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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Need to Know
Cryptocurrencies let you buy products 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 utilized to purchase goods and services, but utilizes an online ledger with strong cryptography to secure online deals. 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 look out for.

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a form of payment that can be exchanged online for items and services. Numerous companies have issued their own currencies, frequently called tokens, and these can be traded particularly for the good or service that the company offers. Think of them as you would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll need to exchange genuine currency for the cryptocurrency to access the excellent or service.

Cryptocurrencies work utilizing a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized innovation spread across many computer systems that manages and tape-records deals. Part of the appeal of this technology is its security.

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

More than 6,700 different cryptocurrencies are traded publicly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a marketing research website. And cryptocurrencies continue to multiply, 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 overall worth 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 appeal to their fans for a range of factors. Here are a few of the most popular:

Supporters see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future and are racing to purchase them now, presumably before they become more valuable Some fans like the reality that cryptocurrency removes reserve banks from managing the cash supply, given that over time these banks tend to reduce the worth of cash via 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 standard payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies since they’re increasing in worth and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting acceptance as a way to move money

4. Are cryptocurrencies an excellent financial investment?

Cryptocurrencies may increase in worth, however numerous investors see them as simple speculations, not real financial investments. The reason? Much like genuine currencies, cryptocurrencies generate 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 higher fool” theory of investment. Contrast that to a well-managed company, 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 needs to be noted that a currency needs stability.” As NerdWallet authors have kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some noteworthy voices in the investment community have advised potential investors to stay away from them. Of particular note, legendary financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a very reliable method of sending money and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a method of transferring money too. Are checks worth a lot of cash? Just because they can transfer cash?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it must be noted that a currency requires stability so that merchants and customers can identify what a fair rate is for goods. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been anything however stable through much of their history. For instance, 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 on. By December 2020, it was trading at record levels again.

This rate volatility produces a conundrum. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, people are less likely to spend and flow them today, making them less feasible as a currency. Why spend a bitcoin when it could be worth three times the value next year?

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