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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Need to Know
Cryptocurrencies let you purchase 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 utilized to buy products and services, however uses an online ledger with strong cryptography to protect online transactions. Much of the interest in these uncontrolled currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators sometimes driving costs skyward.

Here are seven 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 products and services. Numerous companies have provided their own currencies, frequently called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the good or service that the company provides. Think of them as you would arcade tokens or gambling establishment chips. You’ll need to exchange real currency for the cryptocurrency to access the good or service.

Cryptocurrencies work using a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread throughout numerous computers that manages and tape-records deals. Part of the appeal of this innovation is its security.

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

More than 6,700 various cryptocurrencies are traded publicly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a marketing research site. And cryptocurrencies continue to proliferate, 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 overall value of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can examine the existing price to purchase Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies attract their advocates for a variety 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, most likely prior to they end up being better Some supporters like the reality that cryptocurrency eliminates central banks from handling the cash supply, since gradually these banks tend to minimize the worth of money through inflation Other supporters like the technology behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, since it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more safe and secure than traditional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies since they’re going up in value and have no interest in the currencies’ long-term approval as a method to move money

4. Are cryptocurrencies a good investment?

Cryptocurrencies may increase in value, but lots of investors see them as simple speculations, not real investments. The reason? Just like genuine currencies, cryptocurrencies produce no capital, so for you to benefit, someone has 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 company, which increases its value gradually by growing the success and cash flow 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 authors have kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may 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 financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s an extremely effective way of transmitting 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? Even if they can transfer money?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it ought to be kept in mind that a currency needs stability so that merchants and customers can determine what a fair cost is for products. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have actually 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 on. By December 2020, it was trading at record levels once again.

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

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