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2018: A Record-Breaking Year for Crypto Exchange Hacks

Eric Larcheveque is the CEO of Ledger, a leader in security and infrastructure solutions for cryptocurrencies and blockchain applications since 2014.

The following is an exclusive contribution to CoinDesk’s 2018 Year in Review

2018 year in review

2018 was a record-breaking year.

From the number of cryptocurrency exchange hacks, to the amount of assets that were stolen, to the largest exchange hack of all-time, crypto set a lot of records. Too bad they’re not the kind of records crypto innovators will be boasting about next year.

Although cryptocurrency continues to become more mainstream, this goes to show awareness around how dangerous it is to keep your crypto on exchanges doesn’t seem to be keeping pace.

It has been a very volatile 12 months for cryptocurrency markets, and as the value increased earlier in the year, so did the number of new investors. With these new investors came an increased interest from hackers, and because the markets grew so quickly, exchanges didn’t have the time or resources to build resilient security solutions.

Key Lessons for 2019

  1. Exchanges suffer from systemic risk – By having to secure billions of dollars in deposit, they are a magnet for hackers. It is much less risky and much more profitable to hack an exchange rather than a bank vault. Exchanges are usually fintechs first and not cyber security companies. They have demonstrated in the past that their security culture and awareness wasn’t always up the the level of the assets they’ve had to secure.
  2. Hacks are becoming more sophisticated – As cryptocurrency becomes more mainstream, so do its hackers. With so much value at stake, more hackers have dedicated their time to stealing from these exchanges. 2018 saw hackers deploy state-of-the-art attacks, such as social engineering, where they stole identities and pretended to be other people to successfully steal investor’s crypto assets. To combat the smartest hackers in the world, crypto asset owners need the most sophisticated security technology available.
  3. Each day $2.7 million is stolen from exchanges – The amount of stolen cryptocurrency from exchanges in 2018 has increased 13 times compared to last year. This amounts to $2.7 million in crypto assets being stolen every day, or $1,860 each minute.
  4. With a record number of hacks in 2018, the need for security is clearer than ever before – As we look to 2019, we can expect more enterprise security solutions to come to market. In addition to more money being invested in security, 2019 will see individual investors become more aware of the need to protect their critical digital assets. With increased digitalization, individual data and security will only increase in importance.

Solutions for Today

Exchanges are prone to hacks, because they centralize the risk and must keep part of their private keys online to allow real-time withdrawals. Moreover, crypto investor credentials on exchanges are also a massive security threats.

If your email gets compromised, you can usually kiss any crypto wallets you have on exchanges goodbye. Ensuring the security of your crypto assets yourself, through the use hardware wallets gives you the highest protection level.

Hardware wallets empower you with the ownership and control of your crypto assets. But with great powers comes great responsibilities: being your own bank is certainly not trivial and requires discipline. Using a hardware wallet doesn’t make you invincible against social engineering, physical threats or human error.

Use common sense, and apply basic security principles.

  • Don’t use a cryptocurrency exchange for long-term storage.
  • If you do, use two-factor authentication, preferably one that is not limited to devices connected to the internet.
  • For your hardware wallet, choose a PIN code that you can remember, but is secure and not easy to guess.
  • Keep your 24-word recovery sheet well secured and never enter it on any device that is connected to the internet.
  • Only trust what you can see on your hardware wallet screen. Verify your reception address and payment information on device.
  • Always treat with caution information shown on your computer or smartphone screen. Assume software can get compromised anytime.

Crypto hackers are getting more sophisticated, but by following these rules and storing your cryptocurrency on a hardware wallet, you will ensure your assets stay protected.

Have an opinionated take on 2018? CoinDesk is seeking submissions for our 2018 in Review. Email news [at] coindesk.com to learn how to get involved. 

Bank vault via Shutterstock

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Paris Blockchain Summit: First International Event Dedicated to Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technology 10 Years after the Creation of Bitcoin

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Paris Blockchain Summit: First International Event Dedicated to Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technology 10 Years after the Creation of Bitcoin

It’s time to take stock of what has been achieved and give perspective of its future achievement with Paris Blockchain Summit, the First International Event dedicated to the Blockchain Industry in Paris (France), on January 31 and February 1, 2019.

Paris Blockchain Summit is the largest event of its kind in France. The event will gather major international key players of the Blockchain ecosystem including well-known influencers, investors, government representatives, blockchain developers, law firms and service providers.

For the first edition, Paris Blockchain Summit will occur in an atypical place in Paris, La Palmeraie: 1500 m² of exhibition and conference area surrounded by green areas, 28 exhibitors, 35 international speakers and a special evening party to celebrate the 10 years of Bitcoin!

Paris Blockchain Summit is a unique opportunity to connect international key players who wants to promote the industry, generate concrete leads, showcase application of the technology and hands-on learning experience from dedicated Workshops and Keynotes.

Our aim is to conduct a recurring international event around Blockchain in Paris which is one of the fastest growing business hubs since the last two years and is becoming an international Blockchain Hub.

Special Community Discount

Get 10% OFF on tickets (except VIP) with the special discount code: coinspeaker-pbs.

About Paris Blockchain Summit

Paris Blockchain Summit is the First International Event dedicated to Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technology in Paris (France), on January 31 and February 1, 2019 just scheduled after the Paris Fintech Forum.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact us at [email protected]isblockchainsummit.com.

Paris Blockchain Summit: First International Event Dedicated to Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technology 10 Years after the Creation of Bitcoin

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Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Philippines: Crypto Experts Have Discussed Topical Trends and Set DLT Goals for the Future

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Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Philippines: Crypto Experts Have Discussed Topical Trends and Set DLT Goals for the Future

The meeting of DLT experts has been also visited by the CEO of CEZA.

What Did the Speakers Talk About?

The conference has gathered leading Filipino professionals and top experts from many countries working in crypto sphere. Speakers have addressed the most important segments of the DLT market and discussed topical trends of the industry.

Opening of the Event

The event was opened by Raul L. Lambino – CEO of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA). It is the only economic zone in the Philippines that has the authority to regulate, license and propagate Offshore Fintech Solutions Enterprises as well as Offshore Virtual Currency Exchanges.

The expert has delivered the welcoming speech, where he has talked about the crypto valley of Asia and CEZA. Raul L. Lambino has also set goals for the future and emphasized the aim of streaming not only financial processes but also a wide expanse of applications in the digital economy.

Alternatives to DLT

One of the founders and CCO at Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI), Miguel Cuneta, has delivered the speech about the need in DLT.

During his talk, the expert has addressed the question whether “to blockchain or not to blockchain.”

Cuneta has presented the disadvantages of DLT. According to him, the pace of DLT development is slow, incentive structures are difficult to design, maintenance is expensive, and scaling is very difficult. “Centralization is a lot easier,” believes the specialist.

Permissioned Blockchain

Mark Vernon, the Founder at Tagcash, has explained the nature of the private blockchains with the help of use cases from MultiChain and Stellar.

First, he has highlighted the reasons to use MultiChain: customised mining, multiple unlimited asset creation and support, stream creation and subscription.

Then, the expert has also provided the information on how to add and retrieve data with MultiChain blockchain and analysed the technology in detail.

The speaker summarized:

“Use permissioned blockchains when you need control of assets, compliance and data storage.”

Smart Contracts and Legal Contracts

The conference’s program has also included panel discussion where experts have talked about the self-executing contracts and the legal side of the technology.

Rafael Padilla – one of the establishers of Blockchain Association of the Philippines (BAP) – has become the discussion’s moderator. Together with other partakers, he has looked into the regulatory trends, business models of tokenization and DLT laws.

Exhibitors and Sponsors

The event has included the demozone – DLT startups have presented their new ideas and projects in the crypto industry. Event’s guests have discovered such solutions as crypto trading services, mining equipment and ICO projects advice.

The exclusive sponsor of the conference – OSR Chain. The company runs casinos and plans to enter various fields such as real estate, smart crypto city, shopping and foreign exchange. In the future, it will introduce the OSR stablecoin.

The investment partner of the event – TaaS Capital Fund which makes the wealth management easy and accessible. The DLT, AI and other IT services provider Kaplink has also become the investment partner of the conference.

The official media partner of the event is The Philippine Business and News (THEPHILBIZNEWS) – the online magazine which provides fresh news together with the analysis of business and political spheres. The YouTube channel about crypto and DLT, BTC TV, has become the general media partner.

The event has been visited by large investment companies, such as crypto solutions provider Fundshing, investment advisory firm InvestorsAlly and UAE’s private investment firm The National Investor (TNI).

Organizer

The conference’s organizer is the international company Smile-Expo which has already conducted 50 blockchain events in 24 countries.

The schedule of the future events is on the website of Smile-Expo.

Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Philippines: Crypto Experts Have Discussed Topical Trends and Set DLT Goals for the Future