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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 secure yourself.

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A cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) is a digital currency that can be used to purchase goods and services, however uses an online ledger with strong cryptography to secure online transactions. 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 ask about cryptocurrency, and what to look out for.

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a type of payment that can be exchanged online for items and services. Numerous business have provided their own currencies, typically called tokens, and these can be traded particularly for the good or service that the business offers. Think about 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 utilizing a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread across many computers that handles and tapes deals. 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 various cryptocurrencies are traded openly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a marketing research website. And cryptocurrencies continue to multiply, raising money through preliminary 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 worth of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can examine the current cost to purchase Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies interest their supporters for a variety of factors. Here are some of the most popular:

Advocates see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future and are racing to buy them now, most likely prior to they become better Some fans like the truth that cryptocurrency removes reserve banks from handling the cash supply, since in time these banks tend to lower the worth of money through inflation Other advocates 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 value and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting acceptance as a way to move cash

4. Are cryptocurrencies an excellent investment?

Cryptocurrencies may increase in value, however many financiers see them as mere speculations, not real investments. The reason? Just like real currencies, cryptocurrencies create no cash flow, so for you to profit, somebody has 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 business, which increases its worth gradually by growing the success and cash flow of the operation.

For those who see cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin as the currency of the future, it ought to be noted that a currency needs stability.” As NerdWallet writers have kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some notable voices in the investment community have recommended potential investors to avoid them. Of particular note, famous financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s an extremely efficient way of sending cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a method of transmitting 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 ought to be noted that a currency requires stability so that merchants and customers can identify what a fair cost is for products. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have actually been anything but 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 cost volatility creates a quandary. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, individuals are less likely to invest and distribute them today, making them less viable as a currency. Why spend a bitcoin when it could be worth three times the worth next year?

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