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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 secure yourself.

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A cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) is a digital currency that can be used to purchase products and services, but uses an online ledger with strong cryptography to secure online transactions. Much of the interest in these uncontrolled currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators at times driving prices skyward.

Here are 7 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 items and services. Lots of business have released their own currencies, typically called tokens, and these can be traded particularly for the excellent or service that the company offers. Consider them as you would arcade tokens or gambling establishment chips. You’ll need to exchange real currency for the cryptocurrency to access the excellent or service.

Cryptocurrencies work utilizing a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized innovation spread across numerous computers that manages and tape-records transactions. Part of the appeal of this technology 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 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 worth of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can examine the present rate to buy Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies interest 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 purchase them now, presumably before they end up being better Some fans like the fact that cryptocurrency eliminates central banks from handling the money supply, considering that with time these banks tend to minimize the worth of cash by means of inflation Other fans like the technology behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, due to the fact that 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-term acceptance as a way to move money

4. Are cryptocurrencies a great investment?

Cryptocurrencies might go up in value, but numerous financiers see them as mere speculations, not real financial investments. The reason? Similar to real currencies, cryptocurrencies generate no cash flow, so for you to benefit, somebody needs to pay more for the currency than you did.

That’s what’s called “the higher fool” theory of investment. Contrast that to a well-managed service, 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 noted that a currency needs stability.” As NerdWallet authors have kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some noteworthy voices in the investment community have actually advised would-be investors to avoid them. Of particular note, legendary financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s an extremely efficient method of transferring cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a method of transferring money too. Are checks worth a lot of cash? Just because 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 reasonable cost is for goods. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have actually been anything however 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 cost volatility creates a quandary. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, individuals are less likely to spend and circulate 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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