The way we think about personal finance and conducting business has been fundamentally altered by cryptocurrencies. Over time, they spark debate, draw criticism, inspire criminality, are accompanied by failures, and… offer a chance to make good money.
What are the risks of cryptocurrency despite its many benefits? Naturally, they are a feature of all financial markets, but using cryptocurrency increases the dangers owing to their unique characteristics. What poses a threat to investors who have opted to use bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies as a tool?
What are the risks of cryptocurrency?
When electronic payment systems initially began to take off, the first of them were developed (WebMoney, QIWI, etc.). These days, their cryptocurrency-market-ready analogs can be used anywhere the chance presents itself. The following are the most typical ways to steal cryptocurrency:
- Fake links (substitution);
- Phishing (unauthorized access to personal information).
Owners of digital currency should exercise extreme caution and strive to keep ahead of viruses by using dependable anti-virus software, double-checking all addresses, and avoiding clicking on shady URLs.
2. Lack of legislation and legal risks
The absence of an investor insurance scheme makes the issue worse. Despite the fact that some exchanges present themselves and function as virtual banks, they are unable to make a claim for damages.
Bitcoins are illegible digital codes without any inherent ownership. Due to anonymity and decentralization, the owner of the money cannot both identify the thief who took them from a virtual wallet and establish their ownership of the coins (due to the lack of personal property law). When deals are made under the guise of a dishonest party, the scenario is comparable. Additionally, since the agreement was reached “on parole and a handshake,” the owner of any bitcoins invested in a company that filed for bankruptcy will likewise not be able to get their money back.
Investors are still forced to transact with exchanges without equity capital to cover losses, as opposed to conventional banks whose operations are governed by law.
Despite the fact that several projects are being developed, nobody offers insurance for bitcoins.
3. No guarantees for damages
When performing transactions through the exchange, the user is not actually the owner of the money that is kept in his account; rather, the exchange owns and controls the money. You can only access them once you check in to the website. As a result, the owner fully relies on the security precautions that the third party takes to safeguard the owner’s bitcoins.
A cyber assault caused users of the Bitfinex exchange to lose 36% of their funds. The website later relaunched, and in an effort to keep users, it first bought the victims out of their claims with BFX tokens (at a price that was comparable to Bitcoin at the time of the attack).
After a hack in 2014, the MtGox exchange in Tokyo went out of business and made a commitment to reimburse investors for their money, but the issue has not yet been entirely settled.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many instances like this. The majority of investors who lost cryptocurrency holdings on other websites never saw them.
4. Volatility = instability
This point has to be mentioned separately. Everyone starts giving recommendations on when to purchase and sell when there is such volatility. Ideas can be beneficial, of course, but it is better for novice market participants to wait rather than push forward and risk losing everything at once. Only in the hands of seasoned investors can digital coins be used to generate high returns.
The limited supply of 21 million bitcoins, known as the “king of cryptocurrencies,” contributes to unpredictable price changes. Daily price increases for each of them are driving up demand. Deflation may develop as a result of this. The value of bitcoin will decline as more businesses start to accept it as payment.
Decentralization is an additional factor. This has both a benefit and a drawback. No one can maintain the minimum value of the digital currency because there is no regulating organization. There is a chance that the price will fall if the bulk of investors decide to give up on bitcoin and “throw” a lot of coins into the market.
The bitcoin market is unsteady since it is still developing. It calls for specialized knowledge and abilities that are frequently unclear to newcomers. And while investing in a market with significant volatility may appear appealing, there are a lot of “gaps” in this recent field.
5. Loss of the secret code
This is the bitcoin wallet’s access key. All of the assets that are kept in the wallet must be lost if the code is lost. This may occur if the flash drive containing the code is damaged or the PC hard drive fails. Statistics show that 25% of cryptocurrency wallet owners experience this, with an estimated $18 billion in losses. Both the code and the money cannot be recovered.
6. Hacking attacks
The second biggest issue about what are the risks of cryptocurrency and a frequent occurrence in the realm of developing cryptocurrencies is cyber threats. Hacker assaults are happening more frequently, and fraud techniques are getting more advanced. Large amounts moving on trading floors and bitcoin wallets have drawn the attention of thieves in particular. Numerous cryptocurrency exchanges have shut down owing to bankruptcy as a result of frequent hacking attempts.
The International Securities and Exchange Commission has acknowledged that cyberattacks have occurred on more than half of the platforms. For instance, in 2016 a weakness in the system allowed hackers to access DAO hedge fund participants’ digital wallets without authorization and steal more than $150 million. They made off with $70 million.
Experts predict that Crypto investors will be plagued by the issue of security in the realm of cryptocurrency for a very long time.
7. Bankruptcy and closure of exchanges
About 48% of cryptocurrency exchanges shuttered in the past five years, including those that were quite promising.
Users lost millions of dollars because they ran out of time to withdraw money from their accounts when the websites were shut down. And hacking attacks were not always the cause of this.
This is the primary cause of the collapse and the critical issue facing the majority of cryptocurrency exchanges. Many just cannot generate enough revenue to “keep afloat” for an extended period of time. And this is just a small portion of what is needed for the service to operate properly.
It happens frequently for websites where bitcoin wallets are kept to experience technical difficulties. Investors who have lost money are not entitled to a return, regardless of whether malevolent hackers or careless software developers are to blame.
8. The collapse of the virtual money market
Nobody can promise that cryptocurrencies will be successful and last a long time. They are accepted on par with fiat money on the one hand, but they are also ungoverned on the other. Although they are not tangible like the dollar or the euro, they may eventually be able to be taken from an ATM and placed in your pocket like regular money. They are currently only utilized virtually and are used considerably less frequently than conventional currency.
Digital currency values alter naturally over time, but there is no assurance that the current high gain won’t eventually reverse to an equally rapid decrease (rollback). As a result, both a short-term and long-term return to zero is possible. Prices are erratic (high volatility demonstrates this) and depreciation can be sparked by virtually any political or economic event. Furthermore, it is typically quite difficult to forecast such situations.
Let’s review what are the risks of cryptocurrency extensive list. Cryptocurrency is unstable, unregulated, and does not provide investment security. It is also very appealing to scammers because it is vulnerable to tremendous volatility. The chances of making money virtually can be as flimsy as the money itself. Therefore, in order to take the required precautions, anyone who invests in bitcoin or conducts transactions with cryptocurrencies must first consider the risks. The only method that will properly protect cash is an integrated one.