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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 used to buy products and services, however uses an online ledger with strong cryptography to protect online deals. Much of the interest in these unregulated currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators sometimes driving rates skyward.

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

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a kind of payment that can be exchanged online for items and services. Many companies have actually issued their own currencies, typically called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the great or service that the company offers. Think about them as you would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll need to exchange real currency for the cryptocurrency to access the good or service.

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

2. How many cryptocurrencies are there? 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 value of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can check the present rate to purchase Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies attract their fans for a range of factors. Here are some of the most popular:

Supporters 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 removes central banks from handling the money supply, because with time these banks tend to decrease the worth of cash by means of 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 conventional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies due to the fact that they’re going up in value and have no interest in the currencies’ long-term acceptance as a method to move cash

4. Are cryptocurrencies a great financial investment?

Cryptocurrencies may go up in worth, however many financiers see them as mere speculations, not real investments. The factor? Similar to real currencies, cryptocurrencies create no capital, 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 financial investment. Contrast that to a well-managed company, which increases its worth gradually by growing the profitability and capital of the operation.

For those who see cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin as the currency of the future, it should 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 significant voices in the financial investment neighborhood have actually advised would-be investors to stay away from them. Of particular note, famous financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a really effective way of sending money and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of transferring cash too. Are checks worth a whole lot of money? Just because they can send money?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it needs to be noted that a currency needs stability so that merchants and customers can determine what a reasonable price is for items. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have actually been anything but stable through much of their history. For example, while Bitcoin traded at near 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 rate volatility produces a quandary. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, individuals are less likely to spend and flow them today, making them less viable as a currency. Why spend a bitcoin when it could be worth three times the value next year?

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