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This is the third of a five-part series on cryptocurrencies as well as their uses benefits for the Second Amendment community. Read part one here. Part two is here.

By Rob McNealy

Many people stay away from crypto out of the fear of being scammed. That’s understandable, given the amount of crypto fear porn put out by the legacy media. The truth of the matter is, blockchains are very secure, as the encryption protocols that secure them are bank and military grade.

Most scams or hacks that have occurred around crypto are not from some fault or insecurity of blockchains, but rather involve social engineering or a third-party centralized exchange with poor security on their internal processes and systems. Other crypto problems involve poor key management, malware, and even user errors.

Social Engineering

Social engineering is when a person is manipulated into giving up important personal information which is then used by the hacker to access accounts or other information which is used to access accounts.

The best ways to combat these hacks are:

  1. Assume the worst about people until proven otherwise; be aware that hackers are lurking around, and most prominent crypto people and services have dozens of scammers attempting to impersonate them.
  2. Do not click on emails from unknown sources. Call the company back from their published contact methods to verify if you are concerned.
  3. People promising ‘get rich quick’ or fast cash schemes are usually bogus. Legitimate investments or projects won’t send unsolicited emails or spam you from anonymous accounts either.
  4. Keep separate devices for managing your crypto and for doing email/web surfing. If you are unable to do that, always keep your hardware wallets like Ledger disconnected from your device and turn off your web and browser extension based wallets like MetaMask while surfing.
  5. Don’t send strangers your crypto or your keys. If someone has a great offer for you but requires you to send them a fee or some crypto to them up front for you to take advantage, it’s a scam.
  6. Install an antivirus software and keep it up to date.
  7. Enable two-factor authentication on all crypto accounts and email accounts.
  8. Avoid all paid “signals”, forex or other “investing” groups. These groups are typically scams associated with illegal pump and dump schemes.
  9. Run from anything to do with “cloud mining” is usually scam. You can’t mine from your phone, or pay a stranger to “unlock” mining profits for you.
  10. Ignore groups that use MLM style marketing to promote investments, they are probably a scam or an illegal Ponzi

Centralized Exchanges

The largest crypto hacks have typically happened on centralized exchanges, usually foreign ones. That doesn’t mean that all foreign or small centralized exchanges are bad or riskier.

Americans often use foreign exchanges to buy crypto because new crypto projects aren’t big enough to be listed on American exchanges, so savvy investors looking for the next Shiba Inu or Dogecoin, have to go to off-shore exchanges that are willing to list newer crypto projects like TUSC.

The best way to protect yourself from scam exchanges is to remember the often-recited mantra: “no keys, not your crypto.” What that means is that when you send your crypto to an exchange, you no longer control the coins, the exchange does. The best advice is to never leave your crypto on an exchange, and always move it to a wallet which you control the keys to. That is the safest bet. Exchanges are the biggest target for hackers, and they can’t steal your coins if your coins aren’t there.

 

This is the third of a five-part series on cryptocurrencies as well as their uses benefits for the Second Amendment community. Read part one here. Part two is here.

Rob McNealy is an entrepreneur, 2A supporter and co-founder of TUSC, a 2A-friendly crypto payments and NFT project, and Krappy Art, an NFT and digital art collective. Rob lives in the Salt Lake City area with his wife, four kids and their ferocious guard doodle. You can listen to his podcast or follow him on Minds and Twitter.

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39 COMMENTS

    • Exactly. Crypto is a house of cards and NFTs are a straight up scam. Seeing TTAG shill this nonsense is disappointing.

      • Some of the coins are okay (not for investing, but if you need to use one for a temporary transaction) but most NFTs are scams now. Many are made from stolen art from the online art trading platforms.

        Someone at TTAG falsely heard that the government can’t trace these things and suddenly they’re tech experts, trying to repeat it to us.

    • +1 The only people who make piles of cash on it are those who got into it early on and hold significant amounts of coins, or are putting millions into it when the prices are lower and selling whenever they go up a bit, which is only thanks to the suckers who keep puting their savings into it and are giggling when they get a few grands return. Also most people seem to be oblivious that all the transactions are recorded and can be traced back to the individual, which is how the feds keep seizing tons of crypto, recovering stolen crypto and locking all kinds of people up. There will come a day, and it will probably happen sooner than later considering how strapped for cash the socialist US government is, that they will tax all those crypto gains people made or simply forfeit the assets just like they do with people’s cash etc. all the time. 🙂

      • Bitcoin was $28,000 12 months ago and it’s sitting above $47,000 now. How did gold and your 401K do in that time?

        TUSC went up 600% in that same time.

    • “The only winning move is not to play.”

      *Applause*…

      • LOL, I’ll try to remember that when I look at my multiple BTC holdings averaging $1,100 a coin. xD

  1. The previous article about using crypto to buy an NFT of a gay Asian guy on the cover of Recoil magazine for Gay Pride week got ratio’ed. Hard.

    Seriously- just stop.

  2. “he truth of the matter is, blockchains are”, fundamentally ALL ABOUT a scam.

    Think about it. Running a “high tech” resistance heater (a PC), doing nothing productive, to turn electricity into fools gold. Prog alchemy.

    Just buy a bridge. You can at least show someone what the scam was.

  3. Crypto can be great to be used like a money order. Keeping the coins in any account leaves you high and dry in case it is the Ponzi scheme it certainly resembles.

  4. 1. What does this have to say with guns?
    2. How much is this “entrepreneur” mcnealy paying to shill his crypto exchange on ttag?

      • This guy is a floor installer, not some who understands what a Poisson distribution is. Read the Bitcoin white paper by Satoshi. It involves undergrad-level math.

        • Feel free to disagree with my article, no problem. However, trying to discredit me by misstating my credentials is a Saul Alinsky level move.

          You don’t know what you are talking about.

  5. As someone said about investing yesterday, Don’t invest in something you don’t understand. If anyone wants to take the chance on Crypto, by my guest. Just do yourself a favor and get a solid education in how it all works, what the risks are and how to protect your assets.
    Exactly the same reason I don’t play the market and use a long established, successful investment firm with a good record of return on investment.

    • Apply that same logic to the US dollar and get back to us in a few years. If you only hold your wealth in dollars, you are losing value every single day.

      Also, no one said to be a fool and go all in on anything. I never tell people to invest in TUSC. I do tell people to invest some into Bitcoin long term.

  6. Steve Wynn (the Wynn Resorts guy) once candidly said in a broadcast interview, “the only way to make money in a casino is to own the casino.” My risk-o-meter assumed a new level of sensitivity after that interview. Can anyone logically argue that cryptocurrencies and casinos do not share similar characteristics?

  7. “The truth of the matter is, blockchains are very secure, as the encryption protocols that secure them are bank and military grade.

    Most scams or hacks that have occurred around crypto are not from some fault or insecurity of blockchains, but rather involve social engineering or a third-party centralized exchange with poor security on their internal processes and systems. Other crypto problems involve poor key management, malware, and even user errors.”

    hmmm…

    “The truth of the matter is, blockchains are very secure, as the encryption protocols that secure them are bank and military grade.

    False

    The truth is these are only as secure as the people coding them. There is no assurance of integrity for the people behind the scenes, nor any assurance that what they say is even close to true.

    “Most scams or hacks that have occurred around crypto are not from some fault or insecurity of blockchains, but rather involve social engineering or a third-party centralized exchange with poor security on their internal processes and systems.”

    Overall False

    1. 100% of all hacks “that have occurred around crypto” in terms of blockchains have been due to some fault or insecurity. The latest was in November 2021, more than $610 million, hackers exploited a vulnerability in Poly Network which is a platform that looks to connect different blockchains so that they can work together.

    2. Although some thefts have involved “a third-party centralized exchange with poor security on their internal processes and systems” – this little slight of hand wording and placement in the paragraph cleverly hides the fact that the “poor security on their internal processes and systems” involved the blockchain.

    3. Although some thefts and scams have involved “social engineering” that does not involve the blockchain directly there is purposely no method to ensure a two-factor authenticated transfer or transaction involving and based upon assurances of integrity of the people behind the transfer or transaction.

    ….

    notice how in this article the author once again brings up TUSC which is his own cryptocurrency. In one sentence he says “The largest crypto hacks have typically happened on centralized exchanges, usually foreign ones.” then he says “That doesn’t mean that all foreign or small centralized exchanges are bad or riskier.” – bit his own cryptocurrency is not listed on an American exchange but rather on an “off-shore” exchange. So now we have American exchanges, and foreign exchanges, the suddenly “off-shore” exchanges that he has not mentioned in terms of “hacks”.

    The author is first saying his cryptocurrency, TUSC, is not listed on American exchanges because its not big enough, then he basically says foreign exchanges are the most insecure, but not to worry because his cryptocurrency, TUSC, is listed on an “off-shore” exchange. Let me explain a little to you what “off-shore exchange” means in terms of cryptocurrency – it means a ‘foreign exchange’. All “off-shore” exchanges are foreign exchanges, but the author tries to somewhat obscure that by basically defining three broad ‘entity’ types of exchanges of ‘American’ and ‘Foreign’ and suddenly ‘off-shore’. And basically the author is saying his own cryptocurrency, TUSC, is listed on insecure foreign exchanges, his excuse for doing so is that its too small to be listed on an American exchange. Let me explain to you why newer or smaller cryptocurrency doesn’t list on Amercian exchanges and will list on ‘foreign exchanges’ – Although the size can matter (obligatory ‘thats what she said’ joke goes here), and newness has nothing to do with it, its mainly because the U.S. has started paying close attention to the fraud, scam, and theft that is rife in the cryptocurrency area and other countries have not started paying as much attention to it.

    • No slight of hand in the least. It’s nearly impossible for a small project to get listed on American exchange. It’s a chicken and egg thing. Also, I wasn’t telling anyone here to buy TUSC. My work in crypto projects is why I am able to write about the subject.

      I used TUSC as an example because I know my integrity and I am most familiar with it. The other three projects that I trust are Bitcoin Ravencoin, and Monero, as I personally know core devs from each of those projects.

      • Your article …

        hack, hack, hack, ’cause insecure exchange, user fault, user fault, user fault…

        American exchanges – can’t list on those ’cause too small
        Foreign exchanges – most insecure

        Oh but don’t worry ’cause TUSC is listed on an “off shore” exchange

        —–

        An “off-shore exchange” is a ‘foreign exchange’ but you throw “off-shore exchange” out there like its a separate type of exchange when it isn’t and somehow more secure than ‘foreign exchanges’ when an “off-shore exchange” is a ‘foreign exchange’.

        “Also, I wasn’t telling anyone here to buy TUSC.”

        exchanges get hacked, social engineering scams people, theft happens – but wait … TUSC is listed on an “off-shore exchange” so problems solved.

        Yes, slight of hand wording like I said. And you were not (directly) “telling anyone” to buy TUSC, but you were pushing TUSC and advertising it as somehow more ‘secure’ compared to the others because its on an “off-shore exchange” like “off-shore exchange” is a separate third type of exchange entity from American and foreign exchanges when in reality an “off-shore exchange” is a foreign exchange and foreign exchanges are more insecure.

        Like I said, slight of hand wording – and wording that screams “Buy TUSC!” without saying it directly.

        so… you double down with this now…

        “I used TUSC as an example because I know my integrity and I am most familiar with it. The other three projects that I trust are Bitcoin Ravencoin, and Monero, as I personally know core devs from each of those projects.”

        You don’t understand. Its not what you think of your integrity, or who you know and what you think of their integrity – its that the public at large doesn’t know anything of your integrity or the integrity of those others you know and the lack of a traceable path to verification of personal integrity substantiation. And why? Because you guys basically operate ‘in secret’, doing what you want behind the scenes and using a set of rules created to serve the cryptocurrency purpose with absolutely zero oversight that demonstrates your integrity beyond ” ’cause I say so”. All while pushing the blockchain as some sort of transparent accounting miracle when there is no one that can or will verify the integrity of the cryptocurrency decentralized system blockchain accounting with anything traceable to standards and consumer protection rules and what the consumer gets is ” ’cause we say so”.

        And just why are you most “familiar” with TUSC? Its because you founded it that’s why, and that means you have a financial interest in it and stand to gain the most from its widespread adoption.

        Then you want people to throw their money into your cryptocurrency TUSC or another in a decentralized system with no rules intercession points for consumer protection law or methods and no accountability except what the people doing the coding decides as how the blockchain should operate – in a type of system that gets hacked regularly and is rife with theft and scam.

        You might be a person of integrity and TUSC might turn out to be ok. But how do we know that? ’cause you say so? ’cause someone else says so? ’cause you know people? – that’s the very root of financial scams, a reliance on ” ’cause I say so” – and its why theft and scams are rife in cryptocurrency, because there are people stupid enough to listen to perfect strangers say ” ’cause I say so”.

        Yeah, a lot of slight of hand wording going on in your articles.

  8. Invest in things that are proven winners like precious metals, land, and ammunition. Like many other commentors here, I would suggest staying away from crypto.

    Those that have money to burn really should consider doing useful things with their extras. Things that help people. But of course, do as you will.

  9. This isn’t financial advise. However, i plan to buy Ethereum once it dips below $2900 and Bitcoin below $29k, Bitcoin might even go down to $16k. Those two are better than USD in the long run, given how much the FED likes to print money.
    NFTs are mostly scams and often stolen digital artworks by people that get booted from design websites once thier artwork is turned into an NFT by somebody else.
    Altcoins are mostly shitcoins. For every one that goes up, 100 go down.
    And you should be aware that Stablecoins are a scam, especially Tether. You cannot have $1 redeemable at par on demand that isn’t $1. We’ve seen it over and over again, last time it was money market mutual funds breaking the buck after the 2008 crisis.

    • A cartoon character (not to be confused with our idiot dacian) , Stan from SouthPark, can sum it up quite succinctly…. ” And, it’s gone “

  10. Ah yes, cryptocurrency…a cybercriminal’s best friend. Yeah that stuff is great for our economy/society. A way for criminals to get paid securely. Awesome.

  11. The level of ignorance here is shocking. Crypto is all about decentralization which I would hope everyone visiting this site would support. Not understanding something doesn’t make it bad.

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