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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Should Know
Cryptocurrencies let you purchase 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 buy items and services, however uses an online ledger with strong cryptography to protect online transactions. Much of the interest in these uncontrolled currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators sometimes driving costs skyward.

Here are seven things to inquire 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. Many business have issued their own currencies, frequently called tokens, and these can be traded particularly for the good or service that the company offers. Think about them as you would arcade tokens or gambling establishment chips. You’ll need to exchange genuine currency for the cryptocurrency to access the good or service.

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

2. How many cryptocurrencies exist? 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 preliminary 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 value of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $421.7 billion. (You can examine the current price to buy Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies interest their supporters for a variety of factors. Here are a few of the most popular:

Advocates see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future and are racing to purchase them now, most likely prior to they become better Some supporters like the truth that cryptocurrency gets rid of reserve banks from handling the money supply, since with time these banks tend to reduce the value of money via inflation Other fans like the technology behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, because it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more protected than traditional payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies since they’re going up in worth and have no interest in the currencies’ long-term acceptance as a way to move money

4. Are cryptocurrencies an excellent financial investment?

Cryptocurrencies may go up in value, but lots of investors see them as simple speculations, not real financial investments. The factor? Just like real currencies, cryptocurrencies generate no cash flow, so for you to profit, someone 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 over 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 needs stability.” As NerdWallet authors have actually kept in mind, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some significant voices in the investment community have advised potential investors to stay away from them. Of specific note, legendary investor Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a really reliable way of transmitting money and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of transmitting cash too. Are checks worth a whole 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 needs stability so that merchants and consumers can identify what a reasonable cost is for goods. 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 cost volatility develops a problem. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, people are less most likely to spend and flow them today, making them less practical as a currency. Why invest a bitcoin when it could be worth 3 times the value next year?

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