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Crypto Security in the Current Climate: What Today’s Investors Should Know


Crypto Security in the Current Climate: What Today’s Investors Should Know

Crypto users are faced with a near constant barrage of threats including widespread phishing schemes, targeted attacks from scammers impersonating friends & application support staff, malware crawling for improperly secured private keys, and speculative meme coins with a sole purpose to build market liquidity for early entrants to dump on retail investors. Thankfully, as attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated, those who aim to defend against bad actors are developing advanced tools to educate and protect consumers. Here are a few examples of the most common scenarios to protect yourself against, as well as how the crypto space is evolving to stay ahead of the curve.

It is important to understand the distinction between holding cryptocurrency on centralized exchanges and holding it in your own wallet through self-custody. The easiest way to get into crypto is to make an account on a centralized exchange and buy some tokens. However there is significant risk in leaving investments on a centralized exchange. Centralized exchanges often lack transparency in accounting and lead to traditional ‘web2’ style fraud as we saw with FTX collapse, which was echoed by the collapses of traditional banking institutions throughout the world. However, once a crypto user withdraws their tokens to their own self-custody wallet they are faced with the responsibility of avoiding phishing campaigns, protocol hacks, private key leaks, and more.

Phishing campaigns range from widespread campaigns to targeted attacks. Recently I have encountered malicious Google Ads which redirect users from legitimate websites to perfect clones which prompt the user to confirm transactions in their wallet which send all of their assets to an attacker. There are also scammers posing as benevolent actors warning users that an application they recently used has been compromised and they need to withdraw all of their funds immediately. The site the scammers send the user to looks identical to the application with which they are familiar, which then prompts them to confirm the same style of malicious transactions.

Even when users connect to legitimate applications, they are not safe from protocol vulnerabilities and accidental introduction of bad code through protocol updates. In the last year there have been network bridges and decentralized exchanges which introduced unaudited updates to their codebase which were soon exploited by bad actors, draining all the deposits of users.

An ongoing problem with crypto wallets is that transactions are impossible to decipher for the vast majority of users. People have become accustomed to clicking ‘confirm’ on opaque blobs of hex data, trusting that the application is telling them the truth. Wallets are starting to get smarter, and there are now tools people can install on their computers, or networks people can connect their wallets to which help filter out mistakes and hacks. The Shield3 RPC is a free tool that people can use to filter out common hacks and interactions with known bad actors (

Also, like many fields, AI is helping. Decentralized finance applications provide unprecedented transparency and data availability to train and adapt models for common mistakes by developers, attack patterns by bad actors, and penetration testing by benevolent hackers. For example, one can now visit a blockchain explorer, copy the code of a smart contract from a popular DeFi app, and paste it into ChatGPT, asking it to find potential ways the code can be exploited. One can also ingest all of the data about all smart contracts and transactions in existence, and identify patterns and transactions that lead to a major hack. Specifically, when someone is about to attack a protocol there are often a series of transactions where they create a new anonymous wallet using a private transaction service, like Tornado Cash, then prepare their wallet to exploit a protocol. Protocols can defend themselves by detecting these patterns and pausing the protocol before the exploit can take place, then implement fixes before unpausing.

However while this data is widely available, it is near impossible to understand for the vast majority of users. AI tools allow us to take the insights from threat analysis and detection tools and present them in language which is personalized and comprehensible to everyone, regardless of their level of technical sophistication. We can take highly technical audit reports and data streams and have large language models summarize the threat in any language, for any audience.

These tools allow us to both detect threats faster and more efficiently than ever before, and democratize access to the insights to make security and risk mitigation widely available.

About the author

Isaac Patka is a former electrical engineer in the semiconductor industry, turned crypto dev in early 2017; specializing in web3 security, DAOs, and experimental applications of blockchain technology. Isaac is an active contributor to open standards in the governance and security fields of web3. He entered the Ethereum space in 2017 by hunting bug bounties for experimental new smart contracts. Ever since then he has used his passion for accessible, transparent security to demonstrate both what can go wrong, and how to fix it. Last year he published a ‘white hat’ exploit of a popular smart contract framework that manages billions of dollars in the crypto space. Citation:

He also volunteers his efforts to help people recover from losing their private keys and access funds in leaked wallets. In addition, he collaborates with artists in their exploration and creation of crypto-native forms of art, often exploring collective creation, intellectual property, and ownership.

East asia's

Lessons to Learn from East Asia’s Response to COVID-19

The proximity of the likes of Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Vietnam to China, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, meant initial forecasts of the virus’s impact were grim. Both public and economic health looked certain to be under serious threat. Yet in stark contrast to much of the Western world, these East Asian nations appear to have the situation under control.

Few to no new cases are being reported here from week to week, while figures continue to spike daily in Brazil, Russia, and elsewhere. But how have they done it, and what can the West learn from East Asia’s handling of the outbreak?

A fast and decisive response

The crucial element in East Asia’s early response – and one perhaps missing elsewhere – was speed. Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Korea all acted swiftly to ban or quarantine incoming visitors. Smart test and trace programs and widespread public mobilization have further contributed to success in limiting the advance of the disease. Taiwan in fact began monitoring the health of travelers on the very day China announced the discovery of the virus to the world.

Lessons learned from previous health crises

Hong Kong suffered the most deaths outside of mainland China During the SARS epidemic of 2002-2004, while Taiwan had the world’s highest mortality rate. Both nations in particular were driven by a desire to do better if and when another virus struck.

Despite a fumbled state response, Hong Kong’s residents began wearing masks almost universally and distributing sanitization supplies to areas in need. The Taiwanese government meanwhile was far better prepared than it had been almost two decades earlier, with public movement quickly curbed and hospital capacity under constant review.

Resilient economies

Investors monitoring global markets with online brokers such as Tickmill may find encouragement in East Asia’s economic response. Taiwan, for example, resisted a full lockdown, meaning that economic activity, while still stunted, has not suffered to the degree it has elsewhere. Residents have stayed at home more than they otherwise would but are buying online while continuing to work. In Hong Kong meanwhile, life is returning to normal, with many public and private spaces back welcoming visitors. Success in containing the disease should provide a more stable foundation for economic recovery.

Takeaways for the West

There are important lessons for the West to take away should another disease spread in the future.

Countries will need to strengthen the medical supply capacity closer to home while working with producers to find ways to plan ahead, respond quickly, and save lives. East Asia’s response has also demonstrated the potential of digital strategy and how, in the context of a pandemic, it can monitor and protect society en masse.

How Millennials Are Changing The Investment Game

Millennials are on the verge of becoming big players in the investment field.

Baby boomers, according to Forbes, are about to pass an estimated $30 trillion in assets down to millennials within the next few years. This generational transfer of wealth gives millennials many options on investing — starting with the investment firms they choose.

Understanding millennials’ mindset on investing and, just as importantly, learning their personality traits, preferences and dislikes, are crucial to any investment firm seeking to help them allocate their assets. For starters, millennials’ approach to investing is distinct to previous generations, and they handle money and choose the people who they entrust with that money very differently, too.

Those factors will have several ramifications for how assets are allocated in the next three, five, 10, 20, and 30 years. That’s why discovering how to connect with millennials so that they feel confident enough to trust you with their funds is critical.

How do millennials differ from previous generations, including their investment approach? Here are some revealing distinctions:

They’re more entrepreneurial. Whereas their parents, baby boomers, valued job stability and scaling the corporate ladder, millennials are more inclined to build their own businesses and take greater financial risks. They’re confident that even if they lose some money, they can earn it back — facts firms should consider as they approach this generation and brainstorm investment solutions.

They’re wary of Wall Street. After the Great Recession, many millennials were forced to take on student loans because their parents couldn’t afford college tuitions. So if they’re not entirely warm to the idea of Wall Street, what do millennials trust? Where do they see themselves putting the $30 trillion they’ll one day inherit? This group of investors favors commodities and options and they’re also more likely to put money in exchange-traded funds than their baby boomer parents.

They’re impassioned about helping the world. Millennials want to serve a greater purpose to humanity. This common trait has given rise to the concept of “impact investing” — intentionally putting money in companies or organizations that offer a financial return but also contribute funds toward creating a positive social or environmental impact.

They often don’t trust advisors. According to a study, 57 percent of millennials don’t trust advisors, believing they’re in it more for self-serving purposes than for their clients’ best interests. What they want is someone who wants to build a relationship with them and works toward gaining their trust.

So knowing how millennials and their investment thoughts are unique, how should investment firms navigate this young crowd of investors and best position themselves to reap the business of this generation, both today and in the coming years? 

Create trust and be transparent. Investment firms can build a foundation to better serve the millennial generation by fostering relationships, customizing your advice, and being clear about fees. For example, millennials, unlike baby boomers, prefer flat fees over commission-based pay models; that’s what they’re most familiar with through the advents of Uber and Netflix.

Explore technology. Millennials like technology but they also like simplicity and convenience. Look for ways to leverage technology to make experiences simpler, more self-serving, and more convenient for millennial users. Robo-advisors and digital investment content platforms and tools are just the start of the options available to explore. If they find it inconvenient or complicated to do business with you, they’ll do it with someone else.

Be a great communicator. While technology and self-service drive them, millennials also appreciate a human touch in the investment space, meaning a hybrid of tech and human would be the ideal mix for them. Find out how your millennial client likes to communicate — by text, email, messaging via a digital investment content platform, or on the phone. And when you are communicating, remember to be an advisor, not a dictator. Millennials appreciate insight, but they still like to be the one controlling decisions that impact them.

Use data to customize recommendations. Track clients’ online activity to gather data about them and use this in conjunction with their personal preferences to send them customized investment ideas, alerts, and recommended products.

It comes down to this: Millennials and baby boomers are as different as rotary phones and text messages, and newspapers and podcasts. And they’re just as varied in their viewpoints of success and allocation of material wealth.

Therefore, if advisors truly want to stay relevant in the investment game, they’ll have to work hard to build rapport with this generation and show good will to retain them as clients both currently and into the future.


Gui Costin (, author of the No. 1 Bestseller Millennials Are Not Aliens, is an entrepreneur, and founder of Dakota, a company that sells and markets institutional investment strategies. Dakota is also the creator of two software products: Draft, a database that contains a highly curated group of qualified institutional investors; and Stage, a content platform built for institutional due diligence analysts where they can learn an in-depth amount about a variety of investment strategies without having to initially talk to someone. Dakota’s mission is to level the playing field for boutique investment managers so they can compete with bigger, more well-resourced investment firms.