First, a bit of history
There was a time, not so long ago, when someone would have looked puzzled and asked you what you meant if you spoke to them about cryptocurrencies.
Cryptocurrencies became a thing back circa 2008, when the entity known only as ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ unveiled the concept of Bitcoin to the world.
The idea of digital currencies wasn’t new or particularly novel at the time of Nakamoto’s revelation though. The concept of digital currencies had been postulated as far back as 1983. Technology limitations and other issues meant that financial digital assets remained in conceptual form more or less until Bitcoin emerged.
Bitcoin started life as little more than a digital curiosity for a closed bunch of hardcore techno-enthusiasts to play an tinker with. With little or no intrinsic value to begin with, Bitcoin remained virtually worthless and on the fringes of the financial ecosystem for a long while.
It would be 2012 before Bitcoin really entered people’s lexicons, heralding the era of cryptocurrencies.
So you want to invest on cryptocurrencies. Why should you?
There’s a very wise advice given to investors: Only invest what you can afford to lose.
Investing is an inherently perilous game of wits, luck, and financial saavy. And investing on cryptocurrencies carries an even greater risk, due to the associated volatility of digital currencies and past association with fraudulent activity.
Nevertheless, investing on cryptocurrencies does have its positive sides. Here’s three of them:
Decentralization – National governments traditionally keep a tight rein on banking institutions. He who control the purse strings controls the will of the people. Decentralization is one of the key assets of cryptocurrencies, as it enables trading and transacting without the need for third party intermediaries that take a cut out of every deal.
Access to financial systems – Even in today’s perma-connected world, there’s still a significant percentage of people who are unable to access traditional financial systems, and therefore cannot access credit or banking facilities, for a variety of reasons. Cryptocurrencies enable these disadvantages individuals or communities to bypass the constraints of centralized banking, so they can participate in economic activity.
Growth potential – Cryptocurrencies have seen a tumultuous existence thus far, and this is unlikely to change in the near future. Digital assets do however harbor a huge potential for growth, both in financial and technological terms.
Investors can win big, or lose even bigger. This goes for any investment, but crypto investments are in a league of their own. Do your own due diligence before parting with your assets, and apply the timeless principle of buyer beware.
Written by: Fernando Sanchez