handling the money supply, considering that with time these banks tend to reduce the value of money through inflation Other fans like the innovation behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, because it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more safe and secure than conventional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies due to the fact that they’re increasing in worth and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting acceptance as a way to move cash

4. Are cryptocurrencies a great financial investment?

Cryptocurrencies might go up in worth, but lots of investors see them as simple speculations, not real investments. The factor? Similar to real currencies, cryptocurrencies produce no capital, so for you to profit, 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 company, which increases its value 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 should be noted that a currency requires stability.” As NerdWallet writers have actually kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may not be that safe, and some notable voices in the investment neighborhood have actually recommended would-be investors to stay away from them. Of specific note, famous investor Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a very effective method of transmitting money and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of sending cash too. Are checks worth a whole lot of cash? Even if they can transmit cash?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it should be noted that a currency requires stability so that merchants and consumers can determine what a reasonable cost is for items. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been anything but stable through much of their history. 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. 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, people are less likely to invest and circulate them today, making them less practical as a currency. Why invest a bitcoin when it could be worth three times the value next year?

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