Cryptocurrency Basics: Understanding the Pros, Cons, and Legal Implications

Cryptocurrency Investments

Navigating Cryptocurrency: A Comprehensive Guide to Digital Currency Investments

As the principal attorney at Joseph Wrobel Ltd., a premier Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyer, Joseph Wrobel aims to provide valuable insights into various financial topics. This article delves into the basics of cryptocurrency, a digital asset making waves in the financial world. Enjoy this Cryptocurrency Investments Guide! 

This article is a summary of great information on Nerdwallet! 

What is Cryptocurrency?

Definition and Purpose

Cryptocurrency, often called “crypto,” is a digital currency designed to function as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure transactions. Unlike traditional currencies controlled by central banks, cryptocurrencies operate on decentralized platforms based on blockchain technology. Bitcoin, the first and most well-known cryptocurrency, was introduced to facilitate peer-to-peer transactions without needing a trusted third party.

How Cryptocurrencies Work

Cryptocurrencies use blockchain technology to maintain a tamper-resistant record of transactions. A blockchain is a distributed ledger that records all transactions across a network of computers. Each transaction is added to a block, and once a block is completed, it is added to the chain in a linear, chronological order.

Creation of Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies are typically created through a process called mining. Mining involves solving complex mathematical problems to validate transactions and secure the network. Miners are rewarded with newly created coins for their efforts. Bitcoin is the most prominent example of a cryptocurrency that uses mining, while other cryptocurrencies might use different mechanisms like proof of stake, which is less energy-intensive.

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Why Do People Invest in Cryptocurrencies?

Potential for High Returns

One of the main attractions of cryptocurrencies is the potential for high returns. As demand for a particular cryptocurrency increases, so does its value. For example, Bitcoin’s price surged dramatically in 2021 and early 2024, driven by increased institutional interest and regulatory developments.

Diversification of Investment Portfolio

Investors often look to cryptocurrencies to diversify their portfolios. Unlike traditional assets like stocks and bonds, cryptocurrencies offer a different risk-return profile. This diversification can potentially reduce overall portfolio risk.

Belief in a New Monetary System

Some investors are drawn to cryptocurrencies because they believe in a new, decentralized monetary system. These enthusiasts view cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin as a superior alternative to traditional currencies, free from government control and inflationary policies.

Pros and Cons of Cryptocurrency


Decentralization: Removes central banks from managing the money supply, potentially reducing inflation risk.
Accessibility: Provides financial services to underserved communities, enabling greater financial inclusion.
Security: Blockchain technology offers a more secure way to process and record transactions.
Passive Income: Certain cryptocurrencies offer staking opportunities, allowing holders to earn rewards.


Volatility: Cryptocurrency prices can fluctuate wildly, leading to significant financial losses.
Regulatory Uncertainty: Governments worldwide are still figuring out how to regulate cryptocurrencies, which can lead to unpredictable legal and tax implications.
Environmental Impact: Bitcoin mining, in particular, consumes significant energy.
Limited Adoption: Despite growing interest, cryptocurrencies are not yet widely accepted as payment.

Legal and Tax Implications

Legal Status

Cryptocurrencies are legal in the United States, but their regulatory status is still evolving. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has scrutinized various aspects of the crypto market, including Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and crypto exchanges.


In the U.S., cryptocurrencies are treated as property for tax purposes. This means buying, selling, or using cryptocurrency can trigger capital gains tax. Receiving cryptocurrency as payment is taxed as income based on its fair market value at the time of receipt.

Legal Tender and Usage

Unlike traditional currencies, cryptocurrencies are not considered legal tender in most countries. This means that their acceptance as a payment method is not guaranteed and depends on the willingness of businesses and individuals to accept them.

How to Safely Invest in Cryptocurrencies

Do Your Homework

Investing in cryptocurrencies requires thorough research. Review white papers, understand the technology behind the cryptocurrency, and evaluate the team leading the project. Consider whether the cryptocurrency has a clear use case and a viable business model.

Diversify Your Investments

Just like with traditional investments, diversification can help manage risk. Investing in a mix of well-established cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, along with a few promising altcoins, can provide a balanced approach.

Stay Informed About Regulatory Changes

Cryptocurrency regulations are constantly evolving. Keeping up with regulatory developments can help you avoid legal pitfalls and better understand the tax implications of your investments.

Take the Next Step: Safeguard Your Financial Future with Guidance on Cryptocurrency Investments

Cryptocurrency represents a fascinating and complex financial world, offering significant opportunities and notable risks. As a Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyer, Joseph Wrobel encourages individuals to approach cryptocurrency investments with caution, thorough research, and an understanding of the legal and tax implications. Doing so allows you to navigate this volatile market more effectively and make informed decisions about your financial future.

For more information or legal assistance, visit Joseph Wrobel Ltd., a trusted Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyer.