Cryptocurrencies have the potential to reshape the financial world as we know it, and to question the very existence of traditional financial infrastructure. But what are the pros and cons of cryptocurrencies? How do you decide which one to invest in—or whether to invest at all?
If you’re a little confused by cryptocurrencies, don’t worry. We’re here to break down the advantages and disadvantages of cryptocurrency, so you can learn everything you need to know. And if you’re still stuck, check out our guide to Cryptocurrencies for Beginners.
5 advantages of cryptocurrency
While cryptocurrencies are a relatively recent invention (Bitcoin, for example, started up in 2009), they’re definitely here to stay, with all their benefits. From prospects of hefty returns to 24/7 trading on ultra-secure, transparent infrastructure, the world of crypto has plenty to offer—if you know how to tap into it.
1. High risk—and the potential for high rewards
There are more than 10,000 cryptocurrencies on the market today and each one has its own particular quirks. But all cryptocurrencies have a few things in common—like their tendency to experience sudden spikes (and drops) in value. Prices are driven primarily by the supply of coins from miners and the demand for them by purchasers. And these supply-demand dynamics can result in hefty returns. The price of Ethereum, for example, roughly doubled from July 2021 to December 2021—quite the payday for investors who got on board at the right time.
2. The blockchain technology underlying cryptocurrency is inherently secure
Some of the major benefits of cryptocurrencies aren’t linked to the currencies themselves, but to the infrastructure that supports them. That’s the blockchain—the decentralized data-storage ledger that tracks every transaction undertaken on it. Once you make an entry in the blockchain, it can never be erased. And with the blockchain stored decentrally across multiple computers, no hacker can access the entire chain in one go; any information stored in it is safe for good.
3. Bye bye traditional banks—hello to a fairer, more transparent financial system
By and large, our financial system revolves around third-party intermediaries who process transactions. This means that if you make a transaction, you’re placing your trust in one or more of these intermediaries—and the recession of the early 2000s made a lot of people wonder if that was a good idea. The blockchain and cryptocurrencies offer an alternative. They can be viewed by anyone, anywhere, so you can take part in the financial markets and make transactions with no intermediaries whatsoever.
4. Crypto trades around the clock
Another advantage that cryptocurrencies have over banks is that the crypto markets are always open. With coins being mined and transactions being recorded around the clock, you don’t have to wait for the NYSE, NASDAQ or any other exchange to start trading for the day if you want to buy, sell, or trade crypto. This has made such an impact that regular stock exchanges are looking into the option of trading stocks outside of regular banking hours as well—although that might still be some way off. So, for investors who are on the go 24/7, crypto might the best way to generate returns outside of normal working hours.
5. Cryptocurrencies could help investors beat inflation
Cryptocurrencies aren’t tied to a single currency or economy, so their price reflects global demand rather than, say, national inflation. But what about inflation of cryptocurrencies themselves? As an investor you can rest easy, for the most part. The number of coins is capped, so the amount available can’t spiral out of control, thus, no inflation. Some coins (like Bitcoin) have an overall cap, others (like Ethereum) have an annual cap, but either way, this approach keeps inflation at bay.