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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 protect yourself.

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A cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) is a digital currency that can be used to buy goods and services, but uses an online ledger with strong cryptography to protect 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 kind of payment that can be exchanged online for products and services. Lots of business have actually released their own currencies, frequently 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 require to exchange real currency for the cryptocurrency to access the great or service.

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

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

More than 6,700 various cryptocurrencies are traded publicly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a market research site. And cryptocurrencies continue to proliferate, 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 overall value of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can examine the existing cost to purchase Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

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

Advocates see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future and are racing to purchase them now, most likely before they become more valuable Some advocates like the fact that cryptocurrency eliminates central banks from handling the money supply, since gradually these banks tend to reduce the value of money by means of inflation Other advocates like the technology behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, since it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more safe and secure than standard 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 an excellent investment?

Cryptocurrencies may increase in value, however many investors see them as mere speculations, not real financial investments. The reason? Similar to real currencies, cryptocurrencies create no capital, so for you to profit, 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 organization, which increases its worth over time by growing the success and capital of the operation.

For those who see cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin as the currency of the future, it needs to be kept in mind that a currency needs stability.” As NerdWallet authors have actually noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may not be that safe, and some noteworthy voices in the investment community have encouraged prospective financiers to avoid them. Of specific note, famous financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s an extremely reliable way of transferring money and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a method of sending money too. Are checks worth a lot of cash? Even if they can transmit money?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it ought to be noted 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 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. By December 2020, it was trading at record levels once again.

This cost volatility produces a dilemma. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, people are less most likely to invest and circulate them today, making them less practical as a currency. Why spend a bitcoin when it could be worth three times the worth next year?

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