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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 utilized to purchase goods and services, but utilizes 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 at times driving costs skyward.

Here are 7 things to inquire about cryptocurrency, and what to keep an eye out for.

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a form of payment that can be exchanged online for items and services. Lots of companies have released their own currencies, often called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the excellent or service that the business 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 using a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread throughout many computer systems that handles and tape-records 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 publicly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a marketing research website. And cryptocurrencies continue to multiply, 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 value of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can check the current rate to purchase Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies interest their fans for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the most popular:

Advocates see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future and are racing to buy them now, most likely before they become more valuable Some advocates like the truth that cryptocurrency gets rid of reserve banks from handling the cash supply, since gradually these banks tend to minimize the value of cash through inflation Other fans like the innovation behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, since it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more protected than traditional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies due to the fact that they’re increasing 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 might go up in worth, however many financiers see them as simple speculations, not real financial investments. The reason? Just like real currencies, cryptocurrencies create no cash flow, so for you to benefit, somebody 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 profitability and capital of the operation.

For those who see cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin as the currency of the future, it must be noted that a currency requires stability.” As NerdWallet writers have noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some notable voices in the investment community have actually encouraged potential investors to steer clear of them. Of specific note, famous financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a really efficient way of sending cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a method of sending money too. Are checks worth a whole lot of money? Just because they can transfer cash?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it must be noted that a currency requires stability so that merchants and consumers can identify what a reasonable rate is for goods. 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. By December 2020, it was trading at record levels once again.

This price volatility develops a problem. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, individuals are less most likely to spend and flow them today, making them less feasible as a currency. Why invest a bitcoin when it could be worth 3 times the worth next year?

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