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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Need to Know
Cryptocurrencies let you buy goods 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 items 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 at times driving rates skyward.

Here are seven things to ask about cryptocurrency, and what to keep an eye out for.

1. What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a type of payment that can be exchanged online for items and services. Numerous companies have actually issued their own currencies, typically called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the excellent or service that the company provides. Think about them as you would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll need to exchange real currency for the cryptocurrency to access the excellent or service.

Cryptocurrencies work using an innovation called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized innovation spread throughout many computer systems that handles and records transactions. Part of the appeal of this technology is its security.

2. The number of cryptocurrencies exist? What are they worth?

More than 6,700 different cryptocurrencies are traded openly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a market research site. And cryptocurrencies continue to proliferate, raising money through preliminary coin offerings, or ICOs. The total value 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 inspect the current cost to purchase Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies attract their advocates for a range of reasons. Here are a few of the most popular:

Fans see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future and are racing to buy them now, presumably prior to they end up being better Some advocates like the truth that cryptocurrency removes central banks from handling the money supply, given that with time these banks tend to reduce the worth of cash by means of inflation Other fans like the technology behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, because it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more safe than traditional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies since they’re going up in value and have no interest in the currencies’ long-term approval as a method to move cash

4. Are cryptocurrencies a good financial investment?

Cryptocurrencies may go up in worth, but numerous financiers see them as simple speculations, not real investments. The reason? Similar to real currencies, cryptocurrencies produce no cash flow, so for you to profit, someone needs to pay more for the currency than you did.

That’s what’s called “the greater fool” theory of investment. Contrast that to a well-managed organization, which increases its value with time by growing the success and capital of the operation.

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.” As NerdWallet writers have noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may not be that safe, and some notable voices in the investment neighborhood have recommended would-be financiers to avoid them. Of specific note, legendary financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a very effective method of sending cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of transmitting money too. Are checks worth a whole lot of money? Even if they can transfer money?” 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 determine what a fair rate is for products. 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 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 price volatility develops a conundrum. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, people are less likely to spend and flow them today, making them less feasible as a currency. Why invest a bitcoin when it could be worth 3 times the value next year?

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