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What Is Cryptocurrency? Here’s What You Should 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 buy goods and services, however uses an online ledger with strong cryptography to secure online deals. Much of the interest in these uncontrolled currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators sometimes 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 products and services. Numerous companies have provided their own currencies, typically called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the excellent or service that the company provides. Think of them as you would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll need to exchange genuine currency for the cryptocurrency to access the great or service.

Cryptocurrencies work utilizing a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread throughout numerous computer systems that manages and tape-records transactions. Part of the appeal of this technology is its security.

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

More than 6,700 different cryptocurrencies are traded openly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a marketing research website. And cryptocurrencies continue to multiply, raising money through preliminary coin offerings, or ICOs. The total 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 price to buy Bitcoin here

3. Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies appeal to their fans for a range of reasons. 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 become more valuable Some fans like the truth that cryptocurrency removes central banks from handling the cash supply, given that over time these banks tend to minimize the value of cash via inflation Other fans like the innovation behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, due to the fact that it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more protected than standard payment systems Some speculators like cryptocurrencies since they’re going up in worth and have no interest in the currencies’ long-term approval as a method to move cash

4. Are cryptocurrencies an excellent investment?

Cryptocurrencies may increase in value, however numerous investors see them as simple speculations, not real financial investments. The reason? Much like real currencies, cryptocurrencies create no capital, so for you to benefit, somebody 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 service, which increases its worth gradually 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 must 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 financial investment neighborhood have encouraged potential investors to stay away from them. Of particular note, famous financier Warren Buffett compared Bitcoin to paper checks: “It’s a really reliable way of transferring cash and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of sending money too. Are checks worth a whole lot of cash? Even if they can transmit money?” For those who see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future, it must be noted that a currency needs stability so that merchants and consumers can identify what a reasonable cost is for products. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been anything however stable through much of their history. For instance, while Bitcoin traded at near 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 cost volatility creates a quandary. If bitcoins might be worth a lot more in the future, individuals are less likely to invest and distribute them today, making them less practical as a currency. Why invest a bitcoin when it could be worth three times the worth next year?

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