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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Should 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 goods and services, however uses an online journal with strong cryptography to secure online deals. Much of the interest in these unregulated currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators at times driving costs 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 items and services. Lots of companies have issued their own currencies, typically called tokens, and these can be traded particularly for the great or service that the business offers. Consider them as you would arcade tokens or gambling establishment chips. You’ll need to exchange genuine currency for the cryptocurrency to access the excellent or service.

Cryptocurrencies work using an innovation called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized innovation spread throughout lots of computer systems that manages and 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 different 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 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 examine the current cost to buy Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

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

Advocates 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 truth that cryptocurrency removes reserve banks from handling the money supply, given that in time these banks tend to lower the worth of cash via 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 safe than standard payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies due to the fact that they’re going up in worth and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting approval as a way to move cash

4. Are cryptocurrencies a good investment?

Cryptocurrencies might go up in value, but numerous investors see them as simple speculations, not real financial investments. The reason? Just like real currencies, cryptocurrencies create no cash flow, so for you to benefit, someone has 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 business, which increases its value with 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 noteworthy voices in the investment neighborhood have actually recommended would-be investors to stay away from them. Of specific note, legendary investor Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s an extremely efficient way of transmitting cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a method of transferring money too. Are checks worth a great deal of cash? Just because they can transfer cash?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it should be kept in mind that a currency requires stability so that merchants and customers can identify what a reasonable cost is for goods. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have actually been anything but stable through much of their history. For example, 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 once again.

This rate volatility creates a quandary. 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 spend a bitcoin when it could be worth 3 times the worth next year?

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