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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 protect yourself.

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

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

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a form of payment that can be exchanged online for products and services. Many business have issued their own currencies, often called tokens, and these can be traded particularly for the excellent or service that the business supplies. Consider them as you would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll need to exchange genuine currency for the cryptocurrency to access the great or service.

Cryptocurrencies work using a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized innovation spread across lots of computer systems that manages and tapes deals. Part of the appeal of this technology is its security.

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

More than 6,700 different cryptocurrencies are traded publicly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a market research site. And cryptocurrencies continue to multiply, 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 worth of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can inspect the existing cost to purchase Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

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

Fans see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future and are racing to buy them now, probably prior to they become more valuable Some fans like the fact that cryptocurrency eliminates central banks from handling the money supply, given that with time these banks tend to reduce the value of money by means of inflation Other advocates like the innovation 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 because they’re going up in value and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting approval as a method to move money

4. Are cryptocurrencies an excellent financial investment?

Cryptocurrencies may increase in worth, but lots of investors see them as simple speculations, not real investments. The reason? Just like genuine currencies, cryptocurrencies produce no capital, so for you to benefit, somebody needs to pay more for the currency than you did.

That’s what’s called “the higher fool” theory of investment. Contrast that to a well-managed business, which increases its value with time by growing the profitability and cash flow of the operation.

For those who see cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin as the currency of the future, it should be kept in mind that a currency requires stability.” As NerdWallet writers have actually kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may not be that safe, and some noteworthy voices in the investment neighborhood have advised would-be financiers to stay away from them. Of particular note, famous financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a very reliable way of transmitting 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 transfer 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 identify what a reasonable price is for goods. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been anything but 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. By December 2020, it was trading at record levels again.

This cost volatility creates a problem. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, people are less likely to spend and flow them today, making them less viable as a currency. Why invest a bitcoin when it could be worth three times the value next year?

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