Cryptocurrencies, led by Bitcoin, are grabbing headlines. There are now over 1,000 of these digital or virtual currencies, which use cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of additional units of the currency. Over 260,000 merchants and exchanges around the world already accept bitcoin in payment for goods and services, including these name brand U.S. stores: Microsoft, Dell, Gap, JC Penney, Subway, and Overstock.com. Fidelity has added bitcoin and two other cryptos to its investing menu.
Several countries are looking into following Japan’s example, where bitcoin just became legal tender. Most of these coins are following Bitcoin’s profile -- private and free-market, using blockchain technology. These new forms of money and merchandise are brand new and there is substantial conjecture about their durability. Since the prices for these currencies are rising, we recommend that investors take some time now to explore the subject and make an individual decision on whether, and under what circumstances, to participate.
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