Crypto is a new way to transfer value electronically, without the need for a bank or another middleman. These transfers are recorded on a “blockchain,” an unchangeable digital ledger that verifies transactions.
You can buy crypto in exchange for other currencies, receive it as payment for goods or services, or invest in it. Its decentralized nature means it can’t be manipulated by any central authority, such as a government or financial institution. Instead, cryptocurrencies operate on computer software that anyone can download and monitor.
Like any investment, cryptocurrency can have ups and downs, but it can be an important part of a long-term portfolio strategy. It can also offer unique opportunities that may not be available elsewhere.
Crypto provides a means to transfer value securely online, near-instantly, and for low fees. It has the potential to supplant, and in some cases replace, many existing banking functions and provide greater efficiency and empowerment at the individual level. However, this innovation carries significant and unforeseen risks.
It’s important to understand these risks before investing in crypto. The technology is new and changing rapidly. Its underlying systems haven’t been tested and proven, so they may experience technical glitches or fail altogether. It’s also not insured like money in a bank account. Platforms that buy and sell crypto can be hacked or shut down, and consumers have lost money as a result.
When investing in crypto, diversification is key. There are thousands of different options, and it’s a good idea to spread your holdings across several types of crypto so that you aren’t exposed to too much risk should one lose value.
The values of crypto are driven by demand and supply, with prices influenced by how useful people expect it to be in the future. Some cryptos try to stabilize their prices by being backed by real-world assets or utilities. The laws governing crypto are also constantly evolving and could change dramatically in the future.
While some investors view crypto as a long-term asset, others see it as a way to make quick profits. These traders can be attracted by the eye-popping returns some cryptos have seen in the short term, but they need to do their research and understand the risk involved. It’s also important to remember that a cryptocurrency’s value can fall just as fast as it rises, and that transactions aren’t reversible.
Crypto is a complex, volatile market that can be challenging for new investors. Before investing, it’s a good idea to learn as much as possible and speak with your adviser if you have any questions. We’re always here to help.