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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Need to 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 utilizes 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 7 things to inquire about cryptocurrency, and what to look out for.

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a type of payment that can be exchanged online for products and services. Lots of business have actually released their own currencies, often called tokens, and these can be traded particularly for the good or service that the company provides. Think of them as you would arcade tokens or gambling establishment 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 technology spread across many computer systems that handles and tape-records transactions. Part of the appeal of this technology is its security.

2. How many cryptocurrencies are there? What are they worth?

More than 6,700 different cryptocurrencies are traded openly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a marketing research website. And cryptocurrencies continue to proliferate, 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 overall value of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can inspect the current cost to buy Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies attract their supporters for a variety of factors. Here are a few of the most popular:

Advocates see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future and are racing to purchase them now, presumably prior to they become more valuable Some fans like the reality that cryptocurrency eliminates central banks from managing the money supply, given that in time these banks tend to reduce the value of cash by means of inflation Other fans like the technology behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, because 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-lasting acceptance as a way to move money

4. Are cryptocurrencies a good financial investment?

Cryptocurrencies might increase in value, but numerous financiers see them as simple speculations, not real investments. The factor? Just like real currencies, cryptocurrencies generate no capital, so for you to profit, somebody needs to pay more for the currency than you did.

That’s what’s called “the higher fool” theory of financial investment. Contrast that to a well-managed organization, which increases its value gradually 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 kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may not be that safe, and some significant voices in the investment community have advised potential financiers to stay away from them. Of specific note, famous investor Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s an extremely effective method of transferring cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of transferring money too. Are checks worth a lot of cash? Even if they can transmit cash?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it must be kept in mind that a currency needs stability so that merchants and customers can identify what a reasonable price is for products. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have actually been anything but stable through much of their history. For instance, while Bitcoin traded at near $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 produces a problem. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, individuals are less most likely to invest and distribute them today, making them less viable as a currency. Why spend a bitcoin when it could be worth 3 times the value next year?

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