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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 protect yourself.

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A cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) is a digital currency that can be used to purchase products and services, but uses an online ledger with strong cryptography to protect online transactions. 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 keep an eye 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 provided their own currencies, often called tokens, and these can be traded particularly for the excellent or service that the company provides. Think about them as you would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll need to exchange real currency for the cryptocurrency to access the great or service.

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

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

More than 6,700 different cryptocurrencies are traded publicly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a market research site. 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 overall 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 a few of the most popular:

Advocates see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future and are racing to buy them now, presumably before they become better Some supporters like the reality that cryptocurrency gets rid of central banks from handling the money supply, given that in time these banks tend to reduce the value of cash through inflation Other fans like the innovation behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, due to the fact that it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more protected than conventional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies since they’re increasing in worth and have no interest in the currencies’ long-term approval as a method to move money

4. Are cryptocurrencies an excellent investment?

Cryptocurrencies might go up in worth, however many investors see them as mere speculations, not real investments. The reason? Much like real currencies, cryptocurrencies produce no cash flow, so for you to benefit, someone 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 service, which increases its value 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 kept in mind that a currency requires stability.” As NerdWallet authors have actually kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some notable voices in the investment community have recommended potential financiers to avoid them. Of specific note, legendary financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a really reliable method of sending money and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a method of sending cash 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 rate 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 once again.

This cost volatility develops a dilemma. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, individuals are less most likely to invest and flow them today, making them less viable as a currency. Why spend a bitcoin when it could be worth three times the worth next year?

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