What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Must Know
Cryptocurrencies let you purchase 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 buy items and services, but uses an online journal with strong cryptography to secure online deals. Much of the interest in these uncontrolled currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators at times driving costs skyward.
Here are seven things to ask about cryptocurrency, and what to watch out for.
1. What is cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency is a type of payment that can be exchanged online for items and services. Many business have actually issued their own currencies, typically called tokens, and these can be traded particularly for the excellent or service that the business provides. Think about them as you would arcade tokens or gambling establishment chips. You’ll require to exchange genuine currency for the cryptocurrency to access the great or service.
Cryptocurrencies work using a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized innovation spread across numerous computers that manages and tapes deals. Part of the appeal of this innovation is its security.
2. The number of cryptocurrencies are there? What are they worth?
More than 6,700 different cryptocurrencies are traded publicly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a marketing research site. And cryptocurrencies continue to proliferate, raising money through preliminary 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 total value of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can examine the existing cost to buy Bitcoin here
3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?
Cryptocurrencies appeal to their fans for a range of factors. Here are a few of the most popular:
Supporters see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future and are racing to buy them now, probably before they end up being more valuable Some supporters like the fact that cryptocurrency eliminates central banks from handling the money supply, considering that in time these banks tend to reduce the worth of cash through inflation Other supporters like the innovation behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, because it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more safe and secure than conventional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies because they’re going up in value and have no interest in the currencies’ long-lasting acceptance as a way to move cash
4. Are cryptocurrencies a good financial investment?
Cryptocurrencies might increase in value, however numerous investors see them as simple speculations, not real financial investments. The reason? Just like real currencies, cryptocurrencies generate no capital, so for you to profit, someone has to pay more for the currency than you did.
That’s what’s called “the higher fool” theory of financial investment. Contrast that to a well-managed service, which increases its value over time by growing the success and cash flow of the operation.
For those who see cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin as the currency of the future, it should be noted that a currency needs stability.” As NerdWallet authors have noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may not be that safe, and some noteworthy voices in the investment community have actually encouraged prospective investors to stay away from them. Of specific note, famous investor Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s an extremely efficient method of transmitting cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of transferring cash too. Are checks worth a lot of money? Just because they can send money?” 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 so that merchants and customers can identify what a fair rate is for products. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have 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 once again.
This price volatility produces a quandary. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, people are less likely to invest and circulate them today, making them less practical as a currency. Why spend a bitcoin when it could be worth 3 times the worth next year?