Cryptocurrencies are digital assets created utilizing computer networking that supports protected trading and ownership. The term cryptocurrency comes from the cryptographic processes that developers have put in place to guard against fraud.
Bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies are supported by a technology known as blockchain, which maintains a tamper-resistant record of transactions and keeps track of who owns what. Public blockchains are usually reformed, which means they operate without a central authority such as a bank or government.
You only need to put up a small deposit – known as margin – to gain full exposure to the underlying market. Your profit or loss are still calculated according to the full size of your position, so leverage will magnify both profits and losses.
It is like investing in forex trading, using dollars for trades. In cryptocurrency, when you buy cryptocurrencies via an exchange, you purchase the coins themselves. You’ll need to create an exchange account, put up the full value of the asset to open a position, and store the cryptocurrency tokens in your own wallet until you’re ready to sell. You can go long (‘buy’) if you think a cryptocurrency will rise in value, or short (‘sell’) if you think it will fall.
Exchanges bring their own steep learning curve as you’ll need to get to grips with the technology involved and learn how to make sense of the data. Many exchanges also have limits on how much you can deposit, while accounts can be very expensive to maintain.
What can you buy with cryptocurrency?
When it was first launched, Bitcoin was intended to be a medium for daily transactions, making it possible to buy everything from a cup of coffee to a computer or even big-ticket items like real estate. That hasn’t quite materialized and, while the number of institutions accepting cryptocurrencies is growing, large transactions involving it are rare. Even so, it is possible to buy a wide variety of products from e-commerce websites using crypto. Here are some examples:
Technology and e-commerce sites:
Several companies that sell tech products accept crypto on their websites, such as newegg.com, AT&T, and Microsoft. Overstock, an e-commerce platform, was among the first sites to accept Bitcoin. Shopify, Rakuten, and Home Depot also accept it.
Some luxury retailers accept crypto as a form of payment. For example, online luxury retailer Bitdials offers Rolex, Patek Philippe, and other high-end watches in return for Bitcoin.
Some car dealers – from mass-market brands to high-end luxury dealers – already accept cryptocurrency as payment.
In April 2021, Swiss insurer AXA announced that it had begun accepting Bitcoin as a mode of payment for all its lines of insurance except life insurance (due to regulatory issues). Premier Shield Insurance, which sells home and auto insurance policies in the US, also accepts Bitcoin for premium payments.
If you want to spend cryptocurrency at a retailer that doesn’t accept it directly, you can use a cryptocurrency debit card, such as BitPay in the US.
So, when you think about investing, it’s the same as any other investment when you think about it. The bottom line would be that you will still be spending money, and gamble to gain more money using cryptocurrency. it’s important to get educated, especially when you’re going to deal with something that’s perhaps more unpredictable than other risky assets.