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

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A cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) is a digital currency that can be used to buy items 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 at times driving costs skyward.

Here are seven 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 items and services. Many business have actually provided their own currencies, frequently called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the excellent or service that the company 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 excellent or service.

Cryptocurrencies work using an innovation called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized innovation spread across lots of computers that manages and tape-records deals. 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 total worth 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 cost to buy Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies appeal to their fans for a variety of reasons. Here are a few of the most popular:

Fans see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future and are racing to buy them now, probably before they end up being better Some supporters like the truth that cryptocurrency gets rid of central banks from managing the money supply, since over time these banks tend to reduce the value of money by means of inflation Other supporters like the technology behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, due to the fact that it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more safe than traditional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies due to the fact that they’re increasing in worth and have no interest in the currencies’ long-term approval as a method to move cash

4. Are cryptocurrencies a great investment?

Cryptocurrencies might increase in worth, but lots of investors see them as mere speculations, not real financial investments. The reason? Similar to genuine currencies, cryptocurrencies create no capital, so for you to benefit, someone has 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 business, which increases its worth over 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 needs to be kept in mind that a currency needs stability.” As NerdWallet writers have actually kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may not be that safe, and some significant voices in the investment neighborhood have recommended prospective investors to avoid them. Of particular note, famous financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a really efficient way of transmitting cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a method of transferring money too. Are checks worth a whole lot of money? Just because they can transmit money?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it should be kept in mind that a currency needs stability so that merchants and consumers can determine what a fair cost is for products. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have 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 again.

This price volatility produces 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 viable as a currency. Why spend a bitcoin when it could be worth 3 times the worth next year?

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