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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Need to Know
Cryptocurrencies let you purchase 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 utilized to buy products and services, but uses an online ledger with strong cryptography to protect online transactions. Much of the interest in these unregulated currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators sometimes driving rates skyward.

Here are 7 things to inquire 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 items and services. Lots of companies have actually 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 gambling establishment chips. You’ll need to exchange real currency for the cryptocurrency to access the great or service.

Cryptocurrencies work utilizing a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized innovation spread across many computers that handles 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 various cryptocurrencies are traded openly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a market research website. And cryptocurrencies continue to proliferate, raising money through initial 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 overall value of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can check the current cost to buy Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies interest their supporters for a variety of factors. 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, most likely prior to they become more valuable Some advocates like the reality that cryptocurrency eliminates central banks from handling the money supply, considering that in time these banks tend to decrease the worth of cash by means of inflation Other supporters like the innovation 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 acceptance as a way to move money

4. Are cryptocurrencies a great investment?

Cryptocurrencies might go up in value, however lots of investors see them as simple speculations, not real investments. The reason? Similar to genuine currencies, cryptocurrencies produce no capital, so for you to profit, someone needs 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 service, which increases its value over 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 requires stability.” As NerdWallet writers have kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some notable voices in the financial investment neighborhood have advised would-be financiers to avoid them. Of specific note, legendary financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a really efficient method of transmitting cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of sending cash 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 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. For example, 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. By December 2020, it was trading at record levels once again.

This rate volatility creates a dilemma. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, people are less likely to spend and flow them today, making them less viable as a currency. Why invest a bitcoin when it could be worth 3 times the value next year?

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