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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Need to Know
Cryptocurrencies let you buy items and services, or trade them for profit. Here’s more about what cryptocurrency is, how to buy it and how to secure yourself.

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A cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) is a digital currency that can be used to buy goods and services, but uses an online ledger with strong cryptography to secure online deals. Much of the interest in these unregulated currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators sometimes driving costs skyward.

Here are seven things to inquire about cryptocurrency, and what to look out for.

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a form of payment that can be exchanged online for goods and services. Lots of companies have provided their own currencies, frequently called tokens, and these can be traded particularly for the good or service that the company supplies. Think of them as you would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll require to exchange genuine currency for the cryptocurrency to access the good or service.

Cryptocurrencies work using a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized innovation spread across numerous computers that manages and tapes transactions. 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 proliferate, raising money through preliminary coin offerings, or ICOs. The overall worth of all cryptocurrencies on Dec. 18, 2020, was more than $645.7 billion, according to CoinMarketCap, and the total worth of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can examine the current rate to buy Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies interest their supporters for a range of factors. Here are a few of the most popular:

Fans see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future and are racing to purchase them now, probably prior to they become more valuable Some supporters like the fact that cryptocurrency eliminates reserve banks from handling the cash supply, given that gradually these banks tend to decrease the worth of money through inflation Other fans 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-term approval as a method to move cash

4. Are cryptocurrencies a good financial investment?

Cryptocurrencies might increase in value, but lots of financiers see them as mere speculations, not real investments. The factor? Similar to real currencies, cryptocurrencies produce no cash flow, so for you to benefit, 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 company, which increases its value gradually by growing the success 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 writers have kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may not be that safe, and some notable voices in the investment community have actually recommended would-be investors to steer clear of them. Of specific note, famous financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a really reliable way of sending money and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of transmitting money too. Are checks worth a lot of money? Just because they can transmit cash?” 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 so that merchants and customers can determine what a fair price is for products. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been anything however stable through much of their history. For instance, while Bitcoin traded at near to $20,000 in December 2017, its worth then dropped to as low as about $3,200 a year later on. By December 2020, it was trading at record levels again.

This cost volatility develops a quandary. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, people are less most likely to invest and distribute 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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