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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 secure yourself.

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A cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) is a digital currency that can be used to purchase items and services, but 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 at times driving prices skyward.

Here are 7 things to inquire about cryptocurrency, and what to look out for.

1. What is cryptocurrency?

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

Cryptocurrencies work using a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread across lots of computer systems 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 various cryptocurrencies are traded publicly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a marketing research website. And cryptocurrencies continue to multiply, raising money through preliminary 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 worth 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 interest their supporters for a variety of factors. Here are a few of the most popular:

Fans see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future and are racing to purchase them now, probably prior to they become better Some supporters like the reality that cryptocurrency gets rid of central banks from handling the cash supply, because over time these banks tend to reduce the worth of cash by means of inflation Other supporters like the innovation behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, due to the fact that it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more safe and 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 method to move cash

4. Are cryptocurrencies a good financial investment?

Cryptocurrencies might go up in worth, but numerous financiers see them as mere speculations, not real financial investments. The factor? Just 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 financial investment. Contrast that to a well-managed company, which increases its value 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 needs to be kept in mind that a currency needs stability.” As NerdWallet authors have actually noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some noteworthy voices in the financial investment community have recommended would-be investors to steer clear of them. Of particular note, famous investor Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s an extremely reliable way of transferring cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a method of sending cash too. Are checks worth a whole lot of cash? Even if they can send cash?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it needs to be kept in mind that a currency needs stability so that merchants and consumers can determine what a reasonable price is for items. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been anything but stable through much of their history. For instance, 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 again.

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

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