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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 safeguard yourself.

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A cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) is a digital currency that can be used to buy goods and services, but uses an online journal with strong cryptography to secure online transactions. Much of the interest in these uncontrolled currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators at times driving rates skyward.

Here are seven things to ask about cryptocurrency, and what to look out for.

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a type of payment that can be exchanged online for goods and services. Lots of companies have provided their own currencies, typically called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the good or service that the business supplies. Think about them as you would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll require to exchange genuine currency for the cryptocurrency to access the great or service.

Cryptocurrencies work using an innovation called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized innovation spread throughout many computers that handles and tapes 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 various cryptocurrencies are traded publicly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a market 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 worth of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can inspect the existing price to purchase Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies attract their fans for a range 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 buy them now, presumably before they become more valuable Some supporters like the fact that cryptocurrency removes reserve banks from handling the money supply, since with time these banks tend to reduce the worth of cash through inflation Other advocates like the technology behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, because it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more secure than standard payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies because they’re increasing in worth and have no interest in the currencies’ long-term approval as a way to move money

4. Are cryptocurrencies a great investment?

Cryptocurrencies may go up in worth, however numerous financiers see them as mere speculations, not real investments. The reason? Similar to 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 higher fool” theory of investment. Contrast that to a well-managed service, which increases its worth over time by growing the profitability and capital of the operation.

For those who see cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin as the currency of the future, it needs to be noted that a currency requires stability.” As NerdWallet authors have noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may not be that safe, and some notable voices in the investment neighborhood have actually recommended prospective financiers to stay away from them. Of specific note, famous financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s an extremely effective way of transferring cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a method of transferring cash too. Are checks worth a lot of cash? Even if they can transfer money?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it must be kept in mind that a currency requires stability so that merchants and customers can determine what a fair price is for goods. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been anything however 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 produces a dilemma. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, people are less likely to invest and flow 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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