Dianne Feinstein Cryptocurrency Bill

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

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A cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) is a digital currency that can be used to purchase items 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 sometimes driving prices skyward.

Here are seven things to ask about cryptocurrency, and what to keep an eye out for.

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a form of payment that can be exchanged online for products and services. Numerous companies have released their own currencies, frequently called tokens, and these can be traded particularly for the great or service that the business supplies. Think about them as you would arcade tokens or gambling establishment chips. You’ll need to exchange real currency for the cryptocurrency to access the great or service.

Cryptocurrencies work using an innovation called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread throughout lots of computer systems that manages and tape-records transactions. Part of the appeal of this innovation is its security.

2. The number of cryptocurrencies are there? What are they worth?

More than 6,700 various cryptocurrencies are traded openly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a market research site. And cryptocurrencies continue to multiply, 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 total worth of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can examine the current cost to buy Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies attract their fans for a variety of reasons. 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 before they become more valuable Some supporters like the fact that cryptocurrency removes central banks from handling the cash supply, because over time these banks tend to decrease the worth of cash via inflation Other advocates like the technology behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, because it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more safe than standard payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies due to the fact that they’re increasing in worth and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting acceptance as a method to move cash

4. Are cryptocurrencies a good investment?

Cryptocurrencies might go up in value, but many financiers see them as simple speculations, not real financial investments. The reason? Much like real currencies, cryptocurrencies generate no capital, so for you to benefit, somebody has 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 business, which increases its value with 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 writers have kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some significant voices in the investment neighborhood have advised potential investors to avoid them. Of particular note, legendary investor Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a really efficient method of transmitting cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a method of transmitting money 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 noted that a currency requires stability so that merchants and customers can determine what a fair price is for goods. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been anything however stable through much of their history. For instance, while Bitcoin traded at near $20,000 in December 2017, its value then dropped to as low as about $3,200 a year later. By December 2020, it was trading at record levels once again.

This price volatility produces a conundrum. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, people are less likely to invest and flow 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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