FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- By now most of us have heard of bitcoin but did you know there are hundreds of other lesser known Cryptocurrencies? Others with names like Ethereum and Ripple and despite a recent plunge in the market many people still believe now is the time to invest.
Bitcoin also known as Cryptocurrency promises to change financing the same way email changed communication some say it's a way to get rich quick while others caution that its all a big gamble but there's no denying the popularity of virtual currency has spiked over the last year as more and more Americans hope to cash in on the latest craze.
Tommy Marquez, Cryptocurrency investor, said, "It's like Netflix and Blockbuster or taxis and Uber, it's just like the next best thing."
Marquez began investing in Bitcoin a few years ago and says he's made so much money he's now living off his profits.
"It's really addicting, I tried getting into the stock market but I didn't really understand how to do it and there were so many barriers and with this nobody is stopping me. I just needed an ID, a bank account and to download the app," Marquez said.
So what is Cryptocurrency?
It isn't paper bills, it's not even coins, it's virtual money that can be transferred to another person thru your phone or computer without the help of a third party bank. You can also use it to buy things and some big names are starting to accept it as payment, including Overstock and Microsoft.
But is Cryptocurrency a good investment for the average person? Or is it a bubble that's ready to burst?
Stephen Foster has been dealing gold and silver for over two decades while helping run Fresno Coin Gallery Jewelry and Loan with his family he keeps up on the latest investment trends and admits Cryptocurrency does have its benefits but as he says buyer beware.
Bitcoin, I think there may be a place for it in the world but its awfully early to know what that is. It kind of concerns me," Stephen Foster with the Fresno Coin Gallery said. "I think its still the wild wild west. I'm uncomfortable at this point calling it an investment if it's a medium of exchange like currency is, it shouldn't be this volatile."
For investors thinking about putting their money into Cryptocurrency, experts say to be prepared for the daily wild price swings.
"I feel like people get involved in a mania and they get excited about the roller-coaster ride it's been, but I'm not really sure they'll like the ride or where they wind up with this," Foster said.
There's value in it right now but will this virtual money be the global currency of the future?
"It doesn't seem that hard to believe because I barely use paper money. Most people don't have anything in their wallets besides cards so it's already digital. So now it's this new technology that we got to trust," Marquez said.
But putting faith into a currency that operates independently of a centralized bank may be the biggest hurdle for it to overcome.
As with any investment, if you do plan to put your money into Bitcoins, financial experts recommend in diversifying your funds.