Crypto-Currencies: Peculiar Features & Investment Precautions

The name “crypto-currencies” is quite descriptive, as for an average Joe their concept may be more difficult to understand than that of regular money. Most kinds of crypto-currencies lack a physical form; there are no actual coins or notes that you can hold in your hand. That said, their digital form is quite complicated as compared to the online payment methods we’ve got used to (PayPal, Google Wallet, etc.). Another peculiarity is the absence of a central governing body that would regulate the realm of crypto-currencies. No need for transaction verification has made this type of digital money a versatile tool in black market deals.

In 2009, the world was introduced the pioneer crypto-currency, BitCoin (shortened as BTC). Since then the BitCoin principles have been used as the basis for creation of a variety of other crypto-currencies. One of the main peculiarities of BitCoin is the fact it relies on users (sellers, buyers, holders of the crypto-currency) to keep working. Such a functioning pattern is called “peer-to-peer” (P2P). Another term related to BitCoin is “block chain,” which represents the publicly available ledger where each and every BTC transaction is recorded. As a result, although your personal info isn’t required, BitCoin usage can hardly be called absolutely anonymous.

BitCoin gained momentum quickly, and gave rise to the emergence of a range of similar crypto-currencies. Most of them follow the pioneer’s functioning pattern, while also introducing their own specific features. For instance, QuarkCoin wins users over by offering enhanced security. LiteCoin has made fast transactions its main claim to fame. Worth recalling, as of early 2015, BTC transfers required miner verification, due to which each transaction took over 10 minutes to be completed.

The question of whether or not it’s feasible and profitable to invest in BitCoins or any other crypto-currency may have crossed your mind. We can only give you the vaguest of answers to this question: it depends. Crypto-currencies tend to demonstrate value fluctuations within a wide range. Let’s take bitCoin as an illustrative example: in late summer 2013, it’s value was around $200. Unexpectedly, in November, it surged more than sixfold and reached $1,242 per currency unit! However, soon it dropper back to around $200. What we mean is, just like any other investment option, BitCoin needs thorough research. Be prepared to unappealing consequences: if the timing of your investment happens to be off, you will not only fail to gain anything, but also lose a significant portion of your capital.