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 utilized to purchase products and services, however uses an online ledger with strong cryptography to protect online deals. Much of the interest in these uncontrolled currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators sometimes driving costs skyward.
Here are 7 things to ask about cryptocurrency, and what to keep an eye out for.
1. What is cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency is a kind of payment that can be exchanged online for items and services. Lots of companies have released their own currencies, frequently called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the great or service that the company provides. 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 utilizing a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread throughout lots of computers that handles and tape-records deals. Part of the appeal of this innovation is its security.
2. The number of cryptocurrencies are there? What are they worth?
More than 6,700 various 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 examine the current cost to buy Bitcoin here
3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?
Cryptocurrencies appeal to their fans for a range of factors. 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, most likely before they become better Some advocates like the fact that cryptocurrency removes reserve banks from handling the money supply, given that with time these banks tend to decrease the value of cash via inflation Other advocates like the innovation behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, because it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more safe than standard payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies since 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 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 genuine currencies, cryptocurrencies create no capital, so for you to benefit, someone has 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 company, which increases its value over 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 ought to be noted that a currency needs stability.” As NerdWallet writers have noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may not be that safe, and some significant voices in the financial investment community have actually advised potential investors to stay away from them. Of particular note, famous financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s an extremely effective method of transferring money and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a method of sending cash too. Are checks worth a lot of cash? Just because they can transmit 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 customers can determine what a reasonable cost is for items. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have 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. By December 2020, it was trading at record levels again.
This rate volatility produces a quandary. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, people are less likely to invest and circulate them today, making them less practical as a currency. Why invest a bitcoin when it could be worth three times the value next year?