Cryptocurrency investors have been rewarded over the last 2 years with incredible profits. In the terminology of Peter Lynch known for managing the Magellan Funds, Bitcoin and Etherum have both been baggers over the last few years, with some altcoins been even more profitable. And that’s not mentioning the amazing rise of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) in 2021. From digital art to memes, crypto-collectables have seen a swift rise in value.
Unfortunately, the rise in cryptocurrencies value has drawn con artists to it like moths to lightbulbs. The rising market for cryptocurrency includes different sublevels and the market for fraudsters is rising. Today the average rate of cryptocurrency scams per person is reported at $1900. Cybercrime is expected to inflict damages totalling USD 6 trillion globally in 2021 – would be the largest economy after the U.S. and China.
The Federal Trade Commission point out this point to identify a crypto scam:
- Sammers guarantee you 100% that you will make money. Even if it seemed endorsed by a celebrity. ( That can be faked)
- Scammers guarantee a big return within a short time.
- Scammers promise free money in cash or Cryptocurrency.
- Scammers make big claims without detailed explanation. People should understand how their interment works and where their money is going.
As awkward as it may sound, scams in Crypto’s network are needed for its growth because they identify vulnerabilities in its system. The continued attention of investors on Cryptocurrency means it is likely that scams associated with it and the larger cryptocurrency ecosystem will likely become more sophisticated in the future.
Here is a summary of five important Bitcoin scams that have infiltrated its ecosystem in recent years.
Exchange and Wallet Hack
Earlier, cryptocurrency exchanges were the chief sources of crypto wealth for hackers. Presently, hackers have focused their attention on other areas, such as online crypto wallets, as well. In June 2020, one of the biggest of such hacks occurred when a hacker or group of hackers ( identity still unresolved) stole over 1 million email addresses by hacking into the database for Ledger, a France-based crypto wallet company. They also stole about 9,500 clients details and published 242,000 of the customers’ email addresses on a website for stolen database. A similar hack has been recorded by Poloneix, a USA based wallet founded by Tristan D’Agosta, the company had to email their customers informing them of the security breach and asking them to reset their passwords.
ICO stands for Initial Coin Offerings. These are popular methods used by Companies and startups to raise funds, it is the cryptocurrency equivalent to an IPO (Initial Public Offering), but the significant difference between the two is that IPO is usually for a well-off company, whereas ICO is generally for the young and risky. Several ICOs have yielded a massive profit for investors while several others have turn out to be scams.
Bitconnect, by far one of the greatest ICOs scams, promises investors 40% ROI. Unfortunately, Bitconnect turned out to be a Ponzi Scheme that carted away with over USD3.45 billion. This was the early age of ICO scams during 2016.
Another example of an ICO scam is Pincoin. A Vietnamese cryptocurrency that raised about USD 870 million from 32,000 people. Rather than paying investors back in cash, investors were rewarded a new token called iFan, before the team disappeared with investors’ money.
ACChain was a highly promising ICO token created in Shenzhen China, which was able to raise and abscond with USD 80million of investors’ funds.
Defi Rug Pulls
Defi is short for Decentralized Finance in the crypto market. Its an umbrella term for financial service on the blockchain, primarily etherum. With Defi you can lend, borrow, pay insurance, earn interest, trade assets and many more just like bank do, but Defi is faster and without all the paper work hassle, it also require no third party.
In the cryptocurrency market, the phrase “rug pull” means a theft in which the owners of a cryptocurrency project leave it after stealing investor money. The term vividly conveys the perception of investors who were promised a bright future in cryptocurrency riches. Unfortunately, the crypto world seems to be plagued with fraud. Research shows hat while the industry is seeing a reduction in theft overall, the Defi sector has seen increase in fraud.
A group of pseudonymous developers stole $750,000 worth of Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) and other forms of cryptocurrencies from Compounder Finance, a Defi platform in December 2020.According to a cached version of a Medium blog post describing the project, Compounder Finance claimed to be an automated farming system offering compound interest on digital assets while also earning native CP3R tokens as a “reward.” But investors alleges that developers had built a back door into the system and cart away with funds.
Social Media Scam
Social media has become a dominant force in mainstream society. Its rise has paralleled Bitcoin’s increased visibility in the media. And so, it is not surprising that hackers are using social media’s reach to target Bitcoin holders. They have taken to creating fake social media accounts to solicit Bitcoin from followers or directly hacking famous Twitter accounts.
Perhaps the most famous instance of this occurred in July 2020 when Twitter accounts belonging to famous individuals and companies were hacked. Some of the compromised accounts belonged to tech entrepreneurs Elon Musk and Bill Gates, investor Warren Buffett, boxer Floyd Mayweather, and companies such as Apple and Uber.
Hackers gained access to Twitter’s administrative console and posted tweets from these accounts, asking their followers to send money to a specified blockchain address. They promised that user funds would be doubled and sent back as a charitable gesture. According to reports, 320 transactions occurred within minutes of the tweets being posted.
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