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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Need to Know
Cryptocurrencies let you buy 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 utilized to buy products and services, but utilizes an online ledger with strong cryptography to secure 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 ask about cryptocurrency, and what to look out for.

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a type of payment that can be exchanged online for products and services. Lots of companies have released their own currencies, frequently called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the excellent or service that the company provides. 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 an innovation called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized innovation spread across lots of computer systems that handles and 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 openly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a marketing research website. 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 total value of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can check the existing cost to purchase Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies interest their fans for a variety of factors. Here are a few 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 supporters like the truth that cryptocurrency eliminates reserve banks from handling the money supply, given that over time these banks tend to lower the worth of money via inflation Other supporters like the technology behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, since it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more safe than traditional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies since they’re increasing in worth and have no interest in the currencies’ long-term approval as a method to move money

4. Are cryptocurrencies a great financial investment?

Cryptocurrencies may go up in value, however lots of investors see them as mere speculations, not real financial investments. The reason? Similar to real currencies, cryptocurrencies produce no cash flow, 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 financial investment. Contrast that to a well-managed service, which increases its worth with 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 writers have actually kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may not be that safe, and some noteworthy voices in the investment community have recommended would-be investors to stay away from them. Of specific note, legendary financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a really reliable method of transferring cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of transferring money too. Are checks worth a lot of money? Just because they can transfer cash?” 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 identify what a fair price is for items. 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 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 problem. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, people are less most likely to spend 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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