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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Need to Know
Cryptocurrencies let you purchase items and services, or trade them for profit. Here’s more about what cryptocurrency is, how to buy it and how to secure 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 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 rates skyward.

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

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a form of payment that can be exchanged online for goods and services. Many companies have actually provided their own currencies, frequently called tokens, and these can be traded particularly for the good or service that the company supplies. Consider 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 using a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread across many computers that manages and tape-records deals. Part of the appeal of this technology is its security.

2. How many cryptocurrencies exist? What are they worth?

More than 6,700 different cryptocurrencies are traded publicly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a market research website. And cryptocurrencies continue to multiply, raising money through preliminary coin offerings, or ICOs. The overall 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 inspect the current rate 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:

Fans see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future and are racing to buy them now, probably prior to they end up being more valuable Some fans like the truth that cryptocurrency removes central banks from handling the cash supply, since with time these banks tend to minimize the value of money via inflation Other supporters like the technology behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, due to the fact that it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more safe than standard payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies because they’re increasing in worth and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting acceptance as a way to move money

4. Are cryptocurrencies an excellent investment?

Cryptocurrencies might go up in worth, but many investors see them as mere speculations, not real financial investments. The reason? Much 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 greater fool” theory of financial investment. Contrast that to a well-managed organization, which increases its value over time 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 kept in mind that a currency needs stability.” As NerdWallet authors have kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may not be that safe, and some notable voices in the investment community have recommended would-be investors to steer clear of them. Of specific note, legendary financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s an extremely reliable method of transmitting 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 money? Just because they can transfer money?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it should be noted that a currency requires stability so that merchants and consumers can determine what a reasonable cost is for products. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been anything however stable through much of their history. For instance, while Bitcoin traded at near $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 price volatility creates a conundrum. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, individuals are less likely to spend and distribute them today, making them less practical as a currency. Why invest a bitcoin when it could be worth three times the worth next year?

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