Catherine Coley: Crypto Is Less Scary Than Halloween

It’s October, and if you’re at all like me you’re listening to ghost story podcasts, watching scary movies and jumping whenever things go bump in the night. When I tell people that I work in cryptocurrency, people often ask me questions straight out of a horror movie. Isn’t bitcoin creepy?

I understand their confusion: Hollywood often acts like everything crypto-related is dark web deals and criminal conduct. In fact, it’s held and traded by millions of law-abiding people around the world and, in the United States, is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service.

Catherine Coley is CEO of Binance.US.

Even the nation’s largest bank, JPMorgan Chase, wants to create a digital currency. Electronic or digital currencies hold great potential as non-inflationary global means of trade. Whether you’re an athlete or an artist, a barber or a banker, a teenager or a retiree, cryptocurrency can work for you.

Cryptocurrency is exciting, popular and useful but its increased acceptance doesn’t mean that all its shadows have disappeared. Because it’s October, I want to talk about the scariest thing in the crypto world: being tricked by scams.

The great 2020 Twitter hack

In July, hackers made off with roughly $120,000 in cryptocurrency after hacking major verified Twitter accounts. Accounts belonging to Barack Obama, Bill Gates and others published tweets asking users to send bitcoin to particular wallet addresses. The hacked accounts promised that any shared currency would be doubled and returned. They lied.

Given the size, scale and sophistication of the June Twitter hack, it’s a relief to learn that the hackers’ payoff was relatively limited: Millions of people saw the fraudulent tweets, but only 400 deposited funds with the criminals. Any single theft is one theft too many, but the comparatively low number of victims means the crypto community has learned important lessons. And the thieves themselves were schooled in Bitcoin’s technology: The immutable…

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