Now that we've presented the essentials about the cryptocurrency industry, it's time to take a closer look at the currencies themselves. Authorities in several countries around the world have weighed in on digital currencies, while still others have adopted a wait-and see attitude, choosing to stand back and observe as the industry grows and matures. (You can see a full listing where Bitcoins stand legally in different countries on our chart here.) Millions of words and news stories have been written about these topics, and in order to make heads or tails of all the fuss being made, it's best to have a better understanding of the concepts, philosophies and strategies behind the different types of alternative currencies. For many investors, it's not just a fiscal matter, but a very personal one.
As a trader, it's important to understand how the cryptocurrency markets work—and what they can do for you—before you jump into the investment pool with both feet. Even traders with expertise in traditional financial and commodity markets experience a bit of a learning curve when it comes to digital currency. As a result, a general understanding of digital currencies—and the way they behave within their own markets, and with the rest of the world—is critical. The articles in this section will touch on topics that will help boost your understanding of these unique types of currency, and is intended to serve as a guide for those who wish to explore them in more detail.
In the chapters of this section, we'll look at the dual nature of digital currency, and how it can serve as both money in your pocket and as an investment. This can be a little confusing to those who are used to standard dollar-and-cents currency; it's categorized as “just money,” and even though it can be used to purchase investments, it's not an investment in and of itself—unlike alternative currency. Along with its decentralized nature, this trait of cryptocurrency sets it apart from standard legal tender.
Here, too, we'll discuss what aspects of alternative currency make it so appealing to international investors; this appeal is one of the most important factors that has helped fuel its popularity around the globe. What advantages does cryptocurrency have over regular money when it comes to transactions that cross international borders? We'll take a look at these topics, and at the prospect of their being a digital currency ATM in your neck of the woods in the near future.
We'll also analyze the pros and cons of hoarding digital currency—as opposed to spending it freely—and why most investors tend to strike a balance between the two practices (many investors will keep multiple accounts: some for “active” money they use for purchases and trading, and some for investments they allow to stay put). We'll also take a look at why some currencies frown on the practice of hoarding, and the steps they're taking to keep it from happening at all.
The stability of the alternative currency markets—or should we say the perceived lack of it—has been getting a lot of media attention, and we'll address that subject, too. Digital currency is a young and exciting industry, and some of the activity involved with it has involved scandal and intrigue—so it's no surprise that it draws media attention like squirrels to nuts. It's a topic that's been riddled with overreaction—from the press, some governments, and many investors—and we'll approach it with a “cooler heads need to prevail” perspective.
We'll then touch on digital currency “ownership.” This doesn't mean the Bitcoins in your own personal wallet, but the overall currencies themselves. Industry advocates take pride in not being part of any government or banking system, but as a result, the concept brings up several important questions in the minds of those who don't understand the industry. Who owns the currency systems, overall? Who makes the big decisions? Who's in charge? Finally, we'll analyze the status of digital currencies in the United States. Are they legal? Are they taxed? All these answers are presented in this section.
With that said, join us as we focus on some of the specific features of cryptocurrency that make it both unique and attractive to investors. Coin Pursuit is happy to present this information—and the links to cryptocurrency sources in this section—to our readers and members; it's all part of our devotion to shedding light on this fascinating field and sorting the facts from the rumors.
Next Cryptocurrency Topic: Cryptocurrency as Money and Investment