Cybersecurity is one of the most discussed topics among the global fintech community, and for obvious reasons as it’s one of the most important attributes of a tech company. While discussing new innovations or plans, such as Britain in their moves forward in fintech after Brexit, cybersecurity is typically one of the number one issues they address to the public. However, just how technologies and the internet have largely improved for the better over the past decade, so have malicious attempts to hack and scam users. For example, just recently fintech startup Paystack was scammed in Africa, when many students looking to take English placement exams to study abroad took fraudulent exams scammed out of exam fees. Now, the most popular crypto trading and investment platform Coinbase has been hacked for virtual currency. Reports state that these crypto looters stole $34,123 (€28,247.03) worth of crypto from a single user’s account, 38-year-old Virginia, US resident Ben. In an interview with Yahoo! Finance, Ben says that the currency is still missing from his account despite multiple appeals to Coinbase, and it doesn’t appear as if he will be getting assistance in obtaining his funds back any time soon. Not only did he file appeals with Coinbase, but also with “the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), lawmakers, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).”
Although Ben is one of the most recent to experience this tragedy, he is only one among dozens who have had massive amounts of virtual currency stolen from their Coinbase accounts. This may come as even more of a surprise since Coinbase is the world’s leader as a crypto platform, but they are far from the only one to experience hacking such as this among its users. According to Coinbase chief information security officer Philip Martin, “It has become harder and harder for people to protect their online accounts, given the amount of personal information that has become available to bad actors”. He added by stating that bringing awareness to the issue and education to users on how to better protect their online accounts is just one step in the right direction to help mitigate this problem. Not only is it devastating to see massive amounts of peoples’ life savings be ripped from them in an instant, but the US government has done nothing but fan the flames. Experts have claimed that the US has done little to compel platforms like Coinbase to strengthen their security measures and seldom do they properly respond to those in dire need of their help. As the industry continues to expand over the next decade, drastic cybersecurity measures must be taken for people to put more trust in the rapid popularity and adoption of virtual currency.