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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Need to Know
Cryptocurrencies let you purchase goods 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 items and services, but uses an online ledger with strong cryptography to protect online deals. Much of the interest in these uncontrolled currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators sometimes driving prices skyward.

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

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a kind of payment that can be exchanged online for items and services. Numerous business have actually issued their own currencies, often called tokens, and these can be traded particularly for the great or service that the company provides. Consider 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 a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread throughout many computers that manages and tape-records transactions. Part of the appeal of this innovation is its security.

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

More than 6,700 different 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 overall worth of all cryptocurrencies on Dec. 18, 2020, was more than $645.7 billion, according to CoinMarketCap, and the total 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 fans for a range of reasons. Here are some of the most popular:

Fans 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 more valuable Some advocates like the fact that cryptocurrency removes reserve banks from managing the cash supply, since in time these banks tend to reduce the value of cash through inflation Other fans like the technology behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, since it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more protected than traditional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies because they’re going up in value and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting approval as a way to move cash

4. Are cryptocurrencies a great financial investment?

Cryptocurrencies may increase in worth, however lots of investors see them as simple speculations, not real investments. The reason? Similar to genuine currencies, cryptocurrencies create no cash flow, 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 investment. Contrast that to a well-managed company, which increases its value with 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 should be kept in mind that a currency requires stability.” As NerdWallet authors have noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may not be that safe, and some noteworthy voices in the financial investment neighborhood have encouraged prospective investors to avoid them. Of specific note, famous financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a very efficient method of transferring money and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a method of transmitting cash too. Are checks worth a lot of cash? Just because they can transmit cash?” 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 identify what a reasonable rate is for items. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been anything but stable through much of their history. For example, while Bitcoin traded at near $20,000 in December 2017, its worth 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 conundrum. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, people are less likely to invest and distribute them today, making them less practical as a currency. Why invest a bitcoin when it could be worth three times the value next year?

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