Personal Finance

Ready to Try Cryptocurrency? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

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It was Feb. 27, 2014. I was doing a TV news story on something relatively new in the investment world: Bitcoin.

After briefly explaining digital currencies, I wanted to show exactly how one goes about investing in them. So, I had my videographer take some video of my computer screen while I purchased half a Bitcoin. My investment? $289.47.

Months, then years, went by, and I forgot about the money I’d put in Bitcoin. Then, about four years later, Bitcoin was making headlines as it surpassed $10,000 in value. And that’s when it hit me: I own some of that!

So, I went online and sold about half of the Bitcoin I owned. And since I was playing with the house’s money, I used the proceeds to buy some of the second-most popular digital currency, Ethereum, which at the time was going for about $800.

Fast-forward to today, and my crypto investments are worth around $45,000. My current crypto balance isn’t all from my original $289 investment: I’ve invested additional money along the way. Still, this is a textbook example of a blind squirrel finding a golden acorn. And I’m not the only one. There are lots of similar stories, many infinitely more spectacular.

I’ll bet it’s these types of stories, more than anything else, that are driving the crypto craze. That, and the insane volatility in the digital asset space.

Just this year, Bitcoin started at around $30,000 per coin, got as high as $65,000, fell back to $30,000 and then climbed back to $45,000 (as of when we recorded this podcast episode). That means it doubled, then lost half its value, then gained back 50%, all within seven months.

And because of all this price movement, are digital assets really worth investing in? How can something be a medium of exchange, like a currency — or a store of value, like gold — when it’s this volatile?

If nothing else, however, it’s fascinating. That’s why I wanted to learn about it, and why I want you to understand it as well.

That’s what this week’s “Money!” podcast is about. We’re going to give you the skinny on what digital currencies are all about, how to invest in them, and a little advice on whether you should.

As usual, my co-host will be financial journalist Miranda Marquit. Listening in and sometimes contributing is producer and novice investor Aaron Freeman.

Sit back, relax and listen to this week’s “Money!” podcast:

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