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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Must Know
Cryptocurrencies let you purchase goods 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 utilizes an online journal with strong cryptography to protect online deals. Much of the interest in these unregulated currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators sometimes driving rates skyward.

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

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a type of payment that can be exchanged online for goods and services. Lots of companies have issued their own currencies, typically called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the great or service that the business 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 excellent or service.

Cryptocurrencies work using an innovation called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread throughout many computer systems that manages and records transactions. Part of the appeal of this innovation is its security.

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

More than 6,700 different cryptocurrencies are traded openly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a marketing research site. And cryptocurrencies continue to multiply, raising money through preliminary 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 value 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 appeal to 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 buy them now, presumably prior to they become better Some fans like the reality that cryptocurrency removes central banks from handling the cash supply, because gradually these banks tend to reduce 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 secure than traditional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies because they’re going up in value and have no interest in the currencies’ long-term approval as a way to move money

4. Are cryptocurrencies a good investment?

Cryptocurrencies may go up in worth, but numerous investors see them as simple speculations, not real financial investments. The factor? Just like genuine currencies, cryptocurrencies create no cash flow, so for you to benefit, somebody 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 in time 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 writers have actually noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some significant voices in the financial investment community have recommended prospective investors to stay away from them. Of specific note, legendary investor Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s an extremely effective method of sending money and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of sending money too. Are checks worth a great deal of cash? Just because they can send money?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it needs to be kept in mind that a currency requires stability so that merchants and customers can determine 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 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 cost volatility develops a quandary. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, individuals are less likely to invest and flow them today, making them less feasible as a currency. Why invest a bitcoin when it could be worth three times the value next year?

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