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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Need to 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 safeguard yourself.

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A cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) is a digital currency that can be used to purchase products 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 at times driving rates skyward.

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

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a type of payment that can be exchanged online for goods and services. Numerous business have released their own currencies, often called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the excellent or service that the business supplies. Think about them as you would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll need to exchange genuine currency for the cryptocurrency to access the excellent or service.

Cryptocurrencies work utilizing a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized innovation spread throughout many computers that manages and records deals. Part of the appeal of this innovation is its security.

2. The number of cryptocurrencies exist? What are they worth?

More than 6,700 various cryptocurrencies are traded openly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a market research site. And cryptocurrencies continue to proliferate, raising money through initial 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 value of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can examine the current price to purchase Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies appeal to their advocates for a range of reasons. Here are a few of the most popular:

Supporters 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 fans like the fact that cryptocurrency removes central banks from handling the money supply, because gradually these banks tend to minimize the worth of cash through inflation Other supporters like the innovation behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, since it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more safe and 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 acceptance as a way to move cash

4. Are cryptocurrencies a great investment?

Cryptocurrencies may go up in value, but lots of financiers see them as simple speculations, not real financial investments. The factor? Similar to genuine currencies, cryptocurrencies generate no cash flow, so for you to profit, 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 organization, 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 needs to be noted that a currency requires stability.” As NerdWallet authors have noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some significant voices in the investment neighborhood have encouraged prospective financiers to avoid them. Of particular note, legendary investor Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a very efficient way of sending cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of transmitting cash too. Are checks worth a great deal of money? Even if they can transfer cash?” 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 consumers can identify what a fair price is for products. 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 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 price volatility produces a conundrum. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, people are less likely to invest and flow 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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