As the future rushes into our present, nearly all everyday activities can be done over the computer thanks to the World Wide Web. Anyone with an internet connection can now do everything from grocery shopping, booking vacations and even buying a car online.
Sooner than we may think, even paper money and regular coin could be replaced with Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and others that have been in the news lately. The new online currencies will soon be available to anyone needing to complete online transactions, but there are some basic differences and risks that you should be aware of.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin or BTC is on online currency that has no paper, belongs to no country and is not regulated by any central banks. This makes it attractive to not only companies and individuals, but also crypto criminals who would rather their transactions be untrackable.
In 2009, there were 21 million Bitcoins released into the market. This means that there is a limited amount available for purchase. In the beginning, there were so many Bitcoin available that they were not worth much money, but as more coins are being “mined” the Bitcoin price has reached upwards of $10K per each coin.
Not everyone has the resources to mine this coin, also making it more valuable to those who want to purchase it. Mining anything in the crypto currency market requires programmers to solve intricate math equations which requires skill and high-powered processors.
These factors have made Bitcoin a popular investment as the value continues to rise. It also makes them very attractive to cyber criminals and hackers looking to steal coins from owners.
Risks of Investing in Bitcoin and other Crypto Currencies
None of the varieties of current crypto currencies are regulated by any government body or central banking system which leaves investors with few options for protecting their money. There are no refunds on Bitcoin that is hacked or stolen. There is no depositor’s insurance available and the Cyber Jackers find this temptation to strong to pass up.
Even if you do not own any crypto currency, you may still be at risk from hackers that are trying to mine Bitcoin for themselves. The complex equations that need to be solved to gain access to Bitcoin need a huge amount of computer power to complete. Crypto criminals do not have access to that type of power, so they can hack into personal and business computers to steal their computing power putting your files at risk.
How to Protect Your Bitcoin
There are several recommended methods to help keep your Bitcoin investments safe. However, there is not yet a 100% reliable system to protect you, so be cautious and follow these basic rules.
- Set up a separate email account for your Bitcoin or Crypto currency account
- Create extremely difficult and long passwords and have double authentication on all accounts
- Turn off any password recovery system options on your accounts
- Do not discuss your crypto currency investments publicly or on any online forum
- Make sure to add extra security measures and anti-virus protection on your devices.
- Install a “Do Not Port” SIM card onto your cell phone. (Good for one year)
- Do not keep all Bitcoin stored in the same place.
Many people store their crypto currency investments in what is called “wallets”. Hard wallets are online holdings with an exchange firm. This the platform that is used when trading in Bitcoin. It is recommended that the bulk of your Bitcoin be stored in a Cold wallet or offline storage spot. Common options include a portable hard drive, USB stick or just old fashioned paper.
As the value of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies continue to rise in value, it is important to keep your investments safe from hackers. Following these simple guidelines to protect yourself could make the difference between a great payday and a devastating and irreversible loss.