15 Things You Really Should Know About Money in 2018

Did your economics prof teach you about bitcoin, or side hustles, or phishing emails? If those topics weren't in your curriculum, here's a chance to get up to speed.

1. What is a cryptocurrency? (Hint: Nothing to do with Star Trek)

BitcoinTierneyMJ / Shutterstock.com

You can be forgiven for thinking cryptocurrencies — of which bitcoin is the most famous — sound like something that Captain Kirk might use to buy drinks onboard the USS Enterprise. Really though, they’re digital medium of exchange. Our “Bitcoin for Dummies” post explains them this way:

It might be simplest to think of bitcoins as a digital commodity, like electronic gold. They can be bought and sold, traded and taxed, divided or combined, or squirreled away for a later date.

What are they good for? It depends:

Right now, you can use bitcoins to purchase almost anything, though not necessarily from anywhere. The number of merchants accepting them as payment is small. Depending on where you live, there might not be any local businesses taking them …

So, cryptocurrencies are not supplanting credit cards and cash — not by a long shot — but they are making a huge splash as an investment, with almost daily headlines for wild price swings. Is it too late to jump on the bandwagon? Find out how Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson answers that question.

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