While public interest in cryptocurrency has never been higher, many people may find themselves wondering what exactly it is or how they can invest in crypto’s future. Digital currencies have been around for a while but have never fully broken through to the mainstream market yet.

However, the movement to democratize finance and investment opportunities in the tech world combined with the rapid growth of crypto as a speculative asset has led to unprecedented popularity and interest in popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and others like them. If you’re considering investing in cryptocurrency, read on to learn what exactly crypto is and how digital assets can fit into your portfolio.

What is a cryptocurrency, and how does it work?

Before making any investment decisions, you must understand what cryptocurrency actually is. Crypto is an anonymized, decentralized digital currency that operates on blockchain technology and can buy goods and services. A blockchain is an open ledger of all transactions worldwide, sort of like a public checkbook. For people seeking privacy-oriented financial solutions or looking for interesting investment opportunities, crypto can be intriguing.

You might be wondering how currencies like BTC or Ethereum are created, and the answer is that, essentially, they are digitally mined. Mining is, in essence, helping the system do the math to validate transactions on the blockchain. When your computer validates a transaction, it is paid for the service with a small amount of crypto. While it used to be more profitable, Bitcoin mining has become so expensive that miners end up spending up to 80% of the money they earn paying for their electricity bills.

Though it isn’t there yet, crypto is starting to function more and more like a traditional currency as time goes on. More retailers are starting to accept BTC, and PayPal indicated recently that they would add functionality to their platform for users to purchase and send cryptocurrency. People have even started lending and borrowing crypto and offering interest rates on transactions. If you decide to look into borrowing or lending crypto, take some time to find the best Bitcoin lending sites and, as you would with any loan, compare interest rates before making a decision about whether or not you want to proceed with a crypto loan. While they’re new, crypto lending platforms may end up becoming a real niche market in the future.

Is it worth it to invest in crypto?

Is it worth it to invest in crypto

Ultimately, whether or not an investment in cryptocurrency is right for you depends a lot on your financial situation and your appetite for risk. While the value of currencies like BTC or ETH can fluctuate, they don’t generate any real cash flow. With this type of investment, profit is generated by someone else paying more for the currency. Many believe cryptocurrency is the way of the future, and see a lot of potential for investors who want to get involved early. If you are comfortable with volatility in your portfolio, you should consider giving crypto a shot.

Cryptocurrency is just one part of a wider movement within the finance world to democratize investment opportunities. Yieldstreet is another platform trying to do this, by offering a wide range of accredited investors access to alternative investments, rather than restricting their purchase to just the uber-wealthy and those with massive net worth. While some Yieldstreet complaints exist about the fact that it is restricted to accredited investors and thus requires a minimum investment, the platform itself is strong. Still, it offers more accessibility than joining a hedge fund. While the long-term effects on the market remain to be seen, there is no doubt that change is on the horizon.

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