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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Should 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 used to purchase products and services, but uses 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 sometimes driving prices skyward.

Here are seven things to ask about cryptocurrency, and what to keep an eye 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 particularly for the great or service that the company supplies. Think of them as you would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll need to exchange real currency for the cryptocurrency to access the good or service.

Cryptocurrencies work using an innovation called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread across numerous computer systems that manages and tapes 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 market 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 total worth of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can inspect the existing price to purchase Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies interest their supporters for a range of reasons. Here are some of the most popular:

Supporters see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future and are racing to purchase them now, most likely before they become better Some supporters like the fact that cryptocurrency gets rid of reserve banks from handling the money supply, since gradually these banks tend to minimize the worth of money by means of inflation Other supporters like the technology behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, since it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more safe and secure than traditional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies due to the fact that they’re increasing in value and have no interest in the currencies’ long-term approval as a method to move money

4. Are cryptocurrencies a good financial investment?

Cryptocurrencies might go up in value, however lots of financiers see them as simple speculations, not real financial investments. The factor? Much like real currencies, cryptocurrencies generate no capital, 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 investment. Contrast that to a well-managed business, which increases its value with time by growing the profitability 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 noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some noteworthy voices in the investment neighborhood have actually encouraged prospective investors to stay away from them. Of particular note, legendary financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a very efficient way of transferring cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a method of transmitting money too. Are checks worth a whole lot of money? Just because they can send cash?” 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 so that merchants and consumers can identify what a reasonable rate is for products. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been anything however stable through much of their history. For example, while Bitcoin traded at near $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 rate volatility develops a problem. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, individuals are less most likely to spend and flow 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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