Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency: Be Careful if You’re New to Bitcoin
I’m a big proponent of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, particularly the innovation behind it and the blockchain. The impact this will have on the future is immense, and it may even have uses beyond currency. Unfortunately it has gotten a lot of bad press and a significant amount of people associate it with illegal activities. Just like the Internet – especially in the early days where it was like the wild wild west – some will use it for illegal purposes. Criminals and unethical people are going to go where the money is and Bitcoin is an opportunity for criminals to take advantage of people new to Bitcoin and not particularly tech savvy. I received a tweet with a link to a page that looked like a legitimate Bitcoin non profit with the video embedded below and a link to “Download the free Windows version.” The domain was a foreign country and the download was a virus or malware possibly designed to steal information related to Bitcoin accounts from the victims, or other personal data. This is not unlike the thousands of websites and viruses before, including phishing scams with sites designed to look like bank sites trying to steal your login information. However, because of the growing interest in Bitcoin and the potential for adopters to make profits if and when the value rises, there are new waves of both people eager to get into Bitcoin for an investment and criminals eager to take advantage of these people.
The same rules apply with Bitcoin and websites as they have since the dawn of the Internet: Be careful what you click. Hover over links to see what they are, look at the domain, if it looks untrustworthy do NOT click it! Before downloading or clicking anything, pause and think. Make sure your browser is up to date and you have anti-virus/anti-malware installed. I recommend using Firefox or Chrome instead of Internet Explorer, as many tech savvy experts do, partly because it is safer for navigating the web.
Just like the Internet, Bitcoin and cryptocurrency are world-changing. There is opportunity for new businesses, software and investments with Bitcoin and I encourange anyone and everyone to learn more and try it out. I recommend coinbase.com for beginners. And for those of you new to Bitcoin, this is one of the best videos I’ve seen explaining it. Though the video was used in a malicious website I was sent on twitter, the video itself is on Youtube and was produced by good, Bitcoin enthusiasts. If you’d like to know more or are interested in Bitcoin, please contact me. I’d be happy to talk with you about it over coffee and help you get started. We even accept payment in Bitcoin and are developing some software and ideas around Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.