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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Need to Know
Cryptocurrencies let you buy items and services, or trade them for profit. Here’s more about what cryptocurrency is, how to buy it and how to protect yourself.

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A cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) is a digital currency that can be utilized to purchase products and services, but uses an online journal with strong cryptography to protect online transactions. Much of the interest in these uncontrolled currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators sometimes driving prices skyward.

Here are 7 things to inquire about cryptocurrency, and what to watch out for.

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a form of payment that can be exchanged online for products and services. Many business have actually provided their own currencies, typically called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the great or service that the business 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 good or service.

Cryptocurrencies work using an innovation called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread across numerous computers that handles and tape-records deals. Part of the appeal of this technology is its security.

2. The number of cryptocurrencies exist? What are they worth?

More than 6,700 various cryptocurrencies are traded openly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a marketing research site. And cryptocurrencies continue to proliferate, raising money through initial coin offerings, or ICOs. The overall worth 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 current rate to buy Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies appeal to their supporters for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the most popular:

Supporters see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future and are racing to purchase them now, most likely before they end up being better Some advocates like the truth that cryptocurrency gets rid of reserve banks from managing the money supply, because gradually these banks tend to reduce the worth of money by means of inflation Other advocates like the innovation behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, since it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more secure than traditional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies because they’re going up in value and have no interest in the currencies’ long-term approval as a method to move money

4. Are cryptocurrencies a good financial investment?

Cryptocurrencies might increase in value, but many investors see them as mere speculations, not real financial investments. The factor? Much like genuine currencies, cryptocurrencies generate no capital, so for you to benefit, someone 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 company, 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 ought to be kept in mind that a currency needs stability.” As NerdWallet authors have kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some notable voices in the financial investment community have actually encouraged would-be investors to stay away from them. Of particular note, legendary financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s an extremely efficient method of transferring cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a method of sending money too. Are checks worth a great deal 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 noted that a currency requires stability so that merchants and customers can determine what a fair price is for products. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have actually been anything however stable through much of their history. For example, 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 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 distribute them today, making them less practical as a currency. Why spend a bitcoin when it could be worth three times the value next year?

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