Bitcoin and Crypto Crime
Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether, and other digital currencies are no longer a novelty, but have been initiated into mainstream revenue. Digital coins are arguably as common as cash and can be used for everything from purchasing a vehicle to paying debts on Venmo.
As modern technology’s dependence on integration grows, digital monies will undoubtedly become a preferred method of payment. Be warned, however, that as cryptocurrency manufacturers enhance their techniques, so too do stealthy thieves. How safe are these cryptocurrencies though? Furthermore, is there a dark side to their use?
Let’s take a look at 2020 when crypto crime activities grossed nearly $10.5 billion. Direct theft from every day consumers comprised 67.8% of the fraudulent funds, with the remaining stemming from the drug trade, money laundering, ransomware attacks, terrorism funding, hacks, and sanctions. Bitcoin is often used to pay the bounty on illegal trades too. That said, it’s important to understand how you can maximize security of your digital wallet and cryptocurrencies.
Cyrpto criminals are notorious for stealing private keys that unlock users’ digital banks (be it a Bitcoin address or Tether wallet) and transfer stolen funds to a separate account. These robberies are often untraceable and rarely fixable. One of the best ways to fend off hackers is to store your digital coins in a “cold” wallet. Rather than keeping your cryptocurrencies stored in a cloud or app, physical wallets protect your assets on a drive similar to a US that is linked to and encrypted with a private key.
When digital currencies are in circulation, they are typically involved in transactions via a digital currency exchange. An online exchange can be easily compromised, therefore exposing your holdings to theft. Posting holdings in an exchange also increases your risk of being unable to recover your cryptocurrencies should the exchange fall through.
All cryptocurrencies are different, so be sure to research your preferred coins and tokens prior to investing or engaging in a digital exchange.