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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Should Know
Cryptocurrencies let you buy items and services, or trade them for profit. Here’s more about what cryptocurrency is, how to buy it and how to protect yourself.

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A cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) is a digital currency that can be utilized to purchase products and services, but utilizes an online ledger with strong cryptography to protect online deals. Much of the interest in these unregulated currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators sometimes driving costs skyward.

Here are 7 things to ask about cryptocurrency, and what to watch out for.

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a form of payment that can be exchanged online for goods and services. Lots of business 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 gambling establishment 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 throughout many computer systems that manages and tape-records deals. Part of the appeal of this technology is its security.

2. How many cryptocurrencies are there? 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 proliferate, raising money through initial coin offerings, or ICOs. The total 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 check the current rate to purchase Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies appeal to their fans for a variety 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 prior to they become better Some supporters like the truth that cryptocurrency eliminates central banks from handling the money supply, since over time these banks tend to lower the worth of cash via inflation Other fans like the technology behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, due to the fact that it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more secure than standard payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies since they’re going up in worth and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting acceptance as a method to move cash

4. Are cryptocurrencies an excellent financial investment?

Cryptocurrencies may go up in value, but numerous investors see them as simple speculations, not real investments. The reason? Similar to genuine currencies, cryptocurrencies create no capital, so for you to profit, someone has to pay more for the currency than you did.

That’s what’s called “the higher fool” theory of financial investment. Contrast that to a well-managed company, which increases its value gradually by growing the profitability 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 noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some noteworthy voices in the financial investment community have recommended prospective investors to stay away from them. Of particular note, famous financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a really effective way of transferring cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of transferring money too. Are checks worth a lot of money? Even if 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 needs stability so that merchants and consumers can identify what a fair rate 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 worth then dropped to as low as about $3,200 a year later on. 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, people are less most likely to spend and flow them today, making them less feasible as a currency. Why invest a bitcoin when it could be worth 3 times the value next year?

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