Bitcoin

Why is Bitcoin synonymous with hackers and extortion?

As a virtual asset, Bitcoin is surrounded by many mysteries and misconceptions in the eye of the common man. People think of Bitcoin being too much of a hassle to use and will often believe the first thing they hear about the cryptocurrency. One of the biggest misconceptions about Bitcoin is how it has no intrinsic value. The second on the list can be said to be the misunderstanding that Bitcoin is primarily an asset used by hackers or criminals for illicit activity on the internet.

This myth gains traction through the fact that Bitcoin is a decentralized form of currency. There’s no third party, private or government, governing the transactions made through Bitcoin. While this is seen beneficial to many power users, since it means a greater privacy and no restrictions, the average person sees this as a threat. It’s easy to do what you want with your Bitcoin since there isn’t anybody to watch your steps.

There’s also the fact that, as the first major virtual currency, Bitcoin was highly used for transactions on the Deep Web, another area of the internet surrounded by myths. Since the Deep Web is considered a haven for cyber criminals, Bitcoin was also tainted by this infamy. Being used as a major currency in transactions on the Silk Road, a Deep Web website dedicated to illegal trade, it wasn’t long for Bitcoin to be considered synonymous with illegal activities.

There is also the outdated information that Bitcoin transactions were untraceable, making it a currency highly coveted by criminals. People could make shady transactions without the fear of the government listening or watching them in any way. However, at this point, this could not be any further from the truth. There are now companies that have developed software that can track Bitcoin transactions, making it easier to expose illicit activities and transactions made possible by Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is considered closely related to hackers due to its notorious history with hacking groups. Multiple hackers have made exploits to grab money from cryptocurrencies such as Binance (which was hacked as recently as May of this year), and Bitcoin has not been spared either. Mt Gox in 2011, Bitfloor in 2012 and Poloniex in 2014 are some major examples.

Bitcoin theft is very appealing to cyber criminals due to them being much easier to breach for seasoned hackers. They are an easier target that an established bank, making Bitcoin hacks low-risk and low-expense but having an immense return.

With all this negative press surrounding cryptocurrencies, it isn’t hard to draw the conclusion that, despite claiming to be completely secure, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not as secure and unhackable as they claim they are.

While the hacking threat is certainly something to be wary of, the myth about Bitcoin being exclusively used for illicit activities is holding less and less claim with every passing day. With more softwares being developed exclusively to track Bitcoin transactions, it is getting harder and harder to use Bitcoin for anything illegal.

There are still methods to invest in Bitcoin in a secure and safe way though. There are many guidelines on the internet on how to do this in a way that would leave your Bitcoins safer than just diving into the world of crypto.

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Ahsan Khalid

Blockchain Developer. An Electrical Engineer with majors in software development. I present forward my insight regarding the latest happenings of the blockchain world. All views on my articles are my own. Email: ahsan@blockpublisher.com or editor.news@blockpublisher.com

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