Bitcoin Stock Plays

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 protect yourself.

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A cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) is a digital currency that can be utilized to buy goods 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 sometimes driving prices skyward.

Here are 7 things to inquire about cryptocurrency, and what to keep an eye out for.

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a type of payment that can be exchanged online for products and services. Many companies have provided their own currencies, typically called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the good or service that the business provides. Think about them as you would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll need to exchange genuine currency for the cryptocurrency to access the good or service.

Cryptocurrencies work using an innovation called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread throughout lots of computers that handles and tape-records 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 openly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a market research website. And cryptocurrencies continue to multiply, raising money through initial 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 inspect the present cost to buy Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies attract their advocates 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 purchase them now, probably before they end up being better Some supporters like the fact that cryptocurrency eliminates central banks from managing the cash supply, given that over time these banks tend to reduce the worth of money by means of 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 conventional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies due to the fact that they’re increasing in value and have no interest in the currencies’ long-term approval as a way to move money

4. Are cryptocurrencies a good investment?

Cryptocurrencies might go up in value, but lots of investors see them as mere speculations, not real financial investments. The factor? Similar to real currencies, cryptocurrencies create 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 value over time by growing the profitability and capital of the operation.

For those who see cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin as the currency of the future, it needs to be noted that a currency needs stability.” As NerdWallet authors have actually noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may not be that safe, and some notable voices in the investment community have encouraged would-be investors to stay away from them. Of specific note, famous financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a very efficient method of transmitting cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a method of sending money too. Are checks worth a great deal of money? Just because they can transmit money?” 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 reasonable cost 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 produces a problem. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, people are less likely to invest and flow them today, making them less practical as a currency. Why spend a bitcoin when it could be worth three times the value next year?

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