Nomad is the latest cryptocurrency trading firm to be hit with a significant theft of its crypto assets. Last week they announced a $190 million theft of their digital assets. Nomad is not alone. In a report by blockchain analytics firm, Chainalysis, over $1.7 billion of cryptocurrency was stolen this year through May.
There is a false sense of security regarding safeguarding crypto assets as they reside on the blockchain, which has long been touted as secure. Although the blockchain is relatively secure, many software applications automate the trading of cryptocurrencies. These applications are the weak spot for many blockchain operations. This opens the door for hackers to steal large amounts of assets without leaving a trace.
Not that long ago it seemed that blockchain was everywhere. The hype of blockchain as a cure-all was quite prevalent, including a commentary in the Wall Street Journal commenting how blockhain can end poverty. See article.
However, it seems that much of the hype has died for the moment as practitioners find ways to utilize blockchain when it makes the most sense, rather than implementing blockchain for the sake of using blockchain.
“In 2019 alone, an estimated $4.26 billion in cryptocurrencies was lost due to hacks, cybertheft, scams, misappropriation or insider fraud, up about 250% from 2018.” Fraudsters have upped efforts to attack cryptocurrencies in recent years.
Fraudsters are using schemes such as: embezzlement, Ponzi schemes, phishing and ransomware.
Unlike other frauds, if a person loses cryptocurrency, there is no recourse or way to recover it.
For those of us discussing blockchain in our accounting courses, it can sometimes be difficult for students to visualize how the blockchain works.
I recently used this game in my business analytics and emerging technologies course for upper level accounting students. The feedback was great! Students commented that it helped them visualize the blockchain even more.