What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Should 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 safeguard yourself.
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A cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) is a digital currency that can be used to buy products and services, however uses an online journal with strong cryptography to secure online transactions. Much of the interest in these uncontrolled currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators sometimes driving prices skyward.
Here are 7 things to inquire about cryptocurrency, and what to look out for.
1. What is cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency is a type of payment that can be exchanged online for goods and services. Many companies have released their own currencies, typically called tokens, and these can be traded particularly for the good or service that the company provides. Think of them as you would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll need to exchange real currency for the cryptocurrency to access the good or service.
Cryptocurrencies work utilizing an innovation called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized innovation spread across numerous computer systems 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 different 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 value 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 examine the existing rate to buy Bitcoin here
3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?
Cryptocurrencies appeal to their fans for a range of reasons. 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, presumably before they become better Some advocates like the reality that cryptocurrency eliminates reserve banks from handling the money supply, since over time these banks tend to reduce the worth of money via inflation Other fans 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 going up in value and have no interest in the currencies’ long-term approval as a method to move cash
4. Are cryptocurrencies a good financial investment?
Cryptocurrencies might increase in value, but many financiers see them as mere speculations, not real investments. The factor? Just like real currencies, cryptocurrencies generate no capital, so for you to benefit, somebody 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 gradually by growing the profitability and capital 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 writers have actually noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may not be that safe, and some noteworthy voices in the investment community have actually encouraged would-be financiers to avoid them. Of particular note, famous investor Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s an extremely reliable way of transferring cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a method of transmitting cash too. Are checks worth a lot of cash? Just because they can send 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 customers can identify what a reasonable cost is for products. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have actually been anything but stable through much of their history. For instance, 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 on. By December 2020, it was trading at record levels once again.
This price volatility produces 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 feasible as a currency. Why spend a bitcoin when it could be worth three times the worth next year?