Cryptocurrency: What is it?
Cryptocurrencies, today’s biggest investment fad is dominating the headlines. Take Bitcoin, the most famous (and perhaps the most notorious) cryptocurrency has exploded in popularity over the last calendar year, despite the fact that it has been around for nearly a decade. Unless you have been living under a rock, you have heard of bitcoin, however, most do not know about the details behind the enigmatic cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin is a type of digital currency that was created by Satoshi Nakamoto back in 2008. However, the name Nakamoto is really an alias for an unidentified person, or group of people, who developed Bitcoin. Although there are numerous cryptocurrencies accessible now, Bitcoin has become the most popular one for investors.
Bitcoin was developed is such a way to evade tight government control on currencies while making online transactions simpler. The primary technology behind Bitcoin is a blockchain, a digital ledger in which public transactions made in cryptocurrencies are documented in a universal network of computers.
An ICO not an IPO
An ICO (Initial Coin Offering) is an unregulated fundraising mechanism that is used for a new cryptocurrency undertaking.
Here’s how it works: Say a company is trying to streamline a car service payment system so that it can be digital and encrypted. Sounds like a good idea. Let’s name it CarCoin. The company will then produce a document basically specifying exactly how the process will work (generally called a white paper). Additionally, they will create an eye-catching website and describe why CarCoin is a great idea that could be very beneficial. Then, the company will ask for people to send them money (typically Bitcoin or Ether, but they’ll also take fiat). In return, the company will send them back some CarCoin. The “investors” hope that CarCoin will be used a lot and be high in circulation, which could potentially raise the value of the currency.
This is sort of like an initial public offering (IPO), where investors buy shares of a company. However, unlike an IPO investing in an ICO doesn’t award you an ownership stake in the company or startup you’re giving money to. You are hoping that in this instance, CarCoin currently a worthless currency, will ultimately increase in value down the line and make you money.
Oh, what a scam!
Unfortunately, whenever there is money to be made the swindlers are never far behind. This is especially true at the ICO stage. Anyone can launch an ICO as there is very little regulation in most countries such as the United States. This means that as long as you got the tech aspect set up you can get yourself funded. This obviously can result in one of two things: potential profit for an investor or massive scams. The cryptocurrency market is perfect for scammers because it’s relatively new, backed by tons of hype, and comprises of complex technology. It’s easier to sucker someone into investing in your ICO in 2018 than your bogus real estate business—and unfortunately, plenty of people have.
Fake bitcoin brokers
Unfortunately, whenever a new investment opportunity pops up there are plenty of fake brokers to go along with it and cryptocurrency is no different. Take Bitcoinopts for example. This “broker” does not allow you to buy and sell bitcoins or let you “watch your profit grow as we trade daily”. Rather they profit off of your deposit and never allow you to withdraw. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Many of these cryptocurrency brokers are the same fraudulent binary options brokers operating under a different brand. It has become so rampant that Facebook has instituted a blanket ban for all ads pertaining to Bitcoin, ICO’s and other cryptocurrencies
Report these cryptocurrency scams.
It is important to remember that not every ICO is a fraud, and many cryptocurrency startups are legitimate. However, the duplicitous, mostly unregulated cryptocurrency investment landscape is plagued with lots of fraudulent schemes. If you were the unfortunate victim of a cryptocurrency scam or you know of someone who was, be sure to raise a complaint here.