The Most Alarming Cryptocurrency Scams Trending in The Market Nowadays
Excerpt: All investments involve some level of risk, but some experts believe that cryptocurrency is one of the more risky investment options available. If you intend to invest in cryptocurrencies, make sure you do your research!
Crypto scams are most commonly used to obtain private information such as security codes or to trick an unsuspecting person into sending cryptocurrency to a hacked digital wallet, according to the FBI.
Cryptocurrency is a type of digital currency that, in most cases, can only be obtained through electronic means. When using a service that allows you to exchange cryptocurrency for physical tokens, there will be no physical coin or bill to hold in your hand. You typically exchange cryptocurrency with someone online, using your phone or computer, rather than through a third party such as a bank or other financial institution. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether are well-known, but there are many different cryptocurrency brands, and new ones are constantly being developed.
People use cryptocurrency for a variety of reasons, including making quick payments, avoiding transaction fees charged by traditional banks, and maintaining some level of anonymity. Others hold cryptocurrency as an investment in the hope that its value will increase. A cryptocurrency exchange platform is where you can purchase cryptocurrency. Some people earn cryptocurrency through a complicated process known as “mining,” which necessitates the use of high-end computer equipment to solve extremely difficult mathematical puzzles.
Digital wallets are used to store cryptocurrency, and they can be found online, on your computer, or even on an external hard drive. But in the event of a surprise event, such as the failure of a cryptocurrency exchange platform or the delivery of digital currency to the incorrect recipient, or the loss or theft of a cryptocurrency digital wallet or its compromise, you’ll likely find that no one will be able to assist you in reclaiming your lost or stolen cryptocurrency digital wallet funds.
Furthermore, because cryptocurrency is typically transferred directly between parties rather than through an intermediary such as a bank, there is often no one to turn to in the event of a problem. In comparison to traditional currency, there are significant differences between cryptocurrency and it. In the absence of a government, cryptocurrency accounts are untraceable. Like bank accounts in which U.S. dollars are deposited, cryptocurrency accounts are not insured by the federal government.
It is not the government’s responsibility to assist you in recovering your cryptocurrency if you place it in possession of a third-party company that goes out of business or is compromised. The value of cryptocurrencies fluctuates on a constant basis. The value of a cryptocurrency can fluctuate dramatically, sometimes even changing hourly. It is influenced by a variety of factors, including supply and demand. If you make an investment today that is worth thousands of dollars, it may only be worth a few hundred dollars tomorrow. Furthermore, even if the value decreases, there is no guarantee that it will rise again.
Those considering paying with cryptocurrency should be aware that it is not the same as paying with a credit card or other traditional payment methods. Payments made using cryptocurrency do not come with any legal protections. If something goes wrong with your credit card or debit card, you are protected by the law. As an example, if you need to dispute a purchase, your credit card company has a process in place to assist you in reclaiming your funds. Cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, typically do not. Payments made using cryptocurrency are typically non-reversible. Once you’ve made a cryptocurrency payment, you’ll almost always be able to get your money back if the person who received your payment sends it back to you.
Consider the seller’s reputation and location before making a cryptocurrency purchase. You should also know how to contact someone in the event that there is a problem with the purchase. Before you make a payment, double-check these details by conducting some online research. It is likely that some information about your transactions will be made public. Transactions involving cryptocurrencies are often referred to as anonymous. However, the truth is not so straightforward. Some cryptocurrencies, known as “cryptocurrencies,” store some transaction details on a public ledger known as a “blockchain.” A public list of every cryptocurrency transaction — on both the payment and receipt sides — is maintained by the Bitcoin Foundation.
If the cryptocurrency is a digital currency, the information added to the blockchain can include details such as the transaction amount and the wallet addresses of both the sender and the recipient. It is a long string of numbers and letters that is used to identify your digital wallet on the internet. Even though you can use a fake name to register your digital wallet, it’s possible to use transaction and wallet information to identify the people involved in a specific transaction. And when you buy something from a seller who collects other information about you, like a shipping address, that information can be used to identify you later on.
Scammers are constantly inventing new ways to steal your money through the use of cryptocurrency. Anyone who tells you that you have to pay with cryptocurrency is most likely a scam artist. To be more specific, anyone who requests payment via wire transfer, gift card, or cryptocurrency is a scam artist. It goes without saying that if you pay, there’s almost no way to get your money back. This is exactly what the con artists are banking on.
Here are some examples of cryptocurrency scams to be on the lookout for. Some businesses make the claim that you can make a lot of money in a short period of time and achieve financial independence. Some scammers will ask you to pay in cryptocurrency in exchange for the right to recruit others into a programme they are offering you. If you do, they claim, you will receive recruitment bonuses in the form of cryptocurrency.
The more cryptocurrency you pay, the more money they promise you’ll make, according to their calculations. However, all of these are fabricated promises and false guarantees. Initially, some scammers approach victims with unsolicited offers from fictitious “investment managers.” These con artists claim that if you give them the cryptocurrency you’ve purchased, they can assist you in growing your wealth. However, once you log into the “investment account” that they set up for you, you’ll discover that you won’t be able to withdraw your money unless you pay additional fees. Some scammers send unsolicited job offers to assist in the recruitment of cryptocurrency investors, the sale of cryptocurrency, the mining of cryptocurrency, or the conversion of fiat currency to bitcoin. Some scammers post fake job openings on job search websites. After promising you a job (for a fee), they will end up taking your money or personal information instead.
Scammers promise that you will make money if you fall for their trap. If they promise you that you will make a profit, they are operating a scam. This is true even if there is a celebrity endorsement or customer testimonials. (Those can be easily fabricated.) They promise large payouts with a high probability of success. Nobody can promise you a specific return, such as doubling your money. Much less in a relatively short period of time.
Furthermore, they make false promises of free money. Whether in cash or cryptocurrency, they’ll make the promise, but free money promises are always a scam. Scammers make bold claims without providing any supporting evidence or explanations. People who are serious about their business want to understand how their investment works and where their money goes. And good investment advisors are eager to share their knowledge with their clients. Check it out before you make a decision. Look for the company’s name and the cryptocurrency’s name on the internet, as well as words like “review,” “scam,” and “complaint” in the search results. Take a look at what others are saying.
Since cryptocurrency is all the rage these days and people of all age groups are looking to invest in it and secure huge sums of profits, it is important to learn and fully understand what cryptocurrency actually is so that one can increase the chances of making profitable returns instead of terrible losses. If this sparks your interest, continue to read this article to learn more about cryptocurrency, the various types of crypto scams, the history of cryptocurrency scams, and how to avoid them!
If you are someone who’s interested in Cryptocurrency, then you’re definitely at the right place. We can give you the best practices in identifying red flags as well as help you in recovering your stolen money from scammers!
Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1: What is Cryptocurrency?
Bitcoin, also known as crypto-currency or crypto, is a type of digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography to secure transactions. It is also known as digital currency or virtual currency. Cryptocurrencies do not have a centralized issuing or regulating authority, instead relying on a decentralized system to record transactions and issue new units, as is the case with traditional currencies. Unlike traditional payment systems, which rely on banks to verify transactions, cryptocurrency does not rely on banks to verify transactions.
It is a peer-to-peer system that allows anyone from anywhere to send and receive payments with relative ease. Instead of being physical money that can be carried around and exchanged in the real world, cryptocurrency payments exist solely as digital entries in an online database describing specific transactions, similar to how credit cards work. Transactions involving cryptocurrency funds are recorded in a public ledger when they are made through a cryptocurrency exchange. Digital wallets are used to store digital currency.
The term “cryptocurrency” was coined because transactions in cryptocurrency are verified through the use of encryption. In other words, advanced coding is required for the storage and transmission of cryptocurrency data between wallets as well as between wallets and public ledgers. The purpose of encryption is to ensure the security and safety of data. Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency, having been created in 2009 and remaining the most well-known to this day. Much of the interest in cryptocurrencies is driven by the desire to make a profit, with speculators driving prices up to dizzying heights at times.
Cryptocurrencies operate on a distributed public ledger known as the blockchain, which is a record of all transactions that is updated and maintained by currency holders. To create cryptocurrency units, a process known as mining must be carried out, which involves the use of computational resources to resolve complicated mathematical problems that result in the generation of coins. Users can also purchase the currencies from brokers, then store and spend them using cryptographic wallets, which are becoming increasingly popular.
If you own cryptocurrency, you don’t actually own anything tangible in the traditional sense. It is a key that enables you to transfer a record or a unit of measurement from one person to another without the involvement of a third party you can trust. Despite the fact that Bitcoin has been around since 2009, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology applications are still in the early stages of development in terms of financial applications, with more applications expected in the future. It is possible that bonds, stocks, and other financial assets will be traded in the future, thanks to new technological developments.
There are tens of thousands of different cryptocurrencies. Some of the most well-known are bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, ripple, stablecoins, and altcoins. Bitcoin, which was created in 2009 and is still the most widely traded cryptocurrency, was the first cryptocurrency. Developed by Satoshi Nakamoto, who is widely believed to be a pseudonym for an individual or group of people whose precise identity remains unknown, cryptocurrency is a form of payment. On the other hand, Ethereum, which was created in 2015, is a blockchain platform that also has its own cryptocurrency, known as Ether (ETH) or Ethereum.
After Bitcoin, it is the second most widely used cryptocurrency. Despite the fact that it is most similar to bitcoin, litecoin has moved more quickly to develop new innovations, such as faster payments and processes that allow for more transactions to be processed. Ripple is a distributed ledger system that was first introduced in 2012 and is still in use today. Ripple can be used to track a variety of different types of transactions, not only cryptocurrency transactions. The company that created it has collaborated with a number of different banks and financial institutions. Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies that are intended to maintain a consistent level of purchasing power over time.
Alternative cryptocurrencies, which include tokens, cryptocurrencies, and other types of digital assets that are not bitcoin, are collectively referred to as “altcoins,” “alt coins.” Because bitcoin serves as a model protocol for altcoin designers, Paul Vigna of The Wall Street Journal described altcoins as “alternative versions of bitcoin.” The term is commonly used to refer to coins and tokens that were created after bitcoin was first introduced. Alternative cryptocurrencies (altcoins) frequently differ from bitcoin in their underlying principles. Because Litecoin aims to process a block every 2.5 minutes rather than every 10 minutes as Bitcoin, Litecoin can confirm transactions much more quickly than Bitcoin does.
Another example is Ethereum, which has smart contract functionality that allows decentralized applications to be run on its blockchain. Ethereum is a cryptocurrency that has been around since 2009. According to Bloomberg News, Ethereum was the most widely used blockchain in the year 2020. According to the New York Times, it had the largest “following” of any alternative cryptocurrency in 2016. An “alt season” is a term used to describe a period of significant gains across the alternative cryptocurrency markets. Non-Bitcoin cryptocurrencies are collectively referred to as “altcoins” in order to distinguish them from the original Bitcoin cryptocurrency.
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CHAPTER 2: The Digital Currency is Being taken advantage Of
When you hear the term cryptocurrency, you might think of it as a type of digital currency that is designed to function as a medium of exchange over the internet and is not dependent on any central authority, such as a government or a financial institution to support or maintain it. In order to protect transaction records, control the creation of additional coins, and verify the transfer of coin ownership, individual coin ownership records are stored in a digital ledger, which is a computerized database that employs strong cryptography to secure transaction records, control the creation of additional coins, and verify the transfer of coin ownership.
Cryptocurrencies are not necessarily considered to be currencies in the traditional sense. While they have been classified in a variety of ways, including as commodities, securities, and currencies, in practice, they are generally considered to be an entirely separate asset class from other types of securities and commodities. Some cryptographic schemes rely on validators to keep the cryptocurrency running. Proof-of-stake models require token owners to put their tokens up as collateral. In exchange, they receive authority over the token in proportion to the amount of money they have invested.
Most of the time, these token stakes gain additional ownership of the token over time as a result of network fees, newly minted tokens, or other similar incentive mechanisms. Cryptocurrency is a digital asset that does not exist in physical form (unlike paper money) and is not issued by a government or other authority. Cryptocurrencies, as opposed to digital currencies issued by central banks, typically employ decentralized control (CBDC). Censorship is generally applied to digital currencies when they are minting or created prior to release or when they are issued by a single issuer, among other things.
When implemented with decentralized control, each cryptocurrency operates through distributed ledger technology, which is typically a blockchain, which serves as a public financial transaction database for the entire world to see. In the world of digital assets and money, a cryptocurrency is a tradable digital asset or digital form of money that is built on blockchain technology and is only available online. Cryptocurrencies, as the name implies, use encryption to authenticate and protect transactions, thus earning them the title. There are over a thousand different cryptocurrencies in use around the world at any given time. A decentralized cryptocurrency, Bitcoin was the first to be developed and released as open-source software in 2009. Since the introduction of bitcoin, a plethora of other cryptocurrencies has been developed.
As defined by Jan Lansky, a cryptocurrency is a system that meets the six main criteria mentioned below. The system does not require a centralized authority; its state is maintained through distributed consensus among its participants. The system keeps track of the number of cryptocurrency units in circulation and who owns them. The system determines whether or not new cryptocurrency units are permitted to be issued. If new cryptocurrency units can be created, the system specifies the circumstances under which they were created and how to determine who owns the newly created cryptocurrency units.
The ownership of cryptocurrency units can only be established through cryptographic means. Transactions in which the ownership of cryptographic units is changed are permitted to be carried out by means of the system. A transaction statement can only be issued by an entity that can demonstrate that it currently owns the units in question. Even if two different instructions for changing ownership of the same cryptographic units are entered at the same time, the system is limited to executing only one of them by default. The word “cryptocurrency” was officially added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary in March of 2018.
Decentralized cryptocurrency is created by the entire cryptocurrency system collectively, at a rate that is defined at the time of the system’s creation and that is made publicly available to the general public. The supply of currency is controlled by corporate boards of directors or governments in centralized banking and economic systems such as the United States Federal Reserve System. Companies or governments are unable to create new units of decentralized cryptocurrency, and they have not yet provided backing for other firms, banks, or corporate entities that have assets valued in the cryptocurrency. The technical system on which decentralized cryptocurrencies are built was developed by a group or individual known as Satoshi Nakamoto, who is also known as the creator of Bitcoin.
As of May 2018, there were over 1,800 different cryptocurrency specifications. The safety, integrity, and balance of ledgers are maintained in a proof-of-work cryptocurrency system such as Bitcoin by a community of parties who are mutually distrustful of one another, known as miners, who use their computers to help validate and timestamp transactions, adding them to the ledger in accordance with a specific timestamping scheme.
In a proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain, transactions are validated by holders of the associated cryptocurrency, who are sometimes pooled together in stake pools to increase the likelihood of a transaction being successful. Many digital currencies, such as bitcoin, are designed to gradually reduce the amount of currency being produced, effectively capping the amount of currency ever produced and available for circulation. When compared to traditional currencies held by financial institutions or cash on hand, cryptocurrencies may be more difficult for law enforcement to seize than traditional currencies.
A blockchain ensures the legitimacy of each cryptocurrency’s coins by verifying their transaction history. A blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, referred to as blocks that are linked together and secured using cryptographic techniques. Typically, each block contains a hash pointer that serves as a link to a previous block, along with a timestamp and transaction data. Blockchains are inherently resistant to data modification because of the way they are built. A distributed ledger that “can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent manner” is defined as “an open, distributed ledger.”
When used as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network that works together to validate new blocks in accordance with a predetermined protocol. As soon as data is recorded, it cannot be changed retroactively without affecting all subsequent blocks, which requires the agreement of the majority of the network’s participants. Inherently secure, blockchains are an example of a distributed computing system with high Byzantine fault tolerance, as demonstrated by the Bitcoin network. Because of this, the blockchain has been used to achieve decentralized consensus.
An instance of a node is a computer that is connected to a cryptocurrency network in the world of cryptocurrency. When a node participates in a cryptocurrency’s network, it does so by either relaying transactions, validating transactions, or hosting a replica of the blockchain. To relay transactions, each network computer (node) maintains a copy of the blockchain underlying the cryptocurrency that it supports.
When a transaction is completed, the node that initiated the transaction broadcasts the transaction’s details through the node network to other nodes throughout the node network, ensuring that the transaction (and every other transaction) is known. Node owners are either volunteers, those who are hosted by the organization or body responsible for developing the cryptocurrency blockchain network technology, or those who are enticed to host a node in order to receive rewards for hosting the node network. Node owners are also known as node operators.
Cryptocurrencies use a variety of timestamping schemes to “prove” the validity of transactions that are added to the blockchain ledger, eliminating the need for a third party to verify the validity of the transactions. The proof-of-work scheme was the very first timestamping scheme to be developed. Proof-of-work schemes based on SHA-256 and scrypt have become the most widely used in recent years. CryptoNight, Blake, SHA-3, and X11 are some of the other hashing algorithms that are used for proof-of-work, in addition to the ones listed above.
It is possible to secure a cryptocurrency network and achieve distributed consensus through the use of the proof-of-stake method, which requires users to demonstrate ownership of a specific amount of cryptocurrency. It differs from proof-of-work systems, which are used to validate electronic transactions by running difficult hashing algorithms on a computer. The coin plays a significant role in the scheme, and there is currently no standard form of it available. Some cryptocurrencies make use of a proof-of-work and proof-of-stake scheme that is combined.
When it comes to cryptocurrency networks, mining is the process of validating transactions. Successful miners are rewarded with new cryptocurrency as a result of their efforts. Transaction fees are reduced as a result of the reward, which provides a complementary incentive for users to contribute to the network’s processing power. The use of specialized machines such as FPGAs and ASICs that run complex hashing algorithms such as SHA-256 and scrypt has increased the rate at which hashes are generated, which validates any transaction. Since the introduction of the first cryptocurrency, bitcoin, in 2009, there has been an arms race between companies to develop cheaper but more efficient machines.
Due to the increasing number of people entering the world of virtual currency, the process of generating hashes for validation has become more complex over time, requiring miners to invest increasing amounts of money in order to improve computing performance. So the reward for discovering a hash is diminishing and frequently does not justify the investment in equipment, cooling facilities (to mitigate the heat generated by the equipment), and the electricity required to keep them running. Local governments in mining-friendly jurisdictions have clear and favorable regulations, and regions with inexpensive electricity and a cold climate are particularly popular. As of July 2019, bitcoin’s electricity consumption is estimated to be approximately seven gigatons, or 0.2% of the world’s total, or the equivalent of Switzerland’s consumption.
Others pool resources, distributing their processing power across a network in order to split the reward equally among themselves based on the amount of work they contributed to increasing the probability of finding a block of coins. Members of the mining pool who submit a valid partial proof of work are each awarded a “share” of the mining pool’s profits. After a month-long crackdown on virtual currency trading and initial coin offerings, the Chinese government decided to shut down mining operations altogether in February 2018. Since then, a large number of Chinese miners have relocated to Canada and Texas.
Because of the low price of natural gas, one company is establishing data centers for mining operations at Canadian oil and gas field sites. In June 2018, Hydro Quebec submitted a proposal to the provincial government to allocate 500 MW of electricity to cryptocurrency mining companies. According to a Fortune magazine report from February 2018, Iceland has emerged as a haven for cryptocurrency miners, in part due to the country’s low-cost electricity.
It was announced in March 2018 that the city of Plattsburgh in upstate New York would impose an 18-month moratorium on all cryptocurrency mining in an effort to protect natural resources and the “character and direction” of the community. Kazakhstan surpassed China as the second-largest crypto-currency mining country in February 2022, accounting for 18.1% of the global hash rate at the time. In the vicinity of Ekibastuz, the country has constructed a compound containing 50,000 computers.
GPU Price Rise
In 2017, the demand for graphics cards (GPU) increased as a result of an increase in cryptocurrency mining. Because of their computing power, graphics processing units (GPUs) are well-suited for hash generation. Prices for popular cryptocurrency mining hardware, such as Nvidia’s GTX 1060 and GTX 1070 graphics cards and AMD’s RX 570 and RX 580 graphics cards, have doubled or tripled in recent weeks – and some models are now out of stock. A GTX 1070 Ti graphics card, which was originally released at a cost of $450, has sold for as much as $1100.
This year’s most popular graphics card, the GTX 1060 (6 G.B. model), was released with an MSRP of $250 and sold for nearly $500. AMD’s RX 570 and RX 580 graphics cards have been out of stock for nearly a year. Miners routinely purchase the entire stock of new graphics processing units (GPUs) as soon as they become available. Nvidia has asked retailers to do everything in their power to sell GPUs to gamers rather than miners when it comes to selling GPUs to gamers. “For Nvidia, gamers come first,” said Boris Böhles, the company’s public relations manager for the German region.
Wallets for cryptocurrency store the public and private “keys” (addresses) or seeds, which can be used to receive and spend the cryptocurrency, respectively. It is possible to write in the public ledger using the private key, effectively spending the cryptocurrency associated with the private key. Someone else may be able to send money to the wallet if they have access to the public key.
There are a variety of methods for storing keys or seeds in a wallet, ranging from paper wallets, which are traditional public, private, and seed keys written on paper, to hardware wallets, which are dedicated hardware to store your wallet information securely, to digital wallets, which are computers with software hosting your wallet information, to hosting your wallet on an exchange where cryptocurrency is traded, and everything in between. Alternatively, you can store your wallet information on a digital medium, such as plaintext, if you prefer.
Apart from this, it is important to remember that when compared to anonymous cryptocurrency, bitcoin is pseudonymous in the sense that the cryptocurrency contained within a wallet is not tied to specific individuals but rather to one or more specific keys (or “addresses”). While bitcoin owners are not identifiable as a result of this, all transactions are made publicly available through the blockchain. Despite this, cryptocurrency exchanges are frequently required by law to collect the personal information of their users in order to conduct business. Additional cryptocurrencies have been proposed, including Monero, Zerocoin, Zerocash, and CryptoNote. These additions would provide additional anonymity and fungibility.
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CHAPTER 3: How Did Cryptocurrency Come into Being?
American cryptographer David Chaum came up with the idea of anonymous cryptographic electronic money, which he called ecash, in 1983. Later, in 1995, he put it into action through Digicash, a pioneering form of cryptographic electronic payments that required users to download software in order to withdraw cash from a bank and designate specific encrypted keys before the money could be sent to a recipient.
Since the digital currency was not traceable by the issuing bank, government, or any third party, it became untraceable by them as well. The National Security Agency published a paper in 1996 titled “How to Make a Mint: the Cryptography of Anonymous Electronic Cash,” which described a Cryptocurrency system. The paper was first published on an MIT mailing list in 1996 and later published in The American Law Review in 1997, both of which are available online.
Wei Dai published a description of “b-money” in 1998, which he described as an anonymous, distributed electronic cash system with no central bank. Nick Szabo came up with the term “bit gold” shortly after. Bit gold (not to be confused with the later gold-based exchange, BitGold) was described as an electronic currency system. Users were required to complete a proof of work function, with solutions being cryptographically compiled and published. Bitcoin, the world’s first decentralized cryptocurrency, was created in 2009 by a developer who went by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto and is still at large. Its proof-of-work scheme made use of the SHA-256 cryptographic hash function, which is a type of hash function.
Namecoin was launched in April 2011 as an attempt to establish a decentralized domain name system (DNS), which would make internet censorship extremely difficult. Litecoin was launched shortly after, in October of that year. Instead of using the SHA-256 hash function, it used the script hash function. Another well-known cryptocurrency, Peercoin, utilized a hybrid proof-of-work/proof-of-stake system.
On August 6, 2014, the United Kingdom announced that the Treasury had commissioned a study into cryptocurrencies to determine what role, if any, they could play in the country’s economy in the future. The study was also supposed to provide insight into whether or not regulation should be considered. Its final report was published in 2018, and in January 2021, it issued a consultation on crypto assets and stable coins, which was followed by a formal response.
During the month of June 2021, El Salvador became the world’s first country to accept Bitcoin as legal tender after the Legislative Assembly voted by a margin of 62–22 to pass a bill introduced by President Nayib Bukele classifying the cryptocurrency as such. With Resolution 215 passed in August 2021, Cuba became the first country to recognize and regulate cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. As of September 2021, all cryptocurrency transactions were declared illegal in China, the world’s largest market for cryptocurrencies. This marked the culmination of the Chinese government’s crackdown on cryptocurrency, which had previously prohibited the operation of intermediaries and miners within the country.
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CHAPTER 4: How To Buy Cryptocurrency?
Some of you may be wondering how to buy cryptocurrency in a secure manner. Typically, there are three steps to complete the process. The first step is to choose which platform will be utilized. In general, you can choose between a traditional broker and a cryptocurrency exchange that specializes in cryptocurrencies. Brokers who operate in the traditional manner. These are online brokers who provide access to buy and sell cryptocurrency, as well as other financial assets such as stocks, bonds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and other digital assets. These platforms typically have lower trading costs, but they also have fewer crypto-related features. Exchanges for cryptocurrencies are available.
There are a plethora of cryptocurrency exchanges to choose from, each of which offers a different selection of cryptocurrencies, wallet storage, interest-bearing account options, and other amenities. Many exchanges charge fees based on the value of the assets traded. Comparing different platforms, take into account which cryptocurrencies are available, what fees they charge, their security features, storage and withdrawal options, and any educational resources they may have available to you.
After selecting your trading platform, the next step is to fund your account so that you can start making trades right away. Most cryptocurrency exchanges allow users to purchase cryptocurrency using fiat (i.e., government-issued) currencies such as the U.S. Dollar, the British Pound, or the Euro, which they can pay for with their debit or credit cards – though the exact method varies from platform to platform.
Credit card purchases of cryptocurrency are considered risky, and as a result, some exchanges do not accept them. Cryptocurrency transactions are also not permitted by some credit card companies. This is due to the fact that cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile, and it is not advisable to take the chance of going into debt — or paying potentially high credit card transaction fees — in order to purchase certain assets. Some platforms will also accept ACH transfers and wire transfers in addition to credit cards. The payment methods that are accepted and the time it takes to deposit or withdraw money vary from platform to platform.
Similarly, the time it takes for deposits to clear varies depending on the payment method used. The cost of the service is an important consideration. These include potential transaction fees for deposits and withdrawals, as well as trading fees. Fees will vary depending on the payment method and platform used, so it’s important to do your homework upfront.
You can place an order through the web or mobile platform provided by your broker or exchange. In order to purchase cryptocurrencies, you must first select “buy,” then select the order type, enter the number of cryptocurrencies you wish to purchase, and finally confirm the order by clicking “confirm order.” Orders to “sell” follow the same procedure as “buy” orders. There are a variety of other options for investing in cryptocurrency. Payment services such as PayPal, Cash App, and Venmo, which allow users to buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrencies, are examples of such services. There are also the following types of investment vehicles to consider; Bitcoin trusts: Shares in Bitcoin trusts can be purchased using a regular brokerage account, just like stocks.
Retail investors can gain exposure to cryptocurrency through the stock market through the use of these vehicles. Bitcoin mutual funds: There are Bitcoin ETFs and Bitcoin mutual funds to choose from, as well as Bitcoin ETFs that track Bitcoin. Blockchain stocks or exchange-traded funds (ETFs): You can also invest in cryptocurrency indirectly through blockchain companies that specialize in the technology that underpins cryptocurrency and cryptocurrency transactions. Alternatively, you can invest in stocks or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) of companies that are utilizing blockchain technology. The best investment option for you will be determined by your investment objectives as well as your risk tolerance.
Once you have purchased cryptocurrency, you must store it securely in order to prevent it from being compromised or stolen. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are typically stored in crypto wallets, which are either physical devices or online software that are used to store the private keys to your digital assets in a secure manner. Some exchanges offer wallet services, making it simple for you to store your funds directly on the exchange’s platform. Not all exchanges or brokers, on the other hand, will automatically provide you with wallet services.
There are a variety of wallet providers from which to choose. The terms “hot wallet” and “cold wallet” are used to describe the state of a wallet. “Hot wallets” are a type of crypto storage that uses online software to protect the private keys to your assets, as opposed to traditional offline storage. “Cold wallets” (also known as hardware wallets) are different from hot wallets in that they rely on offline electronic devices to securely store your private keys. Generally speaking, cold wallets charge fees, whereas hot wallets do not charge fees.
CHAPTER 5: How Does Cryptocurrency Function As A Means of Transaction?
Initially, Bitcoin was intended to be used as a medium for everyday transactions, making it possible to purchase anything from a cup of coffee to a computer or even large-ticket items such as real estate with a single bitcoin transaction. Although this has not yet occurred, the number of institutions accepting cryptocurrencies is increasing, and large-scale transactions involving cryptocurrencies are still uncommon. Despite this, it is possible to purchase a wide variety of products from e-commerce websites using a cryptographic currency like bitcoin.
Several companies that sell technology products, such as newegg.com, AT&T, and Microsoft, accept cryptocurrency payments on their websites. Overstock, an e-commerce platform, was one of the first to accept Bitcoin as a payment method. It is also accepted by Shopify, Rakuten, and Home Depot. Some high-end retailers are now accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment. Examples include Bitdials, an online luxury retailer that accepts Bitcoin in exchange for high-end timepieces such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, and others. Some car dealerships, ranging from mass-market brands to high-end luxury brands, have already begun accepting cryptocurrency as payment for their services.
It was announced in April 2021 by the Swiss insurer AXA that it would begin accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment for all insurance policies, with the exception of life insurance (due to regulatory issues). When it comes to premium payments, Premier Shield Insurance, which sells home and auto insurance policies in the United States, accepts Bitcoin as well. If you want to spend cryptocurrency at a retailer that doesn’t accept it directly, you can use a cryptocurrency debit card, such as BitPay in the United States, which accepts cryptocurrency.
CHAPTER 6: The Various Types of Cryptocurrency Scams Which Have Robbed People of Almost $80 Million
No government or central bank is backing this virtual money, which makes it completely untraceable. On the other hand, you can use “crypto” to purchase goods and services, exchange them for U.S. dollars and other conventional currencies on digital markets, and even obtain them through specialized ATMs. The value of virtual currencies, on the other hand, is entirely determined by supply and demand, as opposed to the value of government-backed money. This can result in wild swings in the market, resulting in either large gains or large losses for investors.
Furthermore, compared to traditional financial products such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, cryptocurrency investments are subject to significantly less regulatory oversight. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in cryptocurrency fraud. From October 2020 to March 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received nearly 6,800 complaints about cryptocurrency investment scams, an increase from 570 complaints in the same period the previous year, according to the FTC. The number of reported losses increased by more than tenfold, reaching more than $80 million. Despite the high-tech sheen of cryptocurrency, many of the scams associated with it are simply newfangled versions of old-fashioned con games.
However, while different types of cryptocurrencies have existed for many years, they only became widely recognized in 2017 when the price of Bitcoin, one of the more established cryptocurrencies, skyrocketed to nearly $20,000, representing an annual gain of more than 2000 percent. In spite of the “Great Crypto Crash” of 2018, cryptocurrency continues to be extremely popular, with Bitcoin being accompanied by other significant cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Ripple’s XRP, Binance’s Tether, and countless other alternatives. Apart from that, cryptocurrency exchanges have grown in number and sophistication, providing platforms through which customers can trade cryptocurrencies for a variety of assets, including conventional currency and other digital currencies.
In any financial vehicle, however, there is the potential for bad actors to defraud investors. This is especially true for cryptocurrencies, which are highly volatile and have piqued the public’s interest due to their widespread use. Among government enforcement attorneys, cryptocurrency fraud has emerged as a dominant topic of discussion, with numerous prominent conference panels and agency bulletins addressing its various forms, the hype versus reality, the many ways it can facilitate fraud, and efforts to rein in its abuse. The need for whistle-blowers to assist the SEC, CFTC, and IRS with their enforcement efforts will only grow in importance as cryptocurrency scams and fraud become more prevalent.
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Market manipulation fraud, also known as “pump and dump” fraud, is a type of securities fraud in which the perpetrators artificially inflate the price of targeted security, usually a low-trading-volume issuer in the over-the-counter securities market, which is largely controlled by the fraud perpetrators. In turn, the resulting artificially increased trading volume has the effect of artificially inflating the market price of the targeted security (also known as the “pump”), which is then quickly sold off into an inflated market for that security by fraud perpetrators (also known as a “dump”). As a result, the perpetrators make illicit profits, while innocent third-party investors suffer financial losses.
Typically, increased trading volume is generated by persuading unwitting investors to purchase shares of the targeted security through the use of false or deceptive sales practices and/or the release of public information about the security. A modern variation on this scheme involves computer criminals primarily based in foreign countries gaining unauthorized access to the online brokerage accounts of unsuspecting victims in the United States, according to the FBI.
This group of victim accounts is then used to engage in coordinated online purchases of the targeted security in order to affect the pump portion of the manipulation. At the same time, the fraud perpetrators sell their pre-existing holdings in the targeted security into the inflated market in order to complete the dump portion of the manipulation.
It is the effort of an individual or group to inflate the price of an asset so that they can profitably sell their own holdings at a higher price than they were originally purchased at. The process begins with the “pump.” Crypto schemers use social media, forums, and online communities to disseminate false or misleading information about minimally traded coins in order to persuade people to invest in their schemes. These posts frequently contain embellished due diligence (also known as “D.D.”) and make predictions about an impending surge. Using emojis like rocket ships and moons, and diamonds and outstretched hands, they’ll suggest an investment is about to explode and that investors should buy and hold on to their investments until the bubble pops.
After that, it’s time to go to the dump. Because of the increasing momentum, other investors cash in and drive the price higher, while the schemer’s cash out and make an instant fortune. When the market realizes that the hype was unfounded, investors scramble to limit their losses, causing the coin’s price to plummet dramatically. The most important factor in identifying a pump-and-dump scheme is credibility. If you follow cryptocurrency movements on social media platforms such as Reddit and Twitter, keep an eye out for anonymous accounts with little or no posting history — or accounts with a history of baseless pumping. These are most likely con artists.
Pump and Dump Schemes
A pump-and-dump scam occurs when a group of traders, such as the coin’s founders or collaborators, spreads misleading or false information in order to inflate the price of an asset before selling their shares at the inflated price to profit from the increase in value. This can result in significant financial losses for regular investors. It is more likely to occur when buyers are unfamiliar with a coin and are influenced by online promotional materials. Things can become even more complicated in an investment market that is largely unregulated. While pump-and-dump schemes are prohibited in the stock market, cryptocurrency regulations are still in the early stages of development, so fraudsters are taking advantage of the situation to see what they can get away with.
Bitcoin, ether, and dogecoin have all reached all-time highs in value this year, and cryptocurrency enthusiasts believe they represent the currency of the future for the entire world. The underlying blockchain technology, which allows crypto to function by creating a digital ledger that records transactions, appears to be a more secure form of currency than traditional currencies. Scammers, on the other hand, aren’t far behind when there’s money to be made. Pump-and-dump schemes in the cryptocurrency space take advantage of unsuspecting investors while making large sums of money for scammers. They can enlist the help of social media influencers who are compensated for encouraging people to purchase a particular digital coin in order to raise the value of that coin.
Scammers and influencers sell their coins as soon as the value increases, allowing them to pocket the profits while the rest of the public sees their investments depreciate. A pump and dump scheme is a type of securities fraud that typically involves stocks. False publicity about a stock is generated by scammers in order to generate interest. As soon as investors begin to purchase shares, the stock’s price rises as a result. When the price reaches a certain level, the con artists behind the phony hype sell off all of their holdings in the company. As a result, the stock price plummets, leaving new investors with a large financial burden to bear. It works in a similar way to how stocks do, in most cases. An individual or group of individuals pump up the value of a particular crypto asset in order for it to rise in value.
The pump-and-dump system differs in that it uses a different type of fluid. Bitcoin, ether, and dogecoin are well-established cryptocurrencies, and it takes someone with the following of Musk to make a difference in their value, whether it be an increase or a decrease. In contrast, because developing a complete blockchain system for a currency requires significant time and effort, those with coding skills can create their own crypto tokens, which are digital assets that are built on top of existing blockchain technologies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, rather than starting from scratch.
A pump-and-dump event for a SaveTheChildren token took place in July, with four members of the FaZe Clan taking part in the event. The pro gamers, as well as other influencers, promoted the coin to their respective audiences. Following an increase in the price, they began selling the tokens they had been given as part of the scam, with some making an estimated $30,000 from the sale. One other cryptocurrency known as SafeTrade was advertised as “rug-proof” earlier this year.
The organizers quickly sold their coins and left everyone else in the dust as soon as people began to purchase them. Over the course of seven months, researchers from the University of Technology Sydney and the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga discovered 355 instances of cryptocurrency pump-and-dump scams, according to a 2020 study. The perpetrators of these scams made millions of dollars.
Internally regulated securities frauds such as insider trading and pump and dump schemes are investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is a government regulatory agency. It does not yet have cryptocurrency-specific rules in place, and it does not intend to implement crypto-specific rules until at least the year 2021.
Rug pulls are a lucrative scam. A cryptocurrency developer promotes a new project—typically a new token—to investors and then vanishes with hundreds of millions or even millions of dollars in cash. According to a blockchain analysis company, this particular type of fraud cost victims $2.8 billion in lost money in 2021, accounting for 37 percent of all cryptocurrency scam revenue. That represents a significant increase from the previous year when rug pulls accounted for only 1% of cryptocurrency scam revenue.
It’s possible that the scam’s simplicity is one of the reasons it has become so popular. Creating new tokens on the Ethereum blockchain or another blockchain and having them listed on decentralized exchanges (DEXes), which are peer-to-peer marketplaces for cryptocurrency traders, is a relatively straightforward process that does not require a code audit.
When it comes to security, code audits are critical because they examine any new code for errors, bugs, and compliance with the quality standards established by the organization. Unless the code in smart contracts—also known as self-executing contracts—is thoroughly scrutinized, malicious developers can more easily introduce “bugs” or flaws, resulting in the creation of “backdoors” that can be used to steal user funds or commit exit scams.
One characteristic of rug pull scams is that they occur when a new cryptocurrency project has low liquidity, which means that it is difficult to convert the coin or asset into cash. Seasoned cryptocurrency traders avoid investing in projects with limited liquidity due to the risks of unstable prices and price manipulation that come with it. By examining a cryptocurrency’s 24-hour trading volume, it is possible to determine the liquidity of that cryptocurrency.
Preventing rug pulls begins with conducting thorough research on the cryptocurrency project before making an investment in it. When it comes to NFTs or non-fungible tokens, it is recommended that new projects be thoroughly vetted before investing in them and that NFT teams be thoroughly researched on social media. Social media can be a convenient way to put a face to a name for those with limited technological expertise. Many cryptocurrency projects are developed by individuals who only reveal their pseudonyms. When it comes to unvetted cryptocurrency projects, complete anonymity equates to a complete lack of accountability.
An investor who is unaware of the existence of a cryptocurrency is referred to as having “the rug pulled from underneath them” by the cryptocurrency’s creators or developers (also known as “rug pullers’ ‘). However, the liquidity scam is the most common type of rug pull, and it occurs most frequently on decentralized exchanges, which is why it is listed as the most common type of rug pull (DEXs). As opposed to a centralized exchange (CEX), which is privately owned by a single party and is run by consensus, these are run by a large number of machines working together as a network.
Developers can create a coin (also known as a crypto asset or cryptocurrency) and list it for purchase on a DEX in a relatively simple, quick, and cost-free manner. Compared to this, CEXs have a more rigorous approval process because they typically require the details of their users to comply with KYC/AML regulations. Because fiat currency (such as sterling pounds or U.S. dollars) cannot be traded on DEXs, any new coin created on a DEX must be paired with an existing cryptocurrency in order to be traded. When creating or developing a new token, the creators or developers will be required to deposit an amount of the paired cryptocurrency, as well as an amount of their own new token, into a “liquidity pool,” which will facilitate the trading of that coin with the paired cryptocurrency.
Once a coin is listed on a DEX, developers of new coins who intend to pull a fast one on the market will frequently create a media frenzy around the coin on social media, resulting in a significant infusion of liquidity into the pool. The coin’s value can also be artificially inflated by purchasing large quantities of the coin and then gradually selling them as legitimate traders acquire them (a practice known as “pump and dump,” for which three celebrities, including Kim Kardashian and Floyd Mayweather Jr., have recently been sued for allegedly participating). This activity generates a market value for the coin and encourages unwitting investors to rush to buy the coin as the price skyrockets as a result of the price explosion.
A significant amount of paired cryptocurrency will be present in the liquidity pool once the trading volume for the coin reaches a certain threshold level. At this point, the rug is pulled out from under everyone’s feet: rogue developers will withdraw all of the paired cryptocurrency from the liquidity pool and vanish into thin air, frequently shutting down social media accounts, websites, and other means of communication. Because of this, the coin’s value plummets to zero, and any investors who are left holding the bag will have forfeited their investment in the coin. This may occur over a period of months, or it may occur in a matter of minutes, as was the case in CryptoEats, where the developer was reported to have pocketed $500,000 in just a few short minutes!
Alternatively, rogue developers may attempt to manipulate the function of tokens in order to complete a rug-pulling operation. The ERC20 protocol is used by legitimate developers to host their coins. The ERC20 protocol contains a set of standards that are shared by all coins that use the ERC20 protocol. These standards include a function known as “approve,” which allows a token holder to trade their token for other assets on a decentralized exchange (DEX).
In contrast, a rogue developer may manipulate the “approve” function to prevent users from being able to sell the token, instead of allowing only for its purchase and reserving the ability to sell the token to itself. Once the market has sufficiently driven up the price of the token, developers will be able to sell their holdings, but users will be unable to sell their holdings until the market forces them to do so.
Initial Coin Offering Scams
Every month, dozens of new cryptocurrencies are introduced, and along with these new tokens and coins, a series of initial coin offerings (ICOs) is launched (ICOs). Despite the fact that cryptocurrencies were battered in 2018, there has been an increase in interest in these opportunities among a broad pool of investors. Scammers are attracted to all of these factors when they combine. After all, if investors have demonstrated that they are willing to place their money into a highly speculative cryptocurrency, it appears that they are equally likely to place their money into fraudulent tokens or initial coin offerings (ICOs).
The prospect of making the most of the plethora of new investment opportunities available while remaining safe from fraudulent initial coin offerings (ICOs) and questionable coins and tokens can be daunting for cryptocurrency investors. The technology behind blockchain and cryptocurrency is evolving at a rapid pace, and even experienced investors may find it difficult to keep up with the new terms and phrases. However, while there is no guarantee that any cryptocurrency or blockchain-related startup will be legitimate or successful, following the steps outlined below can help you to make the best possible decision about whether or not to invest in a particular cryptocurrency or blockchain-related startup.
There are numerous fraudulent initial coin offerings (ICOs) and shady coins and tokens to be found, but there are several ways to help ensure that you do not fall victim to one of these potential scams. One of the most effective ways to protect yourself is to conduct extensive research on the individual members of a project’s team before investing. A cryptocurrency or initial coin offering (ICO) whitepaper serves as the project’s founding document. It is recommended that you avoid doing business with companies that do not provide whitepapers. Make certain that you thoroughly read and analyze the whitepaper.
The success of any initial coin offering (ICO) will be dependent on the development of a token or currency system that will facilitate the crowdfund raising process. Potential investors can easily track the progress of the token sale and the system itself, thanks to the efforts of legitimate businesses and organizations. Over time, keep an eye on the token sales figures for the ICO. Overall, exercise extreme caution when searching for new investment opportunities in the initial coin offering (ICO) and cryptocurrency spaces.
The developers and administrative team behind any initial coin offering (ICO) or cryptocurrency project are perhaps the single most important success factor for the project. Superstar developers such as Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin have the ability to make or break new projects simply by having their names listed on a development team, which is why the cryptocurrency space is dominated by well-known names. In order to circumvent this, scammers are increasingly likely to create fictitious founders and biographical information for their projects. The best way to avoid falling victim to this deceptive strategy is to thoroughly research the individual members of a project’s team before making an investment. Beyond determining whether or not the development team is legitimate, it is critical to make an effort to determine whether or not their qualifications are adequate.
A cryptocurrency or initial coin offering (ICO) whitepaper serves as the project’s founding document. Any blockchain-related project’s whitepaper should include information on the project’s history, goals, strategy, concerns, and timetable for implementing the project. When it comes to business, whitepapers can be extremely telling: companies with flashy websites may reveal that they lack a fundamentally sound concept in their business. An alternative scenario is a company with a website that contains spelling errors but has a whitepaper that contains both an excellent concept and a meticulously planned implementation plan.
The first step in analyzing a whitepaper is to read it very carefully and completely. In addition, see if the whitepaper includes any complementary resources, such as financial models, legal considerations, a SWOT analysis, and a roadmap for implementing the recommendations. It is recommended that you avoid doing business with companies that do not provide whitepapers.
Scammers frequently use dating websites to deceive unsuspecting victims into believing that they are in a genuine long-term relationship when they are not. The conversation frequently turns to lucrative cryptocurrency opportunities and the eventual transfer of coins or account authentication credentials once trust has been established. Approximately 20% of the money reported as lost in romance scams was in cryptocurrency, according to the FBI.
According to a new report from the Federal Trade Commission, romance scammers made off with a total of $139 million in cryptocurrency last year, which is five times more than the amount stolen in 2020. (FTC). Among the $547 million in funds lost to scammers in 2021, cryptocurrency payments accounted for the largest portion of the total amount of money lost through cryptocurrency payments. Victims who paid with cryptocurrency, on average, suffered a loss of $9,770. According to the Federal Trade Commission, romance scammers create fictitious social media profiles using photos taken from the internet and then trick victims into sending them money. Although some scammers claim to be in need of money due to a financial crisis, some scammers pretend to be “financial experts” who promise to invest their victims’ money in cryptocurrencies or the stock market, which is an interesting twist.
While cryptocurrency scams resulted in the most money being lost, gift cards, which are inexpensive and easy to obtain, were the most commonly used payment method for scams — 28 percent of victims paid their “lover” with one. According to the Federal Trade Commission, a total of $36 million was lost as a result of gift card-related romance scams, which is still a significant amount less than the $139 million in cryptocurrency that was stolen. The victims made additional payments totaling $121 million through bank transfers and other methods of payment, and they made a further payment of $93 million through wire transfers.
There are some warning signs to look out for that may indicate you’re being scammed, according to the Federal Trade Commission; for example, if someone you’ve met online asks for payment in gift cards, cryptocurrency, or through wire transfer, it’s best to decline their request. And if you have any reason to believe that someone is catfishing you, you can simply run their profile picture through a reverse image search to see if it has been used anywhere else. It’s also important to remember that romance scams aren’t the only method by which fraudsters trick people into sending cryptocurrency.
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Digital Phishing Scams
Phishing is one of the most widely used forms of deception by scammers, and it is also one of the most difficult to detect. It is a common practice for spoofing emails, text messages, and social media messages in an attempt to make it appear as if the messages were sent from a legitimate and trusted source. Some “sources,” such as a credit card provider, bank, or government official, may request payment in cryptocurrency in exchange for something they have provided. It will always make an effort to convey a sense of urgency in order for the user to act quickly and without hesitation. Phishing scams are particularly prevalent in the cryptocurrency industry, where they target information pertaining to online wallets.
Scammers are particularly interested in crypto wallet private keys, which are the keys that allow users to access funds stored in the wallet. Their method of operation is similar to that of many other common scams. They send an email that directs recipients to a specially designed website where they are required to enter private key information. Once the hackers have obtained this information, they will be able to steal the cryptocurrency that is stored in the wallets in question. In today’s world, phishing scams are among the most common types of attacks on consumers. Over 114,700 people fell victim to phishing scams in 2019, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They collectively suffered a loss of $57.8 million, or approximately $500 per person.
Keep Your Digital Wallets & Investment Safe
All investments involve some level of risk, but some experts believe that cryptocurrency is one of the more risky investment options available. If you intend to invest in cryptocurrencies, make sure you do your research!
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