I Am Crypto-Curious.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few years, you’ll have heard of cryptocurrency.  A means to riches for some, a diversified investment for others – but clouded in mystery for many.

If you are crypto-curious, you’ve come to the right place.

As is the case with more traditional investing using fiat currency (currency that is government issued, such as the pound or dollar), there is also an investment gap when it comes to crypto.  A survey conducted by financial website Finder.com in February showed that nearly twice as many men as women invest in crypto (24% of men vs 13% of women).

There is an opportunity for all genders to become more crypto-comfortable through education, discussion and for those that wish to – investing in and holding crypto.  As with all areas of personal finance – it is personal, but don’t let ignorance of crypto basics get in the way of making a conscious decision when it comes to crypto.

Be curious with Zumo

BE CURIOUS - by Ted Lamade - A Program That Lasts

Let’s start with some simple explanations.

What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency, often referred to as “crypto”, is a digital currency.  As traditional currencies are identified with legal tender such as a note or coin, or transacted electronically on bank ledgers, crypto is identified on a digital and decentralised ledger using blockchain technology.

What is blockchain?

Another word becoming part of our everyday language, blockchain is a type of shared database which stores digital information electronically.  Blockchain technology is best known for its crucial role in crypto, maintaining a secure and decentralised record of transactions, allowing digital information to be recorded and distributed, but not edited.  It is hotly anticipated to shake up industries such as finance and law (imagine, your house purchase gets recorded on an electronic ledger immediately and not using old-fashioned forms).

What types of cryptocurrency are there?

There are estimated to be over 11,000 different types of cryptocurrencies and tokens in circulation.  Here are the top five that you may have heard of: Bitcoin (BTC); Ether (ETH); Binance Coin (BNB); Cardano (ADA); Dogecoin (DOGE)

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of crypto…

Ease: Instead of a formal institution such as a bank being involved, a global group of strangers free of borders, time zones and banking permissions are supporting you to send a payment anywhere in the world almost instantly.

Accessibility: Crypto can help to fight financial inequality and bring financial services to people without access to a bank as its transfers do not involve traditional banking institutions.

Potential for growth: Just as with any investment, the value of the asset can go up as well as down and the crypto markets are particularly volatile, likely due to their infancy.  Over the past decade, gold as an asset has returned -0.25% growth, the S&P 500 is showing +277% growth, whereas crypto Bitcoin has seen growth of 437,171%.

NFTs and Community: Crypto such as Ether can be used to purchase digital assets which are each an NFT, a non-fungible token that cannot be counterfeited and not only do these digital assets themselves have the potential to rise (and fall) in value, some give you access to a desirable online social club.  The famous Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs cost a minimum of 94 ether (approx $273,000 at time of writing) on the NFT trading platform Opensea and gains you access to an exclusive and influential community.

But what about the downsides?

Volatility: The value of crypto rises and falls in a more volatile way than more traditional investments and so we should proceed with caution if we are going to invest in this space.

Money laundering: Crypto has become popular with criminals for money laundering or ransomware activities – although we should remember traditional currencies are also used for criminal activity..

Wallet hacking: Although the crypto blockchains are secure, crypto exchanges and wallets can be hacked.

Unprotected: Crypto is largely unregulated and they generally aren’t protected by organisations like the FA or FSCS.

As with traditional investing in stocks and shares or in property, there is always risk.  The key is to be in, or work towards a financially well position that means you have emergency funds, little or no debt, healthy cash flow each payday and diversified investments.

At present, your investments may be spread across a home and a pension portfolio, and you may have a collection of individual stocks, savings bonds or even gold.  Crypto can form a part of a healthily diversified portfolio, especially if like with your other investments, you’re not looking for a quick profit but are in for the long haul.

One thing is for certain, crypto is going nowhere and its underlying technology is being used and embedded into our technological and financial lives.  Becoming more crypto-confident is an important step in keeping up to date with this fast-moving world.

“Blockchain, crypto, web3.0… have so many opportunities whether this is for personal development, career, financial… and we believe it should be accessible to everyone. 

Our latest campaign #Cryptoconfidence, is aimed at all the crypto curious women, to help them break through any barriers and ensure they have what they need to participate with confidence.” 

Amelie Arras

I’m still curious, how can I buy crypto?

If you’re still crypto-curious and would like to explore how you can buy crypto, we have partnered with Zumo, a crypto wallet and payment platform allowing you to buy, sell, send and receive Bitcoin and Ether – the two leading cryptocurrencies at present.  Zumo also provides a convertible debit card allowing you to spend your cryptocurrency anywhere in the world if you wish.

Head over to the Zumo app available on both Apple and Android, register an account, go through verification then you’re ready to go.

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