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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Should 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 secure yourself.

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

Here are 7 things to ask 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 goods and services. Lots of companies have actually provided their own currencies, typically called tokens, and these can be traded particularly for the good or service that the business offers. Consider them as you would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll need to exchange genuine currency for the cryptocurrency to access the excellent or service.

Cryptocurrencies work utilizing a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread throughout numerous computer systems that handles and tape-records transactions. Part of the appeal of this technology is its security.

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

More than 6,700 different cryptocurrencies are traded publicly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a marketing 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 examine the existing cost to buy Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies interest their supporters for a range of factors. Here are some of the most popular:

Fans see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future and are racing to buy them now, presumably prior to they become better Some fans like the truth that cryptocurrency gets rid of central banks from handling the money supply, given that over time these banks tend to lower the worth of cash by means of inflation Other fans like the innovation behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, because it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more secure than conventional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies because 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 a great financial investment?

Cryptocurrencies may go up in value, but lots of financiers see them as mere speculations, not real financial investments. The reason? Just like real currencies, cryptocurrencies produce no capital, so for you to profit, someone 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 worth over 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 must 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 notable voices in the financial investment community have actually encouraged prospective financiers to stay away from them. Of specific note, famous financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a really effective way of transferring cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a method of transmitting money too. Are checks worth a lot of money? Even if they can transmit money?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it ought to be noted that a currency needs stability so that merchants and consumers can determine what a reasonable rate 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 worth then dropped to as low as about $3,200 a year later on. By December 2020, it was trading at record levels once again.

This cost volatility creates a conundrum. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, people are less most likely to spend and distribute them today, making them less feasible as a currency. Why invest a bitcoin when it could be worth 3 times the value next year?

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