Blockchain investment at all-time high with little to show for it

Blockchain start-up investment has never been more fashionable. That’s the reveal from Outlier Ventures, who recently published a report analyzing blockchain investments going back to 2013.

In their study, Outlier Ventures reveals that $23.7 billion has been invested in blockchain companies since 2013. More than half of that amount came in 2018 alone, with nearly $14 billion being raised. Another $3.7 billion has been raised so far in 2019.

The details of the investments is perhaps more revealing. Outlier notes that 55% of the investment funding rounds were for seed funding. They have thoughts as to why companies are struggling to get additional investment:

This financing has not converted to follow on-rounds, and indicates that while early stage funding is relatively easy, many traditional VCs are waiting for evidence of product-market fit and clearer signs of revenue before making further investments.

Their theory is that while blockchain companies have succeded in getting initial funding, they haven’t had much help with actually building their project. “The challenge is more about expertise and guidance at early stages, especially when it comes to areas unique to Web3 such as token design,” they conclude.

There’s another way to look at this. The vast majority of blockchain projects are almost like hobby projects, and they are not built to scale to the needs of the market. Although developers are working on neat ideas that can secure initial funding, they fail at being adopted because they can’t scale to the needs of adopters.

That’s precisely why investment firms should look to developers who work on the only blockchain that can scale massively to the needs of businesses and the public, Bitcoin SV (BSV). BSV projects are not just ideas being built in a vacuum; the talented developers working on the real Bitcoin are working on business plans that can be rolled out immediately for public use. They are the most likely candidates to take a round of funding and realize something of utility in short order.

frnt-ceo-stephane-ouellette-explains-how-they-will-innovate-investment

CEO Stéphane Ouellette on how FRNT will innovate investment

FRNT’s recent announcement that they had secured funding from CoinGeek founder Calvin Ayre introduced a new powerful, institutional focused fiat-settled cryptocurrency derivative platform to the world of Bitcoin SV (BSV). To learn more about the company, we reached out to Stéphane Ouellette, CEO of FRNT.

We asked the CEO, before anything else, about the innovations FRNT is bringing to the investment world. “The only fiat-settled crypto derivatives product that is widely available for institutional investors in North America and beyond is the CME BTC future,” Ouellette began with. “While this product has undoubtedly been successful (averaged over USD ~500M notional in volume/day in May) it really has no peer for single-coin exposure on a slew of other cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin SV (BSV).”

Ouellette then went on to explain what this means for institutional investors. “Essentially what the CME Bitcoin Future allows is for institutions that may not legally or operationally be able to buy/sell crypto assets to purchase a derivative that settles and operates in a framework they are comfortable with,” he said. “It is our thesis that the fiat-settled derivatives toolkit could use an enormous amount of more development. In our early roadmap, in addition to unique single-coin Synthetic Exposure Mechanisms (SEMs), we plan to offer products on composite indices, themed indices and different spread products that will allow institutional investors an opportunity to participate in the space like never before.”

We wanted to know more about Synthetic Exposure Mechanisms (SEMs), the derivative type that FRNT offers, and how it differs from what investors might be used to. “Our SEMs are based on traditional Contract For Difference (CFD) derivatives but targeted towards institutional and accredited investors,” he replied. “CFDs essentially allow two parties to take opposing exposures on a particular index. In the oil market, for example, a CFD product may track the price of WTI crude. In this case, none of the parties will actually own and take delivery of the crude but the long party owes the short if the price dips below the initial level where the contract was struck and vice versa.”

The innovation here is that CFDs are targeted to retail investors, but FRNT sees a market for them in institutional investment as well. “We believe that, contrary to what the derivative has been utilized for historically, they provide an elegant solution for institutional investors to get exposure to the asset class but not have to take actual delivery of the physical crypto which involves a variety of different frictions,” Ouellette explained. “In fact, Fidelity recently hired Greenwich Associates to conduct a survey which suggested 72% of institutional investors would prefer an investment product that gave them exposure to crypto. This greatly beat out the other options of holding physical crypto or investing in crypto companies. The SEM platform, or SEM Trade as we call it, will be the first that allows them to conduct these types of operations on a broad scale and in a way they are familiar with.”

Ouellette believes that by with a lack of institutional investment the last time cryptocurrency markets reached all-time highs, retail investors created uncontrollable volatility. “The last wave of crypto participation was almost exclusively retail driven,” he noted. “While the wave introduced many to the idea of cryptocurrency and held a lot of positives, the lack of institutional participation left the asset class more volatile than it otherwise would have been.”

The solution to this is in financial institutions. By bringing them into crypto investing, many of the flaws of crypto markets will be ironed out. “In traditional markets, institutions police market inefficiencies and ultimately serve to dampen volatility,” he told us. “Without those kinds of participants, the asset class is much more vulnerable to the kinds of wild swings and price discrepancies that make it more difficult for the dream of a crypto-based financial system to become a reality. Furthermore, a lack of institutional participation leaves the whole ecosystem more vulnerable to bad actors. Ultimately, there are many reasons why institutional participation is a benefit, I’m just naming some.”

The recent successes of BSV made it an obvious choice for FRNT as a derivative product for their platform. “FRNT follows objective criteria when deciding what products to include in its suite,” Ouellette explained. He concluded by explaining how BSV meets that criteria:

“The first is perceived client demand. I think one needs to look no further than the volumes and the price activity over the last month to see that, that box was easily checked.

The second would be sustainability in the level of interest/ecosystem. This is so as to not include a fringe coin that may be a flash in the pan and will go away in the blink of an eye. The BSV ecosystem meets the second criteria with flying colours. It has one of, if not the best, financed development pipelines in the space and is already a Top 10 currency by market capitalization. This without even mentioning the slew of projects that have announced their intention to build on BSV already this year.”

Offchain Labs secures funding for Bitcoin SV-like scalable blockchain

Offchain Labs secures funding for Bitcoin SV-like scalable blockchain

A new player is trying to contend in the unlimited scaling blockchain game, but they may be too late. Offchain Labs has secured $3.7 million in funding from a seed round led by Pantera Capital, according to TechCrunch.

The startup, which started as a research project at Princeton, aims to create a scalable smart contract protocol called Arbitrum as a private blockchain. Their co-founder, Ed Felten, said:

“We’re working to build a platform for smart contract development that provides what we think developers want, a combination of scalability so that you can scale to more transactions per second, more users, and to contracts that have more code and still have more data in them.”

Their reasoning for moving to a private chain, as opposed to a public one like Bitcoin SV (BSV), is so that companies can conduct business without sharing their work. He explained, “So you don’t have to publish everything about your contracts, your code and everything it does on a public chain in order to get your work done.”

They also tout something they call the “Any Trust Guarantee,” which is not that different from how Dr. Craig Wright described smart contracts on the BSV blockchain recently.

The theme here is becoming pretty clear. What Arbitrum will offer, which is scalable, trustable smart contracts on a private blockchain, only holds one described difference from what can already be found in the BSV blockchain that is emerging as the only one the world needs: it’s private, rather than public.

Their intent is good, but they’re already well behind the progress made by the BSV team. BSV is already proving to be the best developed blockchain, with massive on-chain scaling and unlimited smart contract features, with privacy baked in for companies that chose to use it.

It’s already seeing the adoption necessary to take off as well. BSV has already mined the biggest blocks in history, and continues to see increased adoption from both the public and enterprise sectors.

If you’re up to learning more about how BSV is already the only blockchain the world needs, why not attend the CoinGeek Toronto conference this May? Registering takes just a few minutes, and you can save money by using Bitcoin SV via Coingate.

Michael Hudson explains how Bitstocks provides holistic banking experience with Bitcoin SV

Michael Hudson explains how Bitstocks provides holistic banking experience with Bitcoin SV

CoinGeek’s Becky Liggero spoke to Bitstocks CEO Michael Hudson on the launch of the company’s Gravity banking ecosystem, powered by Bitcoin SV.

Michael Hudson, founder and CEO of London-based Bitstocks, is looking to revolutionize the banking system, by simplifying it for anybody to use.

Their new product, Gravity, is aptly named, as Hudson explained: “Gravity is really a design philosophy at Bitstocks, because Gravity is everything, but you can’t see it. So it’s delivered like it’s nothing. So the philosophy behind the Gravity system at Bitstocks is how do we provide holistic experience? How do we plug all the holes that we can see in cryptocurrency and deliver it in such a user interface that makes it seamless? How do you provide everything but deliver it like it’s nothing?”

Developing the product, Hudson said, required “moving away from the nerdy, geeky narrative around cryptocurrencies,” and to actual everyday application. “Let’s just use it. Let’s make this useful, let’s make this accessible,” he said.

And all of this innovative banking for current, joint, and business accounts, will be done on Bitcoin SV. Hudson said, “You now have the ability of a very similar simulated banking experience that we’re all familiar with, and you could then spend your capital, your SV, at any point in the world that accepts Visa or Mastercard just as you would a traditional bank. You could even freeze your values as well so you’re not subject to the volatility on the market. There’s just no excuse now.”

The product is designed to be used even by those who are unbanked due to lack of requirements demanded by traditional banking systems. “They now have access to a banking-like experience that isn’t just like the past and what we’re used to. It’s better. So this is I would say the thing I am most excited about. This would be… what I use on a day-to-day basis. So we’re very excited,” Hudson said.

Bitstocks has been accepting investments, which Hudson stressed was “not an ICO [initial coin offering],” but rather for securities. He said, “This is to be done on the Bitcoin SV blockchain, so Bitcoin SV network, and we’re looking for investors who don’t just have capital. If we were doing that, we would have done that years ago. We’re looking for individuals or companies who share a very similar perspective as to what Bitstocks is really trying to achieve.”

According to Hudson, it’s not just a matter of creating a successful business. In addition, “We want to help do our role in harmonizing what we call the tools of humanity, the internet, and the internet of money now, how we share knowledge, and how we communicate and establish value. And we want investors who can help us facilitate our immediate, short, medium, and long-term goals in this mission. Help make the world an amazing place for amazing products,” he said.

After the November 15 hard fork, Bitstocks declared its support for Bitcoin SV. As Hudson explained, his company’s decision was based on “logic.”

“It’s as simple as that. There’s so much distortion out there in the market. I don’t really go on Twitter. I don’t really solicit anyone else but my own discernment. So all of the decision-making processes at Bitstocks is we sit, we look at things, we see what our position is, and we solicit our own discernment,” Hudson said.

He added, “It doesn’t matter how controversial a statement is. It doesn’t matter how it might rally the masses up. The truth will always remain the truth irrespective of the light that’s shone upon it. So it’s just a question of time. In time, people will realize, this is like the Highlander: there’s only really going to be one. There’s going to be… a plethora of different tokens, but it all needs to denominate and derive from the one internet of money, and that’s Bitcoin SV.”

Circle Invest adds Bitcoin SV to portfolio

Circle Invest adds Bitcoin SV to portfolio

Bitcoin SV (BSV) has a new, easy method to get started with Bitcoin as it was originally intended by Satoshi. Circle Invest, an app available on the Apple App Store and Google Play, has announced in a tweet the addition of BSV as one of its investment options.

After the contentions Bitcoin BCH hard fork that saw BSV reborn as the only Bitcoin to stick to the principles of what digital currency should be, Circle Invest announced they would suspend all trading of both sides of the fork until they could determine the viability of each coin. Ria Bhutoria, the lead analyst at Circle Research, wrote at the time that if there would be “strong market demand for BCHSV, major exchanges and wallets could eventually roll out support for it.”

That strong market demand is clearly evident, as more miners have opted to stick with BSV. As the only coin that can massively scale on chain, and with 64MB blocks and bigger to come, it provides for low transaction fees and fast transactions.

This move to open investment for BSV gives Circle customers their 13th option when deciding on their crypto investments. As Dr. Craig Wright, one of the leaders in BSV development has noted, one of the primary goals at the moment is to continue to drive adoption. In doing so, Circle Invest customers with BSV in their portfolio can expect increased profits.

Investment is a great way to get started in investing in crypto; however, BSV is digital currency, as laid out by the original Satoshi Vision, and is meant to be used as such. Several wallets and exchanges are now supporting BSV. CentBeeHandCash, Electron Cash, Atomic and Guarda are now allowing users to store and send their BSV, while Raisex is the latest exchange to open up a BSV pair.

It’s getting easier every day to get started on using and owning BSV. As more businesses and end users recognize the potential and ease of use in BSV, it will continue to grow and fatten up those Circle Invest portfolios.

WESTBURY INVESTMENTS Makes History

Westbury Investments makes history, becoming the first ever real estate & property investments company to accept cryptocurrency

Investors and buyers will now be able to buy or invest in Real Estate & Properties using the digital currency.

London based Real Estate Investments company broke new ground this week by becoming the first ever Property & Real Estate Investments company to accept Cryptocurrency for investments in real estate.  Westbury Investments will now allow its investors and buyers to use digital currency as a mode of payment for buying properties in Dubai UAE for its ongoing projects in partnership with Dubai’s award winning & most emerging developer Samana Developers.

Westbury Investments move is a big boon to Cryptocurrency and Blockchain legitimacy. It also galvanizes Westbury’s reputation as a Real Estate Fintech pioneer.

With the aggressive emergence of innovative and reputable Blockchain platforms, UK has established itself as a major Fintech and Blockchain hub in Europe.

The new benchmark has been set by Westbury Investments and Samana Developers, taking advantage of a more secured and decentralised mode of payment, compared to the existing traditional methods, where initiating an international payment often involves the participation and involvement of multiple intermediaries and a complex system of procedures that results in long waiting times and expensive intermediary transaction fees.

The transparent and secure nature of the Blockchain makes it an incredibly effective solution in carrying out transactions of this nature. With analysts believing, that acceptance of digital currency as a mode of payment will become common practice in the near future for similar high net worth Real Estate & Property Investment transactions worldwide.

Westbury Investments in partnership with Samana Developers recently launched “SAMANA GREENS”, Dubai’s new upmarket master community. An affordable Dubai dream, located in the heart of Arjan within Dubailand which is also a prime location for Dubai Expo 2020. 30% of the Apartments were sold before the pre-launch due to an increasing demand from Investors around the world to invest in Dubai. According to the report issued by DLD’s Department of Real Estates Studies and Research, Q1 2018 saw a total of 9,092 sales transaction worth about $5.2 billion, 3,717 mortgage transactions worth over $8.3 billion, and 950 other transactions valued at $2.3 billion.

“Many people around the world have invested in cryptocurrencies, and a lot of these people are also the regular investors in the real estate and properties, So it makes sense to offer a digital currency as a mode of payment for property buying and investments providing utility to existing cryptocurrencies.”, said Asim Bhutto – Chairman Westbury Investments.

Asim Bhutto further added,  that reputable exchanges & digital currency wallet platforms which follow KYC and AML regulations, would handle the transactions at the time of payment.

Providing utility to digital currencies is a feather in the cap for United Kingdom, where Westbury Investments is headquartered, which is very quickly becoming recognized as the fintech capital of the world.

Imran Farooq, CEO of Samana Group of Companies, said: “As a developer with a futuristic vision, Samana Greens will be based on green building concepts. It is befitting to help the customers to give the freedom to choose their preferred mode of payments be it traditional payment methods or cryptocurrency which is gaining popularity every day.

Hasnain Bayar of Boom Media Network, PR and Marketing specialist in the Real Estate & Digital Currency sector who advised Westbury Investments officials to accept Cryptocurrency, is optimistic about the move. He asserts that accepting Cryptocurrency will give Westbury Investments a competitive advantage in the Dubai Real Estate & Property market, as investors in Cryptocurrency would be able to utilise their digital currency with this added utility.

Asim Bhutto is very optimistic about this innovative initiative and said, “With everything related to Westbury Investments & Cryptocurrencies , there is lot more yet to come”, Westbury Investments will be introducing similar mode of payments via digital currencies for its UK based Real Estate and Property projects, allowing both UK based and Overseas Investors to Invest in UK Real Estate market using the cryptocurrency.

About Westbury Investments

Westbury Investments is an independent Global investment management company with main focus to provide global coverage to our clients focusing on smart investment model to ensure long-term success. Headquartered in the heart of London, Westbury Investments specialises in offering a unique, bespoke service, matching carefully the needs of each individual client.

Visit: www.westbuyrinvestments.com

For all press & media inquires:

Please feel free to write to us:  (Kindly email the published links as well)

P: 0044 7907 969 754
[email protected]

Europe’s new tech ‘unicorn’ Revolut adds support for Bitcoin Cash

Europe’s new tech ‘unicorn’ Revolut adds support for Bitcoin Cash, Ripple

London-based alternative banking app Revolut’s plans to move forward in the cryptocurrency got a major boost, after the European company announced that it has secured a major injection of capital. With the new funding, Revolut said it will expand into other markets and introduce trading in Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Ripple (XRP) on its cryptocurrency platform.

In a blog post, Revolut said it has raised a Series C investment round of $250 million, putting the company’s total valuation at $1.7 billion. This, according to the company, makes Revolut “one of the fastest companies in Europe to reach unicorn status.”

Revolut’s latest funding round was led by the Hong Kong-based DST Global, with Index Ventures and Ribbit Capital also taking part. This is incredible growth for the startup that was founded in July 2015, offering services such as prepaid debit cards (VISA or Mastercard), a fiat currency exchange, peer-to-peer payments, personal loans, remittances, travel insurance as well as international money transfers.

Revolut celebrated its new financing by adding support to two new cryptucrrencies on its Revolut Crypto platform: Bitcoin Cash and XRP.

“We’re extremely proud to announce that we will be adding Ripple (XRP) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH), alongside the current Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC) and Ether (ETH),” the company said in a statement.

With fresh funding on hand, Revolut is also looking at expanding its workforce considerably over the next few months. The London startup is embarking on a hiring spree for developers and designers to help its plan “to scale the company globally.” Revolut plans to launch in the United States, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand this year.

At the moment, there are over 100,000 people who have signed up to Revolut’s waiting list, the company stated. The startup also has plans to add a new securities investment-based service in the pipeline.

“Revolut Wealth will be our next milestone, as we expand our services to allow our users to invest their funds into stocks, indexes and exchange traded funds (ETFs), alongside a variety of other financial instruments,” according to the company.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
Couple behind $17M BTC investment scam in the Philippines arrested

Couple behind $17M BTC investment scam in the Philippines arrested

Philippine authorities arrested a couple accused of using the popularity of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to scam dozens of would-be investors in the country, local media outlets reported.

The couple, Arnel and Leonay Ordonio, allegedly scammed 50 people into investing in SegWit-Coin BTC (otherwise known as Bitcoin Legacy or Core) in 2017. Police said the Ordonios convinced their victims to invest in a company called “NewG,” promising a 30% return on their investments every 15 days. The couple amassed an estimated PHP900 million (US$17 million) from this scheme, according to police officials.

One of the victims said she had a hunch that she was being scammed when the couple started posting on social media that they will be unable to pay their investors. Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa told reporters the value invested in the company could rise as more victims are expected to come out of the woodwork.

The PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group has filed fraud charges against the couple, although authorities are considering upgrading Ordonios’ case to economic sabotage.

Cases of pyramid schemes continue to grow in the country with many people falling into these traps.The proprietors of the scheme gave investors an opportunity to create an “upline system”that promised huge returns.In these cases, investors were required to bring in other people in order to create ‘down lines’ and, in the process, increase their commission.

Countries like India, China, Japan, Australia among others have their own share of these fraudulent activities. Despite the efforts taken by authorities to curb these criminal activities, many investors end up losing their hard-earned money. From using celebrities photos to creating lucrative upline systems, criminals are working hard to earn from the cryptocurrency market.

However, efforts by the authorities around to have cryptocurrency regulated are not in vain. Unlike before,people are better informed on cryptocurrency and other blockchain-related activities and there are clearer regulations governing cryptocurrencies around the world, making it easier to bring scammers like the Ordonios to justice.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit-Coin BTC (inaccurately called Bitcoin Legacy or Core by many) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.
More people turn to cryptocurrency investments

More people turn to cryptocurrency investments, deVere poll finds

A poll conducted recently by the deVere Group showed an interesting fact: More and more, people are turning to cryptocurrencies for investments and to expand their portfolios.

The survey carried out by deVere Group proved that cryptocurrency investments, as opposed to fiat investments, are becoming the go-to solution, a trend that will more than likely continue as cryptocurrencies gain more favor and the market becomes more stable.

In response to the question, “Would you consider, or are you considering, including at least one cryptocurrency into your investment portfolio?” 62% of people who have no current involvement in the market responded affirmatively, while only 26% said no. 12% said that they hadn’t made a decision.

When those that already own some stake in crypto were asked how they would be approaching investments this year, 71% said they will consider increasing the amounts while 25% said they wouldn’t. 4% of those polled indicated that they weren’t sure how they were going to proceed.

The 60% positive response for investments is a staggering number, according to deVere’s CEO Nigel Green.

“It underscores how, despite what many financial traditionalists have opined, that a majority of investors are now open to consider the opportunities that the likes of Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple could present,” Green said. While cryptocurrency investments are still subject to a high amount of volatility, there is a definite trend in the market that is moving toward more cryptocurrency trading.

Green added, “An increasing general awareness of cryptocurrencies and how they work, plus a growing sense that cryptocurrency regulation is now inevitable, are perhaps the main reasons why such a high percentage of people are now open to looking at the possibilities of crypto for their portfolios.”

By the end of 2017, the global volume of cryptocurrency markets had surpassed $50 billion. This was close to the average daily volume seen on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Given cryptocurrency’s relatively short life compared to the history of the NYSE, the figures show exactly how popular digital currencies have become.

The deVere Group was founded in 2002 and is a global independent financial consulting firm. The survey was given to 800 deVere clients from virtually every corner of the globe—the UK, Australia, the US, Switzerland, Hong Kong and South Africa are just some of the countries involved. The company currently controls more than $10 billion in portfolios and has over 80,000 clients around the world.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

Warning: phishing scams are stepping up their game

Google search results are being manipulated and fake websites are looking more and more like the legitimate ones.

As blockchain technology strides forward, it has not been spared of malicious, opportunistic entities looking to make quick bucks off investors. The cryptocurrency industry is particularly attractive—with users getting more active in online trading and storing their money in web exchanges, the potential incentives become worthwhile for predators. Initial coin offering (ICO) websites, trading platforms, exchanges, and online wallets are a primary target.

While there is a huge amount of money in the industry, security measures are also sophisticated, and its patrons are (somewhat) wiser. As such, stealing from tight defences requires equally sophisticated swindles—and this is exactly what scammers are on to.

A few months ago, crypto-investment platform Enigma’s followers were duped of 1,492 ETH (then amounting to close to $500,000) before the company launched their ICO after scammers spread Slack messages urging investors to visit a decoy website. Several users have lost money to phishing websites—sites that look like legitimate websites but are actually fake. If you use your credentials to log in through these scam websites, the thieves collect your password and clean out your accounts.

A report by Chainalysis outlines how rampant and utterly worrying cybercrime is, particularly on the Ethereum blockchain: “10% of Ethereum holdings marked for ICO investment lies in the hands of criminals. Chainalysis estimates that there have been approximately 30,000 victims of cybercrime on Ethereum losing on average $7,500 each.”

Much like an evolutionary adaptation race where the predator hikes up its tolerance of its prey’s defences, scammers are stepping up their game to prey on users as well. Scammers can now fiddle with Google results to put their fake website on top of search results, so they can lure people who are looking to log in to their exchange wallets. To complete their scheme, the fake website looks more and more like the legitimate ones.

As a countermeasure, it is best to verify and type in the web addresses of legitimate exchange websites and bookmarking them, instead of clicking at Google search results. To help the community out further, it is also important for users to report phishing websites to Google.

Warning: phishing scams are stepping up their game

Google search results are being manipulated and fake websites are looking more and more like the legitimate ones.

As blockchain technology strides forward, it has not been spared of malicious, opportunistic entities looking to make quick bucks off investors. The cryptocurrency industry is particularly attractive—with users getting more active in online trading and storing their money in web exchanges, the potential incentives become worthwhile for predators. Initial coin offering (ICO) websites, trading platforms, exchanges, and online wallets are a primary target.

While there is a huge amount of money in the industry, security measures are also sophisticated, and its patrons are (somewhat) wiser. As such, stealing from tight defences requires equally sophisticated swindles—and this is exactly what scammers are on to.

A few months ago, crypto-investment platform Enigma’s followers were duped of 1,492 ETH (then amounting to close to $500,000) before the company launched their ICO after scammers spread Slack messages urging investors to visit a decoy website. Several users have lost money to phishing websites—sites that look like legitimate websites but are actually fake. If you use your credentials to log in through these scam websites, the thieves collect your password and clean out your accounts.

A report by Chainalysis outlines how rampant and utterly worrying cybercrime is, particularly on the Ethereum blockchain: “10% of Ethereum holdings marked for ICO investment lies in the hands of criminals. Chainalysis estimates that there have been approximately 30,000 victims of cybercrime on Ethereum losing on average $7,500 each.”

Much like an evolutionary adaptation race where the predator hikes up its tolerance of its prey’s defences, scammers are stepping up their game to prey on users as well. Scammers can now fiddle with Google results to put their fake website on top of search results, so they can lure people who are looking to log in to their exchange wallets. To complete their scheme, the fake website looks more and more like the legitimate ones.

As a countermeasure, it is best to verify and type in the web addresses of legitimate exchange websites and bookmarking them, instead of clicking at Google search results. To help the community out further, it is also important for users to report phishing websites to Google.