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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Should Know
Cryptocurrencies let you purchase products 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 utilized to purchase products 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 at times 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 goods and services. Lots of companies have issued their own currencies, typically called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the great or service that the company 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 excellent or service.

Cryptocurrencies work using an innovation called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized innovation spread throughout many computer systems that manages and records transactions. 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 publicly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a marketing research site. And cryptocurrencies continue to proliferate, raising money through initial 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 total worth of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can examine the existing price to purchase Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies interest their fans 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 end up being more valuable Some supporters like the reality that cryptocurrency eliminates reserve banks from managing the money supply, because in time these banks tend to minimize the worth of cash via inflation Other fans like the innovation behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, since it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more safe than standard payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies since they’re increasing in worth and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting approval as a way to move cash

4. Are cryptocurrencies a good investment?

Cryptocurrencies might go up in worth, however many investors see them as simple speculations, not real financial investments. The factor? Just like real currencies, cryptocurrencies produce 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 higher fool” theory of investment. Contrast that to a well-managed service, 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 needs to 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 recommended prospective investors to avoid 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 method of transmitting cash too. Are checks worth a whole lot of money? Even if they can send money?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it must be noted that a currency needs stability so that merchants and customers can identify what a reasonable price 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 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 price volatility creates a quandary. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, people 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 value next year?

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