Crypto is much less scary than Halloween
It's October, and if you're even like me, listen to ghost story podcasts, watch scary movies, and jump if it goes wrong at night. When I tell people that I work in cryptocurrency, people often ask me questions straight out of a horror movie. Isn't bitcoin scary?
I understand their confusion: Hollywood often acts like all crypto-related things are dark web deals and criminal behavior. In fact, it is owned and traded by millions of law-abiding people around the world and recognized by the Internal Revenue Service in the United States.
Catherine Coley is the CEO of Binance.US.
Even the largest bank in the country, JPMorgan Chase, wants to create a digital currency. Electronic or digital currencies have great potential as a non-inflationary global trading medium. Whether you are an athlete or an artist, a hairdresser or a banker, a teenager or a retiree, cryptocurrency can work for you.
Cryptocurrency is exciting, popular, and useful, but its increased adoption doesn't mean all shadows are gone. Because it's October, I want to talk about the worst thing in the crypto world: being tricked by scams.
The Great Twitter Hack 2020
In July, hackers with around $ 120,000 worth of cryptocurrency set out after hacking key verified Twitter accounts. Accounts of Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and others posted tweets asking users to send Bitcoin to specific wallet addresses. The hacked accounts promised that any common currency would be doubled and returned. You lied.
Given the size, scope, and sophistication of the June Twitter hack, it's a relief to learn that the hackers' payoff was relatively limited: millions of people saw the fraudulent tweets, but only 400 funds deposited with the criminals. Every single theft is one theft too many, but the comparatively small number of victims means the crypto community has learned important lessons. And the thieves themselves were trained in Bitcoin technology: the immutable blockchain ledger, which records all transactions on a permanent basis, led directly to their arrest.
See also: Twitter Hack 2020 – Full Coverage
"Educate, don't intimidate" is my motto for business and life. When my first job was navigating Wall Street forex trading counters, I knew how intimidating finances and their terminology can be. The same goes for crypto. From the outside, words like “staking”, “hashing” and “mining” can seem very complicated. But with a little education, you too can understand. The last thing I want is to intimidate you and make you believe that there is a scammer behind every email. But I want you to recognize the possible signs of criminal activity and protect yourself.
Anyone involved in cryptocurrency should understand the most common tasks and schemes. A closer look at the July Twitter hack will help here. Little did the 400 victims who sent money to hackers impersonating Elon Musk or Warren Buffett know that "giveaways" that promise something for nothing are a cybercriminal.
The July hack was more than "just" a giveaway exploit. If the criminals hadn't compromised celebrity and politician accounts, their plan wouldn't have worked. In July, Twitter admitted that some of its employees had been victims of spear phishing attacks. They were convinced by phone calls and what appeared to be official emails to enter sensitive personal information into criminally controlled websites.
You shouldn't believe everything you see on social media and you need to verify this before trusting any email that gets to your inbox or any caller who has your cell phone number. Do a quick bowel check, look at the return address or Twitter handle. Does it seem too good to be true? Learn from the mistakes of others, but don't forget that the crooks of honest users outnumber them.
The digital asset community is getting better every day. And much of that comes from learning from mistakes. But I hope by reading this you can avoid them. An educated audience makes it difficult for scammers to operate and their rate of return on cheating decreases.
Are Crypto Scams On The Way Out In 2020? I wish it were you.
Just like monsters defeated in a movie to be resurrected in sequels, cheaters never stay down long. Earlier this month, I went to Twitter to warn my followers of a fraudulent newsletter that was making the rounds. We are still haunted by a few bad actors. Fake cryptocurrency exchange and wallet apps are still occasionally showing up in mobile app stores. New members of the crypto community sometimes don't do their own research. And some networks with bad intentions spend all day telegram and discord, lurking for vulnerable targets. With more awareness of crypto and your safety, scams are becoming scarcer by the day, but they are still out there.
You may tremble when you think of cyber criminals in general and tracking your assets, but the more you know, the less likely you are to be concerned if you took the right steps to protect yourself. The perpetrators of the July 2020 Twitter hack were arrested and charged within two weeks. When investigators and law enforcement officers tore off their masks, the masterminds were exposed as teenagers from Florida and Massachusetts.
This October, when the jack-o'-lanterns are lit, you might want to shudder at one or the other terrible scam story. It is true that cheating is a problem, but don't fall for panic-stricken urban legends. You have all the knowledge you need to operate. Smart planning, critical thinking, and precautionary measures can keep you safe from fraudsters and enjoy the benefits of digital assets.