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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Should Know
Cryptocurrencies let you buy goods 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 buy products and services, however uses an online ledger with strong cryptography to secure online transactions. Much of the interest in these uncontrolled currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators at times driving costs skyward.

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

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a form of payment that can be exchanged online for products and services. Many companies have actually released their own currencies, frequently called tokens, and these can be traded particularly for the great or service that the company offers. 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 utilizing a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread across numerous computer systems that manages and tape-records 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 different cryptocurrencies are traded openly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a market research site. And cryptocurrencies continue to proliferate, raising money through preliminary 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 worth of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can examine the current cost to buy Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies interest their fans for a variety of factors. Here are a few 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 more valuable Some fans like the fact that cryptocurrency eliminates central banks from managing the money supply, because over time these banks tend to reduce the value of money by means of inflation Other fans like the technology behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, because it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more safe than traditional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies because they’re going up in value and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting acceptance as a method to move money

4. Are cryptocurrencies an excellent investment?

Cryptocurrencies may go up in worth, however many financiers see them as mere speculations, not real investments. The factor? 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 higher fool” theory of investment. Contrast that to a well-managed organization, which increases its value 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 should be kept in mind that a currency requires stability.” As NerdWallet authors have noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may not be that safe, and some significant voices in the investment neighborhood have encouraged would-be investors to avoid them. Of particular note, famous investor Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s an extremely effective way of sending money and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of transmitting cash too. Are checks worth a great deal of cash? Just because they can transmit money?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it ought 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 however stable through much of their history. For instance, while Bitcoin traded at near 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 cost volatility produces 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 viable as a currency. Why invest a bitcoin when it could be worth three times the worth next year?

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