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 secure online transactions. Much of the interest in these uncontrolled currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators at times driving costs skyward.
Here are 7 things to ask about cryptocurrency, and what to watch out for.
1. What is cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency is a form of payment that can be exchanged online for goods and services. Numerous companies have actually provided their own currencies, typically called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the excellent or service that the company supplies. Think about them as you would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll require to exchange real currency for the cryptocurrency to access the good or service.
Cryptocurrencies work utilizing an innovation called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized innovation spread across many computers that handles and records transactions. Part of the appeal of this technology 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 site. And cryptocurrencies continue to multiply, raising money through initial coin offerings, or ICOs. The overall value 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 check the existing cost to buy Bitcoin here
3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?
Cryptocurrencies attract their advocates for a variety 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, most likely prior to they end up being better Some fans like the truth that cryptocurrency eliminates reserve banks from managing the money supply, considering that gradually these banks tend to decrease the value of cash via inflation Other supporters like the innovation 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 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 an excellent investment?
Cryptocurrencies may increase in value, however many investors see them as simple speculations, not real investments. The reason? Much like genuine currencies, cryptocurrencies produce 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 in 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 noted that a currency requires stability.” As NerdWallet writers have actually noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some noteworthy voices in the financial investment community have actually advised would-be investors to steer clear of them. Of particular note, legendary investor Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s an extremely efficient method of sending cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of transmitting cash too. Are checks worth a whole lot of money? Just because they can send cash?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it should be noted that a currency needs stability so that merchants and customers can determine what a reasonable price is for products. 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 rate volatility develops a dilemma. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, people are less likely to spend and distribute them today, making them less viable as a currency. Why spend a bitcoin when it could be worth 3 times the worth next year?