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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Should Know
Cryptocurrencies let you purchase 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 used to purchase items and services, however uses an online journal 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 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 products and services. Lots of companies have issued their own currencies, frequently called tokens, and these can be traded particularly for the excellent or service that the business supplies. 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 using a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized innovation spread across lots of computers that manages and tape-records deals. Part of the appeal of this technology is its security.

2. How many cryptocurrencies exist? 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 overall 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 price to purchase Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies interest 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 before they become more valuable Some supporters like the fact that cryptocurrency eliminates reserve banks from managing the money supply, since over time these banks tend to reduce the worth of cash through inflation Other advocates like the technology behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, since it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more secure than standard payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies since they’re going up in value and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting acceptance as a way to move money

4. Are cryptocurrencies an excellent financial investment?

Cryptocurrencies might go up in value, however lots of financiers see them as simple speculations, not real investments. The factor? Just like 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 higher fool” theory of financial investment. Contrast that to a well-managed service, which increases its worth in 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 should be noted that a currency needs stability.” As NerdWallet writers have actually noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may not be that safe, and some notable voices in the investment community have actually advised prospective financiers to stay away from them. Of particular note, legendary investor Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a really reliable method of sending 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? Even if they can send cash?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it should be noted that a currency needs stability so that merchants and customers can identify what a fair rate is for products. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have actually been anything but stable through much of their history. For instance, while Bitcoin traded at near $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 rate volatility produces a quandary. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, people are less most likely to spend and distribute them today, making them less viable as a currency. Why invest a bitcoin when it could be worth 3 times the value next year?

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