Potential Cryptocurrency Hacks and Vulnerabilities

People and organizations that participate in cryptocurrency exchanges are extremely interested in security measures. That’s because the high value digital currency is especially attractive to cyber criminals. Of course, being vulnerable to attacks can be calamitous to participants. That’s why it is important for investors to understand the top hacks and security concerns about cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency Exchange Vulnerability

Cryptocurrency exchanges are the online platforms where participants can exchange funds. Hackers are always looking to manipulate code to intercept these trades. When there are errors in the code or other vulnerabilities, it’s possible to experience a breach. When the hackers successfully exploit a vulnerability, funds can be drained with little ability to react quickly.

Historically, there have been many successful hacks of cryptocurrency exchanges, which  range from recognizing and using programming mistakes to taking advantages of security lapses. From the earliest successful hack of Mt. Gox in 2011, to the current day, it’s a given that hackers will continue to frequently direct attacks at cryptocurrency exchanges due to the large number of coins in their possession. Developers should take all possible precautions when testing security measures to preserve the exchange’s integrity, and users should carefully consider the safety of leaving cryptocurrency on vulnerable exchanges.

Wallet Vulnerability

Cryptocurrency hardware wallets, the small electronic devices that facilitate the storage and use of the private keys that secure cryptocurrencies, are packed with security features. Unfortunately, hardware wallets can still be exploited by hackers. For example, a hacker managed to interfere with the insecure micro-controller located within a hardware wallet to install malware.  A security breach like that could leave an investor’s cryptocurrency funds vulnerable to theft.

As the technology for digital wallets improves, manufacturers work hard to stay one step ahead of hackers who are targeting the devices. They will continue to include better  tamper-resistant features that keep funds safe within the wallets. However, one of the easiest ways to ensure the safety of your hardware wallet is to only purchase them direct from the manufacturer, or authorized retailers, and to check the packaging for any evidence of tampering.

Selfish Mining

Mining is the process that verifies cryptocurrency transactions and adds them to the public digital ledger, called a blockchain.  As the name implies, selfish mining happens when a miner (or a mining pool) chooses to hold off publishing the block they have just mined until it is to their advantage.

With selfish mining, they hide the block from others by failing to broadcast it, and get straight to work on the next block. This gives them a significant advantage over other miners as they develop the longest chain and they reap the rewards when they broadcast it.  Once the selfish miners chain is broadcast and becomes the longest chain, other blocks become orphaned or invalidated.

51 Percent Attacks

Mining pools allow miners to consolidate their resources and increase their power, but this power can be misused in the form of 51 percent attack. When a mining pool has enough hashing power, they can manipulate and control the network’s mining power. They can disrupt cryptocurrency transactions and make some things happen in their favor. This disruption in the network makes it insecure and the mining pool could cause problems such as double spending or even reverse transactions. While it can be difficult and expensive to organize and carry out a 51 percent attack, it has been done before and should be considered a possible threat with cryptocurrency.

Hacks and security concerns are simply a part of cryptocurrency and developers must work hard to stay ahead of cybercriminals that are actively looking for ways to access valuable coins. Unlike financial activity that happens in a traditional financial institution, cryptocurrency transactions are difficult to reverse due to their nature. Because of the increased risks of cyberattacks, expect to see continual increases in security technology and strategies.

Investing in Cryptocurrency

It’s no secret that cryptocurrency prices have been in a downward trend for months now. Shifting trends, higher fees, and overall skepticism brought by failed ICOs and projects have been hitting the industry non-stop since early 2018. However, the case is different with its back-end technology: blockchain.

For years now, the world measured the value of cryptocurrency by how the mainstream media reports it: 3000% gains, rags-to-riches stories – completely disregarding the concepts and technologies behind why cryptocurrency became valuable in the first place. This gives many new and prospective investors the illusion that cryptocurrencies, any of them, are the key to wealth in today’s digitized world. Although this is true in some respects, there is an undeniable proof that there are also many risky ventures in the crypto space.

This puts into question the necessary things to consider when venturing into cryptocurrency. Is there such a thing as a crash course to cryptocurrency investment?

Yes: It’s called blockchain.

Looking behind the scenes

Blockchain has been a sleeping beast for years now and for good reason: it was completely eclipsed in popularity by a product of its own. Blockchain is the fundamental technology behind cryptocurrency and its distributed ledger technology is the key in understanding how to make investments in the cryptocurrency space.  While cryptocurrency prices are low compared to last year’s, blockchain-adoption is still receiving favorable reception with counties like Colombia, Malta, Thailand, and even Japan considering applying it to their government infrastructures.

Investors should understand the key problem that blockchain is trying to solve: the presence of intermediaries for transactions, which became a core factor as to why its most salient application is in currencies. To understand the value of cryptocurrencies and blockchain, one must first understand moving away from central figures and intermediaries in terms of day-to-day living.

To keep it short: the removal of intermediaries will allow all participants to operate in a fair and transparent platform. This concept will be a fundamental guide for any investor looking for projects that are worth their while.

The frontline: blockchain use-cases

Investing in cryptocurrency is very speculative, and you should only invest what you are willing (and able) to lose.

That 3000% gain or a quick return may be a thing of the past, but you can make gains if you do a lot of extra legwork.  Investors have to research existing use-cases and compare the pitch of the ICO (initial coin offering) or TGE (token generation event) they are eyeing to weight their options. Extensive research into many aspects of the cryptocurrency will need to be involved.

If you’re going to invest, invest in blockchain use-cases and a successful team. Holding a diversified portfolio of coins backed by a strong set of use-cases and having a team that has been successful in other businesses can give a good foundation to build from.

Blockchain use-cases are the key factor for any crypto investment as it will be a strong indicator that the platform will be used in real life and thus generate transactions and value. This will also mean that the team behind a project with strong use-case will put the maximum amount of effort in maintaining the blockchain platform and the coin economy attached to it. A few examples of use-case industries that might find blockchain useful are fintech, supply chain, health, food, transportation, and governments.

Indicators and challenges

There are many things to consider before investing in a project. There’s the team behind it, the problems they are trying to address, the blockchain protocol they are utilizing, and the extent to which they are integrating blockchain into their solutions.

However, a quick way to judge a good project is to consider the cooperation of existing organizations and sectors in using the platform or project. After all, blockchain is a community-based technology: no community, no authentication. It is safe to say that a blockchain without a community or an alliance doesn’t make much sense in practical application. In short, look at how the project is received not only by the coin investors but the users of the blockchain solution itself. Consider the brands, names, and thought leaders involved in the project and do extensive work on researching every detail about their whitepaper.

Investing now on cryptocurrency is much harder than it was years ago simply because of the sheer options available to the public. Investors today must be wise and rely on the applications of the blockchain project to fully gauge the potential value of the coins.

Not an Investment Offer

This Article will not and cannot be considered as an offer to enter into an investment. It does not constitute or relate in any way, nor should it be considered as an offering of securities in any jurisdiction. This document does not constitute an offer or an invitation to sell shares, securities or rights.


Video Tutorial: Using EasyTrade to Buy on Decentralized Exchanges

Decentralized exchanges offer crypto traders many benefits including anonymity, and a chance to buy new tokens early, before they are traded on major exchanges  However, the multiple steps required to navigate trading on most decentralized exchanges can be difficult to manage and understand.  The EasyTrade Widget, powered by DexDex, gives users a simplified interface which allows trades to be executed across multiple decentralized exchanges with a just a few clicks.

Check out the tutorial below to see how easy it is to buy OCC using EasyTrade and your Trust Wallet.  Additional tutorials using other wallets, and a cost comparison of trading through EasyTrade are coming soon!

Pros and Cons of Decentralized Exchanges

An exchange is an organized market where tradable items are bought and sold. In the world of cryptocurrency, there are online exchange platforms where people can trade different types of cryptocurrency or fiat currency. Decentralized exchanges are what make cryptocurrency truly desirable for those that want a system that doesn’t use a third party intermediary between a buyer and a seller.

Centralized Exchanges vs. Decentralized Exchanges

The best way to understand decentralized exchanges and why they are desirable for cryptocurrency is to compare them to centralized exchanges.

Centralized Exchange: A centralized exchange like Coinbase, Mercatox, etc., centers on a third party that matches two parties that want to transact with each other. The third party holds the funds. These centralized exchange centers have many rules that each party must conform to in order to participate, such as “know your customer” regulations and anti-money laundering laws. This third party becomes the authority on the transaction and if parties don’t meet their requirements, they cannot complete the transaction.

Decentralized Exchange: Unlike a centralized exchange, a decentralized exchange like ForkDelta is a platform that is established directly between both parties. There is no third party to set up rules of trading. Instead, the trade takes place using an automated process. Because there is no central authority on a decentralized exchange, there is no storage of personal information like names or account balances, so parties can keep everything private.

A Look at the Pros and Cons of Each Exchange

There are many pros and cons when it comes to choosing which type of exchange to use. At the end of the day, it’s up to the individual user to decide. Often, it comes down to personal preference and comfort level. Often, people will use a mixture of both, because they appreciate the benefits of each.

Centralized Exchange Benefits:

  • Options for recourse if someone is scammed or hacked.
  • The central authority oversees daily operations like security, maintenance, growth and customer service.
  • Better user experience due to the thoughtful execution of business plans.
  • Easy onboarding for first-time users.
  • Insurance may cover some or all losses.

Centralized Exchange Drawbacks:

  • Because servers are in only a few locations, they are more vulnerable to server downtime.
  • The centralized structure makes it possible for hackers to access information and currency.
  • Vulnerable to hostile takeovers or corrupt governments, causing parties to lose all their privately owned currency.
  • Most third parties charge some kind of transaction fee.

Decentralized Exchange Benefits:

  • The exchange operates outside of any single central authority.
  • Low barrier to entry, so many new tokens and coins are available that might not be list on larger centralized exchanges.
  • Exchanges are hosted on servers spread around the world, instead of one location, boosting security for each party’s data and funds.
  • Parties don’t have to worry about the third party’s honesty or security because the currency is held in their own personal wallet.
  • Parties also don’t have to share their personal information with anyone, so privacy is high.
  • Decentralization thwarts hackers.
  • In many cases there are no transaction fees.

Decentralized Exchange Drawbacks:

  • Many aspects of traditional trade and exchange are not available in a decentralized exchange, such as lending, stop loss, and margin trading.
  • Little to no customer support.
  • Less focus on ease of use, so it can be very confusing or be intimidating for first-time users.

In summary, centralized exchanges are used by those who may be new to cryptocurrency and want more centralized services. Decentralized exchanges are preferred by users with cryptocurrency trading experience who want the anonymity associated with it.

Cryptocurrency Portfolio Tracker

Original Crypto Coin’s Cryptocurrency Portfolio Tracker on Google Sheets pulls data from Coin Market Cap’s API and Live Coin Watch’s API and refreshes as you go.  Big exchanges like Binance and big indexes like Coin Market Cap don’t have every coin, but  keeping track of ALL of your coins can be accomplished through this Google Sheet!  It’s quick, efficient, linked to your Google account, and can be accessed anywhere, anytime.   It is also compatible with Excel and can be exported for additional functions and customization, and increased privacy.

Access the Portfolio Tracker by visiting the following link:


A unique feature this Portfolio Tracker is that it can track coins NOT listed on CoinMarketCap.com.  We’ve created a function that follows Live Coin Watch market data.  LiveCoinWatch has lower volume and lesser known cryptocurrencies, allowing you to track a wide range of tokens and coins in our Cryptocurrency Portfolio Tracker.

Coin Market Cap requires $100,000 worth of daily volume (the total amount of $’s traded in a day) and Original Crypto Coin (OCC) has not reached $100,000; however, don’t count OCC out because they did reach around $25,000 in trading volume on June 8, 2018!  $25,000 is very impressive for a small coin such as OCC and what we are accomplishing with no ICO.

You can get live data for a coin directly from CMC by following these steps:

  1. Visit the Portfolio Tracker link above and click File -> Make Copy to save to your Google Drive
  2. Visit http://coinmarketcap.com and finding a coin
  3. Find the coin you want to track and copy the coin’s website address: example- http://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/bitcoin/
  4. Paste the following function into your sheet in the under the Market Price Column: “=IMPORTXML(“http://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/bitcoin/”,”//*[@id=’quote_price’]/span[1]”)”

NOTE: Do not include the opening and closing quotation marks in your sheet.

Cryptocurrency trackers are everywhere, but we like to make it simple by using this Google Sheet. Having it all in one place makes it more convenient and accessible to track all of your cryptocurrencies.

Let us know how you like the Google Sheet and if you have any recommendations!

Contact the TUSC Team

If you have questions or concerns, fill out the form and we’ll respond as quickly as possible.  You can also find us almost 24 hours per day on our Telegram Channel. which is the fastest way to have your question answered.

Find out how TUSC can help you, your business, and the entire industry.