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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Should Know
Cryptocurrencies let you buy goods 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 utilized to buy products and services, but utilizes an online ledger with strong cryptography to protect online deals. 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 inquire about cryptocurrency, and what to look out for.

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a type of payment that can be exchanged online for goods and services. Numerous business have provided their own currencies, often 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 gambling establishment chips. You’ll need to exchange real currency for the cryptocurrency to access the good or service.

Cryptocurrencies work utilizing 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 innovation is its security.

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

More than 6,700 different cryptocurrencies are traded openly, 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 check the current cost to purchase Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies attract their supporters for a range 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, presumably prior to they end up being better Some supporters like the truth that cryptocurrency eliminates central banks from handling the cash supply, given that with time these banks tend to reduce the worth of money through inflation Other advocates like the innovation behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, since it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more protected than traditional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies because they’re going up in value and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting approval as a method to move cash

4. Are cryptocurrencies a good financial investment?

Cryptocurrencies might go up in value, however many investors see them as mere speculations, not real financial investments. The factor? Just like genuine currencies, cryptocurrencies generate no capital, so for you to benefit, someone needs to pay more for the currency than you did.

That’s what’s called “the greater fool” theory of investment. Contrast that to a well-managed organization, 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 ought to be noted that a currency needs stability.” As NerdWallet writers have kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some notable voices in the financial investment neighborhood have advised would-be investors to steer clear of them. Of particular note, legendary financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a very reliable method of transferring cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a method of transmitting cash too. Are checks worth a great deal of cash? Just because they can transmit money?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it needs to be kept in mind that a currency requires stability so that merchants and consumers can determine what a fair price is for items. 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 once again.

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

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