Many investors are asking:
Should I buy Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies? And if not, why?
What Is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin arrived on the scene in 2009. The digital currency is created and held electronically. Its value stems partly from the fact that it's decentralized; no single institution or government controls the network. It was developed based on a proposal from a software developer called Satoshi Nakamoto, according to CoinDesk, which tracks cryptocurrency prices and reports on events in the crypto space. Low transaction costs are another feature along with instantaneous transfers.
Perhaps its biggest attraction is that its supply can't be increased or decreased at the whim of a controlling entity. Similar to gold and other precious metals, Bitcoins can be "mined," but it's done by using computing power in a distributed network. And like gold, Bitcoin supply is limited. And it's headed toward terminal creation.
Bitcoin rules state that only 21 million Bitcoins can ever be created, though the coins can be split into smaller parts. That could make Bitcoin, like gold, an attractive inflation hedge, backers say. There are 16.67 million Bitcoin in circulation now.
On the other hand, the potential creation of new digital currencies creates "the possibility of limitless supply of different cryptocurrencies," undermining the value of existing ones, UBS warned recently.
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E. Sue Bennett