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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 protect yourself.

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A cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) is a digital currency that can be used to purchase products and services, but uses an online journal with strong cryptography to protect online transactions. Much of the interest in these unregulated currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators sometimes driving prices skyward.

Here are 7 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 items and services. Many companies have provided their own currencies, typically called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the great or service that the company offers. Think about them as you would arcade tokens or gambling establishment chips. You’ll need to exchange real currency for the cryptocurrency to access the great or service.

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

2. How many cryptocurrencies are there? What are they worth?

More than 6,700 various cryptocurrencies are traded publicly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a market research website. And cryptocurrencies continue to multiply, 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 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 variety 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 purchase them now, most likely prior to they end up being better Some fans like the reality that cryptocurrency removes central banks from handling the cash supply, considering that gradually these banks tend to reduce the worth of cash through inflation Other supporters like the innovation behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, since it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more protected 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 money

4. Are cryptocurrencies a good investment?

Cryptocurrencies might increase in value, however many financiers see them as simple speculations, not real financial investments. The factor? Much like genuine currencies, cryptocurrencies create no capital, so for you to profit, somebody needs 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 company, which increases its value gradually 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 should be kept in mind that a currency needs stability.” As NerdWallet authors have noted, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might not be that safe, and some noteworthy voices in the investment neighborhood have advised would-be investors to stay away from them. Of specific note, famous investor Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s an extremely effective way of transmitting cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of transferring 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 must be kept in mind that a currency requires stability so that merchants and consumers can determine what a reasonable cost is for goods. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have actually 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 dilemma. 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 viable as a currency. Why spend a bitcoin when it could be worth three times the worth next year?

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