Category: Cyber Currency

Cyber Currencies in 2021

In 2017, Bitcoin reached a price of $19,783 each but also dropped to $4,400 at one point.

Bitcoin and all of the other cyber currencies have no assets, nothing to guarantee a minimum value, so the prices can vary wildly and be highly unpredictable.

Ethereum fell in 2018 from a high of $1,300 to just over $90 by December, although it did rally after that.

Some people believe that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies should be considered to be a new asset class rather than a high risk novelty item and hope that governments and institutions will start to treat cyber currencies as assets suitable for widespread investment. Maybe this will happen in 2021 and accelerate the move to cyber currencies. However, there is nothing certain in this and cyber currencies may well have another bumpy unpredictable year.

The development of stablecoins may be a big step forward in wider acknowledgement of these currencies.

Stablecoins

Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies designed to minimize the volatility of the price of the stablecoin, by pegging it to some “stable” asset or basket of assets. A stablecoin can be pegged to a cryptocurrency, fiat money, or to exchange-traded commodities.

New stablecoins are being created to try to bring stability to the cyber currency market, but it’s not an easy step.

Some Popular Cybercurrencies

1. Bitcoin

Bitcoin is the biggest and most famous of the cyber currencies and it has made a lot of people millionaires. However, it has also lost huge sums for people.

Some experts think Bitcoin could be one of the best cryptocurrencies to invest in through 2021

2. Ethereum

Ethereum is a major player and billions of dollars worth of Ethereum were traded in 2020.

A major upgrade called Ethereum 2 (or Serenity) is in progress, due for launch in early 2021.

This will make Ethereum more efficient and able to process more transactions more quickly.

3. Litecoin

Litecoin has a market capitalisation in the billions of dollars and is growing strongly.

It is connected to Bitcoin and that should help it’s future.

4. Bitcoin Cash

First launched in 2017, Bitcoin Cash was launched as a scalable branch of the original Bitcoin, after traders raised concerns over Bitcoin’s scalability.

It’s still going strong.

5. Ripple

Ripple is interesting but more complex to understand as the name covers both the Ripple platform (RippleNet) and its virtual currency (Ripple XRP). XRP is currently the world’s fourth biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation.

Overall, cyber currencies are getting stronger each year and the likelihood of them becoming commonly used as an asset is increasing.

However, any investors need to be very wary of the volatile nature of these currencies.

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Bitcoin Update

Bitcoin has been as high as $19,000 in 2020 but also as low as $6,500 – it can be extremely volatile as there are no real world assets to give it a solid value.

For those who invest in Bitcoin, it’s an unpredictable roller coaster with wild swings up and down. This can make people very rich or they can lose almost everything. Not for the faint hearted and not for anyone who cannot afford to take a big loss.

There are endless Bitcoin investment plans offered by a myriad of organisations.

Some are genuine but generally they don’t care if you win or lose on Bitcoin – they always win whether the price goes up or down.

The volatility of the currency and the occasional stories of people making fortines with Bitcoin encourage scammers to create their scam offerings where you always lose and they always win, unless they get caught by the authorities.

 Bitcoin Scams

Cryptocurrency scams are now a popular way for scammers to trick people into sending money. And they pop up in many ways. Most crypto scams can appear as emails trying to blackmail someone, online chain referral schemes, or bogus investment and business opportunities.

If you’re trying to pay for something online and the retailer wants you to pay in Bitcoin, maybe they are just offering options, nut generally this means there is a scam in progress and you will be the victim if you send that money as it will not be recoverable.

Latest Bitcoin Scam

Periodically, highly organised scammers produce floods of emails, adverts, fake newspaper articles and more in a coordinated attempt to lure people into their scam offering of Bitcoins.

Often these use fake celebrity endorsements such as claiming Richard Branson is selling everything to invest in Bitcoin. Recent names used include Alan Sugar and Daniel Radcliffe. The celebrities have nothing to do with this and try to stop their names being used to con people, but the scammers typically shut up shop and move on before being caught.

Headlines such as

“SPECIAL REPORT: Daniel Radcliffe’s Latest Investment Has The Government And Big Banks Terrified.”

“United Kingdom citizens are already raking in millions of Pounds from home using this “wealth loophole” – but is it legitimate?”

These such messages are always part of a coordinated scam.

If you do consider investing in Bitcoin or other cyber currencies, never respond to such emails, adverts or newspaper articles – do your own research on how to invest and take professional advice if possible.

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OneCoin Cryptocurrency Scammer in Court

Mark Scott, a US lawyer accused of laundering proceeds from the OneCoin cryptocurrency – alleged to be a Ponzi scheme scam – went on trial in New York. He was accused of laundering approximately $400 million through hedge funds and transferring that back to his colleagues.

OneCoin claims to be a digital currency similar to Bitcoin and the founders are thought to have raised an estimated $4bn worldwide, including millions from the UK, since it began in 2015.

It was founded in Bulgaria by Dr Ruja Ignatova, who disappeared in 2017 and her brother Konstantin Ignatov, who ran the company in her absence and has since been arrested in the US.

The Sales Pitch

Dr Ruja, told her audience that the future belonged to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, which had made millions for many investors and were free of the high cost of traditional banking.

She offered an alternative – a perfectly safe cryptocurrency of her own devising called OneCoin. She exhorted people to join this financial revolution that would become bigger than Bitcoin within a few years

It is estimated that up to 70,000 people in the UK may have invested with OneCoin and hence lost everything.

It appears to have been a fraud from the beginning as investors trying to retrieve their money found out, when they couldn’t get anything back.

The banks realised it was a scam and stopped doing business with OneCoin. So Ruja moved to using money laundering with people such as Mark Scott.

The officials are keenly trying to find Ruja to put her on trial as well.

If you have any experiences with Onecoin, do let me know, by email.

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Stupidest Scam of the Week Free Cyber Currency

Some time ago there was a scam prevalent on social media which promised to double your money – you simply send Bitcoin to a specified ID and they would return twice the amount to you.

As unbelievably stupid as this sounds – thousands of people did reply and sent money to a stranger expecting to get twice as much back.

The only thing they got a was a shock that it was a scam and this scam circulated for months before disappearing.

It has re-emerged but in email form this time.

The title of the email is “You have received 2700 XLM in your wallet”

XLM is the name a currency run by the Stellar Network and uses Lumens as the name of the coins. It is a competitor to Bitcoin.

The message then explains that you should send $100 worth of Bitcoin to a specific ID and in return you will receive $400 worth of XLM which gives you an instant profit of $300.

Obviously no-one gives away lots of money and it’s a simple scam but sadly some people’s greed and stupidity will lead them to a harsh lesson.

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Domain Name Theft

Your Internet domain name e.g. mybusiness.co.uk can be very valuable and a key part of your business. Without it, online customers won’t be able to find your website or may be redirected without their knowledge to a copycat site.

You may think it’s impossible for someone to take your domain name but it does happen and the scammers are clever in how they do it, leaving you with the difficult task of proving you are the rightful owner.

For a hacker to take your domain name, there are two basic methods:-

  1. They change your DNS configuration, to redirect traffic from your site to their site
  2. They modify your registration contact information, which gives them full control over your domain

A hacker can also change the registration data in the WHOIS database. This then makes it difficult for you to prove that you are the rightful owner. If they have control, then the hacker may also move the domain registration to another registrar which makes it more difficult to get your domain name back.

Q. How Can Hackers Access Your Domain Account?

The most common method is through a phishing attack. They send you emails that look to be from some official body, such as the domain registrar and get you to click a link to their fake website page and use your login and password thus giving them your login credentials.

Alternatively they get your login credentials from a data breach or simply buy the information from another hacker who has employed phishing attacks etc.

Protecting Your Domain

Prevention is the key, rather than planning what to do in the event of such a problem.

Ensure a strong password and that only you know the password for domain control, guard against phishing attacks and anything out of the ordinary regarding your domain.  The most effective control is domain locking.

Domain Locking

You can ‘lock’ your domain, which means that changes will not be allowed unless you ‘unlock’ the domain.  Your domain registrar will do this for you and it’s normally a free service.

Domain locking also stops unauthorised transfer of your domain name to another registrar.

Keep your domain name safe.

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Binance Crypto Exchange Hacked

BINANCE is one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges I.e. an exchange for online currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple etc. .  Hackers patiently built up information and hacked into the services and stole stole 7,000 bitcoin (about $40 million) — but also stole user security codes (two-factor authentication codes and API tokens) which can lead to further thefts.

Binance CEO Zhao Changpeng said “The hackers used a variety of techniques, including phishing, viruses and other attacks”.  “The hackers had the patience to wait, and execute well-orchestrated actions through multiple seemingly independent accounts at the most opportune time. The transaction was structured in a way that passed our existing security checks.”

Binance CEO Zhao Changpeng said “The hackers used a variety of techniques, including phishing, viruses and other attacks”.  “The hackers had the patience to wait, and execute well-orchestrated actions through multiple seemingly independent accounts at the most opportune time. The transaction was structured in a way that passed our existing security checks.”

The  hackers compromised multiple high-net-worth accounts, whose Bitcoin was kept in Binance’s hot wallet—which, unlike cold wallets, are connected to the internet. Anyone who keeps their Bitcoin in a Binance hot wallet should change that immediately.

The hackers got access to security codes for some users and that means they may still control certain user accounts and may use those to influence prices. Binance say they will monitor the situation closely.

Cyber currencies still seem a little like the Wild West and are taking a long time to become mainstream and become as safe as mainstream currency.

If you have any experiences with crypto-currencies do let me know, by email.

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