What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Must Know
Cryptocurrencies let you buy products and services, or trade them for profit. Here’s more about what cryptocurrency is, how to buy it and how to secure yourself.
Numerous or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This might affect which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. This does not influence our examinations. Our viewpoints are our own.
A cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) is a digital currency that can be utilized to purchase goods and services, however uses an online journal 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 prices skyward.
Here are 7 things to ask about cryptocurrency, and what to keep an eye out for.
1. What is cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency is a form of payment that can be exchanged online for products and services. Lots of business have actually issued their own currencies, often called tokens, and these can be traded particularly for the great or service that the business supplies. Consider them as you would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll need to exchange real currency for the cryptocurrency to access the great or service.
Cryptocurrencies work using an innovation called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread across lots of computer systems 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 marketing research website. And cryptocurrencies continue to proliferate, 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 total value of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can check the existing price to purchase Bitcoin here
3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?
Cryptocurrencies interest their supporters for a variety of factors. Here are a few of the most popular:
Advocates see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future and are racing to buy them now, most likely before they become more valuable Some supporters like the truth that cryptocurrency eliminates central banks from handling the money supply, since gradually these banks tend to decrease the value of cash by means of 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 and secure than traditional 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 a great investment?
Cryptocurrencies might increase in value, but numerous investors see them as simple speculations, not real financial investments. The factor? Just like genuine currencies, cryptocurrencies generate no cash flow, so for you to profit, 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 service, which increases its worth over time by growing the success and cash flow 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 needs stability.” As NerdWallet writers have actually noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may not be that safe, and some significant voices in the investment neighborhood have recommended potential investors to avoid them. Of particular note, legendary investor Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a very efficient 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 lot of cash? 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 fair price 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. By December 2020, it was trading at record levels again.
This cost volatility creates a dilemma. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, individuals are less likely to invest and circulate them today, making them less feasible as a currency. Why spend a bitcoin when it could be worth three times the value next year?