Has there been a better time to start trading cryptocurrencies? Well, yes – ideally any time prior to Bitcoin’s meteoric rise to a value of nearly $20,000 in late 2017, for instance, or at least during its resurrection in June 2019.
Image Source: CoinMarketCap
However, after a period of volatility throughout 2018 and relatively modest trading values come the turn of 2019, the crypto-climate is heating up, with the values of many digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum jumping over 200% in the space of six months.
The wildly erratic months following the widespread hype of Bitcoin have subsided into stable rises across the board, with industry experts expressing excitement for more joy among investors in the future.
Cryptocurrencies are, without a doubt, the most exciting financial development of the decade, but how can we be sure that we’re trading securely online? We’re becoming ever dependent on our smartphones, but instances of malware on handheld devices are increasing exponentially. With this in mind, here’s a short list of the measures you can take to micro-invest with confidence:
Padlock your accounts
However you choose to invest in cryptocurrencies, your account has to be as secure as possible. It’s imperative that any passwords you use are long, with a range of different numbers, characters and symbols.
Many investors are beginning to turn to password managers like KeePass and 1Password in a bid to utilize virtually indecipherable codes to keep prying eyes away.
Luckily, as a micro-investor using a mobile phone, you’re in a great position to enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for your device. 2FA works by establishing two security walls that users have to pass through before accessing their accounts. Sometimes 2FA can involve a website sending a code to a user’s associated mobile device or email address, and sometimes it can involve a one-time password generated every 30 seconds that must be used along with any stored account password in order to log in.
Keep on the lookout for malware
Have you checked your smartphone for malware recently? There’s a chance it could already be infected. Hackers have a habit of infiltrating devices long before they decide to act on it. You could have unwittingly downloaded malware weeks, months or even years ago.
The fact is that most Americans are far more concerned about having their personal details stolen than they are about being a victim of a violent crime.
With this in mind, it’s vital that you regularly monitor your smartphone for any suspicious signs. If you’re planning on doing something as sensitive as trading currency on your device, you’ll need to do so in the confidence that your transactions are entirely safe.
Premium software like Kaspersky Antivirus and Norton Antivirus can work wonders in bringing peace of mind as well as an effective defence against any unwanted programs running in the darkest depths of your device’s memory.
Make sure you pick the right wallet
Typically, investors have a choice of two places in which to store their currency: digital wallets or on exchanges. Storing your investments on an exchange is considered the least safe of your options – there are a lot of shady ones online and many are vulnerable to hackers. There’s also the issue of daily transfer limits if you’re looking to extract money. So with this in mind, let’s take a deeper look at our safety options when utilising digital wallets.
A cryptocurrency wallet is a secure digital wallet that enables users to save, send and receive currencies like Bitcoin. In fact, most digital currencies come with their own official wallet or a list of trusted third-party wallets.
Crypto-wallets are used to store your address and keys. In order to be able to send a cryptocurrency, you’ll first need an address to make yourself locatable.
There are four common types of wallets in the world of cryptocurrencies: Full blockchain node wallets, light wallets, paper wallets and hardware wallets. Full blockchain node wallets help to store your information on a cryptocurrency’s network, while a light wallet comes in the form of software that allows you to send and receive currency without having to download an entire blockchain.
(Image showing a number of blockchain wallet users. Image Source: Statista)
Paper wallets come in the form of a physically written keypair on a piece of paper, and can be used as a redeemable coupon in places.
Hardware wallets are by far the safest way to store your digital currencies. As the name indicates, a hardware wallet enables users to store their cryptocurrency externally and even offline – meaning that they can be entirely out-of-sight from would-be hackers. Services that run good hardware wallet programs include Ledger Nano S and Trezor.
Secure your network
To make sure your transaction process is wholly secure, it’s advisable to set yourself up on a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This should be considered essential practice for those buying and selling crypto using public WiFi spaces, or on otherwise shared networks.
A VPN helps to guarantee that your investments are safely stowed away from prying eyes, and services like IPVanish, Express VPN and Private Internet Access make for good premium VPN options for investors on mobile.
Your cryptocurrencies may be digital, but the risk of losing your fortune can be very real if you’re unfortunate enough to fall victim to hackers, considering the current state of the wireless industry. Recently we discovered that major US cell carriers are still selling real-time location data.
“The market is yet liable to multiple flaws – intermediary links, excessive expenditures and tech lagging,” says Petr Malyukov, CEO at Irbis Network (SafeCalls).
2019 has shown the clearest signs yet that the cryptocurrency markets are beginning to return to the heady days of late 2017 – don’t lose your precious investment to hackers.
Equities Contributor: Oleg Spilka
Source: Equities News