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Cyber Without Insanity in 3 articles, 2 numbers, and 1 thought.
This week: It’s the last newsletter of 2022 so no homework for you this week. Instead, I’ll focus on some of the other things in the cyber world that may impact us in the future. I mentioned some examples of AI earlier in the week (here and here). So, for Cyber 3-2-1, I’ll talk about crypto. Believe it or not, there is evidence that cryptocurrency may not be just a Ponzi scheme, and that it has some real-world uses. But let’s not ignore the scams either.
1. Do you think cryptocurrency is just a Ponzi scheme? Well, FinExtra reports that The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is piloting the use of blockchain technology to get digital cash payments to people in Ukraine. The money is sent directly into a digital wallet that the recipient has downloaded to their phone. “This provides a secure place to hold and transport funds in USDC, a stable store of value, allowing people to travel within the country or cross borders without the need to carry cash. When recipients choose to convert to cash, whether it is dollars, euros, or local currency, they can withdraw their funds at any global MoneyGram location, including over 4500 sites in Ukraine.”
2. Do you think cryptocurrency has no future in financial services? Well, Bitcoin Magazine reports that at least one organisation is using cryptocurrency to make it faster and cheaper for people in the US to send money to their friends and family in Africa. The CEO of Bitnob, one company involved in the new service, stated “The current financial system isn’t set up in a way that ensures equal access for people and institutions from Africa. [..] We can now save people sending money back home to Africa billions of USD in transfer fees.” Less money will be lost on FX commissions, and more money will get into the pockets of the intended recipients.
3. Do you think I’m ‘all in’ on crypto? Not a chance! But behind the hype and the ongoing scams, I believe there is something of real value in the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain. And there is also some great comedy. The Onion’s article from April wins it for me: “Man Who Lost Everything In Crypto Just Wishes Several Thousand More People Had Warned Him”. As the ‘victim’ explains: “Over the past few days, I’ve started to worry that all of this stuff—Web3, non-fungible tokens, even the blockchain—is just a Ponzi scheme to cheat people like me out of our money, and no one even thought to explain this to me outside of the hundreds of people I deliberately ignored.”
$4.3 billion – The estimated total value of money stolen due to crypto scams, hacks, or corporate failures in 2022, according to a recent report by Privacy Affairs.
$1-2 billion – The current estimated loss arising from the recent collapse of FTX, an online cryptocurrency trading platform and exchange that “failed to implement virtually any of the systems or controls necessary to protect consumer assets”, according to John Ray, the man now responsible for handling its bankruptcy, and well-known for his work dealing with the failure of Enron many years ago.
ONE THING TO THINK ABOUT
I hope Cyber 3-2-1 has helped you protect your money from cyber attackers and your sanity from tech jargon.
As a result, I hope you now do NOT need to think about cybersecurity while you enjoy the Christmas break.
To everyone who has subscribed or been in touch this year, thanks for all of your feedback. To the rest of you lurkers, I’d love to hear from you in 2023.