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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 purchase products 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 rates skyward.

Here are seven things to inquire about cryptocurrency, and what to watch out for.

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a type of payment that can be exchanged online for products and services. Numerous companies have released their own currencies, often 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 casino 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 throughout numerous computers that handles and tape-records deals. Part of the appeal of this technology 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 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 total worth of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can inspect the present cost to buy Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies interest their advocates for a range of factors. 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, probably before they become better Some advocates like the truth that cryptocurrency removes reserve banks from managing the cash supply, because in time these banks tend to lower the value of cash through inflation Other fans like the innovation behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, since it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more safe and secure than traditional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies due to the fact that they’re increasing in value and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting acceptance as a method to move money

4. Are cryptocurrencies an excellent financial investment?

Cryptocurrencies might go up in value, however numerous investors see them as simple speculations, not real investments. The reason? Just like genuine currencies, cryptocurrencies create no cash flow, 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 financial investment. Contrast that to a well-managed business, which increases its value in 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 must be kept in mind that a currency requires stability.” As NerdWallet writers have noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some significant voices in the investment community have recommended potential investors to steer clear of them. Of specific note, legendary investor Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s an extremely efficient way of sending cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a method of sending money too. Are checks worth a whole lot of cash? Just because they can transmit money?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it must be noted that a currency requires stability so that merchants and customers can identify what a reasonable cost is for products. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been anything but stable through much of their history. For example, while Bitcoin traded at close to $20,000 in December 2017, its worth then dropped to as low as about $3,200 a year later. By December 2020, it was trading at record levels once again.

This rate volatility develops a quandary. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, individuals are less likely to spend 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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