Millions of cryptocurrency investors have been scammed out of massive sums of real money. In 2018, losses from cryptocurrency-related crimes amounted to US$1.7 billion. The criminals use both old-fashioned and new-technology tactics to swindle their marks in schemes based on digital currencies exchanged through online databases called blockchains.
Once a piece of ransomware has got hold of your valuable information, there is very little you can do to get it back other than accede to the attacker’s demands. Ransomware, a type of malware that holds a computer to ransom, has become particularly prevalent in the past few years and virtually unbreakable encryption has made it an even more powerful force.
Nearly 170 years before the invention of Bitcoin, the journalist Charles Mackay noted the way whole communities could “fix their minds upon one object and go mad in its pursuit”. Millions of people, he wrote, “become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first”. His book Extraordinary Popular Delusio...[Read More]
Flush with Bitcoin, even after you bought your Lambo? Swiss watch maker Hublot has a product just for you — a wristwatch that can only be bought using Bitcoin. Because cash is for poor people who don’t own an Italian supercar they can barely drive. The wristwatch is being issued in very limited amounts, in order to commemorate Bitcoin’s tenth anniversary. Yup, really. Called the ...[Read More]
Could free units of a new digital currency end up being worth thousands of dollars? Initiative Q, which is aggressively marketing itself on social media, wants you to think so. It urges you to sign up now, and get your friends to do so as well, to maximise the value of your free “Q” currency. This has invited comparisons to pyramid schemes and suspicions about its legitimacy. It’s not a scam. It a...[Read More]
People are just becoming acquainted with the idea of digital money in the form of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, where transactions are recorded on a secure distributed database called a blockchain. And now along comes a new concept: the blockchain-based token, which I’ve been following as a blockchain researcher and teacher of courses about cryptocurrency and blockchain tokens. In the last 18 mon...[Read More]
Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are based on systems that are supposed to be inherently protected from fraud. Yet the U.S. Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation into manipulation of bitcoin prices. How is that sort of activity even possible? From researching blockchain and cryptocurrencies for the past three years, I know that blockchain systems have some immutable security featu...[Read More]
Right now, your computer might be using its memory and processor power – and your electricity – to generate money for someone else, without you ever knowing. It’s called “cryptojacking,” and it is an offshoot of the rising popularity of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. Instead of minting coins or printing paper money, creating new units of cryptocurrencies, which is called “mining,” involves perform...[Read More]
Bitcoin has been on a volatile ride in recent times, its value rising and falling like a kite caught in variable winds. Its future will likely be as unpredictable as its past given that it’s a currency propped up by risk-takers, a target of lawmakers and tied to nothing more substantial than an algorithm. But there are certain variables and concurrent conditions that are signals worth watching whe...[Read More]
The world is full of connected devices – and more are coming. In 2017, there were an estimated 8.4 billion internet-enabled thermostats, cameras, streetlights and other electronics. By 2020 that number could exceed 20 billion, and by 2030 there could be 500 billion or more. Because they’ll all be online all the time, each of those devices – whether a voice-recognition personal assistant or a pay-b...[Read More]
The enormous use of energy needed to mine bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is proving to be very contentious, but alternative methods pose far too much of a security risk. The recent warning that electricity use at bitcoin mining facilities in Iceland may exceed that consumed annually by the country’s homes, which could in turn lead to a potential energy shortage, was slightly alarmist in tone. ...[Read More]
As Bitcoin loses value, it may seem like it’s just as useful as the cryptocurrency invented for a joke – Dogecoin. But there are genuine differences between these cryptocurrencies, and it’s not just because one is “much currency, such volatility”. There are 1,448 cryptocurrencies around the world, by some counts. For every Bitcoin you have a programmable coin like Ethereum, or a coin that ac...[Read More]