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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Should Know
Cryptocurrencies let you purchase goods 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 items and services, but uses an online ledger with strong cryptography to secure online deals. Much of the interest in these unregulated currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators at times driving prices skyward.

Here are seven things to ask about cryptocurrency, and what to keep an eye out for.

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a type of payment that can be exchanged online for items and services. Lots of companies have actually released their own currencies, frequently called tokens, and these can be traded particularly for the great or service that the company supplies. Think of them as you would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll require to exchange real currency for the cryptocurrency to access the excellent 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 technology 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 market research website. And cryptocurrencies continue to multiply, raising money through initial coin offerings, or ICOs. The total 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 existing rate to buy Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies attract their supporters 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 end up being better Some fans like the truth that cryptocurrency eliminates central banks from handling the cash supply, because with time these banks tend to decrease the worth of money via 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 conventional 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 method to move money

4. Are cryptocurrencies a good investment?

Cryptocurrencies may go up in value, but lots of financiers see them as simple speculations, not real financial investments. The factor? Just like genuine currencies, cryptocurrencies produce no cash flow, so for you to profit, someone needs 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 service, which increases its value with time by growing the success and capital of the operation.

For those who see cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin as the currency of the future, it ought to be kept in mind that a currency needs stability.” As NerdWallet writers have actually noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may not be that safe, and some significant voices in the financial investment community have advised would-be financiers to steer clear of them. Of particular note, legendary investor Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s an extremely efficient method of transferring money and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a method of transferring money 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 needs to be kept in mind that a currency needs stability so that merchants and consumers can determine what a reasonable cost is for goods. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have 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 creates a dilemma. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, people are less likely to invest and distribute 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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