What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Need to Know
Cryptocurrencies let you buy items 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 used to purchase goods and services, but utilizes an online journal with strong cryptography to secure online transactions. Much of the interest in these uncontrolled currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators sometimes driving costs skyward.
Here are 7 things to inquire about cryptocurrency, and what to keep an eye out for.
1. What is cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency is a kind of payment that can be exchanged online for items and services. Many companies have released their own currencies, typically called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the great or service that the company supplies. Think of them as you would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll require to exchange real currency for the cryptocurrency to access the great or service.
Cryptocurrencies work utilizing an innovation called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread throughout lots of computer systems that manages and tapes deals. Part of the appeal of this innovation is its security.
2. The number of cryptocurrencies exist? What are they worth?
More than 6,700 different cryptocurrencies are traded publicly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a marketing research website. 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 overall value of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can check the current price to buy Bitcoin here
3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?
Cryptocurrencies attract their advocates for a range of reasons. Here are some of the most popular:
Advocates see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future and are racing to purchase them now, probably before they become more valuable Some supporters like the truth that cryptocurrency eliminates central banks from handling the money supply, because over time these banks tend to lower the value of cash via inflation Other fans like the technology behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, because it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more secure than traditional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies since they’re increasing in value and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting acceptance as a method to move cash
4. Are cryptocurrencies a good investment?
Cryptocurrencies may go up in value, however many investors see them as simple speculations, not real investments. The factor? Much like genuine currencies, cryptocurrencies generate no capital, so for you to benefit, somebody 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 company, 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 requires stability.” As NerdWallet writers have kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may not be that safe, and some notable voices in the financial investment neighborhood have actually advised potential investors to steer clear of them. Of specific note, famous investor Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a very effective method of transferring money and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of transmitting money too. Are checks worth a great deal of cash? Even if they can transfer 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 requires stability so that merchants and consumers can identify 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. By December 2020, it was trading at record levels again.
This cost volatility creates a quandary. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, people are less most likely to spend and circulate them today, making them less feasible as a currency. Why invest a bitcoin when it could be worth three times the worth next year?