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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Must 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 safeguard yourself.

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A cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) is a digital currency that can be used to buy products and services, but utilizes an online ledger with strong cryptography to secure online transactions. Much of the interest in these unregulated currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators sometimes driving prices skyward.

Here are seven things to inquire about cryptocurrency, and what to watch 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 released their own currencies, frequently called tokens, and these can be traded particularly for the good or service that the company offers. Think about them as you would arcade tokens or casino 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 throughout numerous computers that manages 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 different cryptocurrencies are traded openly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a market research website. And cryptocurrencies continue to multiply, raising money through preliminary 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 worth of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can inspect the existing cost to buy Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies appeal to their supporters for a variety 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 end up being better Some advocates like the reality that cryptocurrency removes reserve banks from managing the cash supply, given that over time these banks tend to decrease the value of money by means of inflation Other supporters like the innovation behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, due to the fact that it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more safe and secure than conventional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies since they’re going up in worth and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting acceptance as a way to move money

4. Are cryptocurrencies a great investment?

Cryptocurrencies might increase in value, but many investors see them as mere speculations, not real financial investments. The factor? Just like genuine currencies, cryptocurrencies produce no cash flow, so for you to benefit, somebody needs 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 organization, which increases its worth in time by growing the success and cash flow of the operation.

For those who see cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin as the currency of the future, it needs to be kept in mind that a currency requires stability.” As NerdWallet authors have kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some noteworthy voices in the financial investment neighborhood have advised would-be financiers to avoid them. Of particular note, famous investor Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a very efficient way of transmitting cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of transferring cash too. Are checks worth a great deal of money? Even if they can transmit money?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it ought to be noted that a currency needs stability so that merchants and consumers can determine what a reasonable price is for items. 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. By December 2020, it was trading at record levels again.

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

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