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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Must 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 purchase items and services, but utilizes an online ledger with strong cryptography to protect online deals. Much of the interest in these unregulated currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators at times driving costs skyward.

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

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a kind of payment that can be exchanged online for products and services. Lots of companies have issued their own currencies, frequently called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the good or service that the company supplies. Think about them as you would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll require to exchange genuine currency for the cryptocurrency to access the good or service.

Cryptocurrencies work using an innovation called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized innovation spread throughout many computers that handles and tapes transactions. Part of the appeal of this technology is its security.

2. How many cryptocurrencies are there? 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 multiply, raising money through preliminary 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 total worth 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 appeal to their advocates 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, probably prior to they end up being more valuable Some advocates like the reality that cryptocurrency removes reserve banks from handling the money supply, since in time these banks tend to lower the worth of money through inflation Other advocates like the innovation behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, because it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more safe and secure than conventional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies because they’re increasing in value and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting acceptance as a method to move cash

4. Are cryptocurrencies a good investment?

Cryptocurrencies might increase in value, but lots of financiers see them as mere speculations, not real financial investments. The reason? Much like real currencies, cryptocurrencies produce no capital, so for you to profit, someone 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 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 kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some notable voices in the financial investment community have advised potential investors to avoid them. Of specific note, famous investor Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a very effective method of transmitting money and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of transferring money too. Are checks worth a whole lot of cash? Just because they can send money?” 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 consumers can identify what a reasonable cost is for items. 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 on. By December 2020, it was trading at record levels again.

This cost volatility develops a conundrum. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, people are less most likely to invest and distribute them today, making them less feasible as a currency. Why spend a bitcoin when it could be worth 3 times the value next year?

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