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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Need to Know
Cryptocurrencies let you buy 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 goods and services, however utilizes an online ledger with strong cryptography to protect online deals. Much of the interest in these unregulated currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators at times driving prices skyward.

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

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a kind of payment that can be exchanged online for goods and services. Numerous companies have actually issued their own currencies, typically called tokens, and these can be traded particularly for the great or service that the company offers. Think of them as you would arcade tokens or gambling establishment chips. You’ll need to exchange genuine currency for the cryptocurrency to access the good or service.

Cryptocurrencies work using an innovation called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread throughout lots of computers that handles and tapes transactions. 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 openly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a marketing research website. And cryptocurrencies continue to multiply, raising money through initial 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 inspect the current rate to buy Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies appeal to their supporters for a range of factors. Here are some of the most popular:

Supporters see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future and are racing to purchase them now, most likely before they end up being more valuable Some supporters like the fact that cryptocurrency gets rid of reserve banks from managing the cash supply, considering that in time these banks tend to decrease the value of cash via inflation Other supporters like the innovation behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, since it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more safe and secure than standard payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies because they’re going up in value and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting acceptance as a way to move money

4. Are cryptocurrencies an excellent financial investment?

Cryptocurrencies might increase in worth, however many investors see them as mere speculations, not real financial investments. The reason? Just like real currencies, cryptocurrencies produce 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 financial investment. Contrast that to a well-managed business, which increases its value in time 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 needs stability.” As NerdWallet authors have kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some significant voices in the investment community have actually recommended potential financiers to stay away from them. Of particular note, legendary financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a very reliable method of transferring money and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of transferring cash too. Are checks worth a lot 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 needs stability so that merchants and consumers can identify 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 near to $20,000 in December 2017, its worth 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 produces a problem. 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 practical as a currency. Why invest a bitcoin when it could be worth three times the worth next year?

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