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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Should 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 protect yourself.

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A cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) is a digital currency that can be used to buy products and services, but uses an online ledger with strong cryptography to protect online transactions. Much of the interest in these uncontrolled currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators at times driving rates skyward.

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

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a kind of payment that can be exchanged online for products and services. Many business have actually released their own currencies, typically called tokens, and these can be traded particularly for the excellent or service that the business offers. Think of them as you would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll need to exchange genuine currency for the cryptocurrency to access the excellent or service.

Cryptocurrencies work utilizing a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized innovation spread throughout 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 various cryptocurrencies are traded publicly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a marketing research site. And cryptocurrencies continue to proliferate, raising money through preliminary coin offerings, or ICOs. The overall worth of all cryptocurrencies on Dec. 18, 2020, was more than $645.7 billion, according to CoinMarketCap, and the overall worth 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 fans for a range 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 purchase them now, presumably before they become more valuable Some supporters like the fact that cryptocurrency gets rid of central banks from managing the cash supply, considering that with time these banks tend to minimize the value of cash through inflation Other fans like the technology behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, because it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more safe and secure than standard payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies since they’re increasing in worth and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting acceptance as a way to move money

4. Are cryptocurrencies a good financial investment?

Cryptocurrencies may go up in worth, however many financiers see them as simple speculations, not real investments. The reason? Much like genuine currencies, cryptocurrencies create no cash flow, so for you to benefit, 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 organization, which increases its worth 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 must be kept in mind that a currency requires stability.” As NerdWallet authors have noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some notable voices in the financial investment neighborhood have encouraged prospective investors to steer clear of them. Of specific note, famous financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a very efficient way of sending money and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a method of transferring money too. Are checks worth a whole lot of cash? 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 determine what a fair price is for products. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have actually been anything but stable through much of their history. For instance, while Bitcoin traded at near $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 once again.

This rate volatility creates 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 feasible as a currency. Why invest a bitcoin when it could be worth three times the value next year?

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