Category Archives: Cryptocurrency

Cryptojacking Lets Strangers Mine Cryptocurrency With Your …

Theres something new to add to your fun mental list of invisible internet dangers. Joining classic favorites like adware and spyware comes a new, tricky threat called cryptojacking, which secretly uses your laptop or mobile device to mine cryptocurrency when you visit an infected site.

Malicious miners arent new in themselves, but cryptojacking has exploded in popularity over the past few weeks, because it offers a clever twist. Bad guys dont need to sneak software onto your computer to get it going, which can be a resource-intensive attack. Instead, the latest technique uses Javascript to start working instantly when you load a compromised web page. There’s no immediate way to tell that the page has a hidden mining component, and you may not even notice any impact on performance, but someone has hijacked your devicesand electric billfor digital profit.

The idea for cryptojacking coalesced in mid-September, when a company called Coinhive debuted a script that could start mining the cryptocurrency Monero when a webpage loaded. The Pirate Bay torrenting site quickly incorporated it to raise funds, and within weeks Coinhive copycats started cropping up. Hackers have even found ways to inject the scripts into websites like Politifact.com and Showtime, unbeknownst to the proprietors, mining money for themselves off of another sites traffic.

‘Theres no opt-in option or opt-out. Weve observed it putting a real strain on system resources.’

Adam Kujawa, Malwarebytes Labs

So far these types of attacks have been discovered in compromised sites’ source code by usersincluding security researcher Troy Murschwho notice their processor load spiking dramatically after navigating to cryptojacked pages. To protect yourself from cryptojacking, you can add sites you’re worried about, or ones that you know practice in-browser mining, to your browser’s ad blocking tool. There’s also a Chrome extension called No Coin, created by developer Rafael Keramidas, that blocks Coinhive mining and is adding protection against other miners, too.

“Weve seen malicious websites use embedded scripting to deliver malware, force ads, and force browsing to specific websites,” says Karl Sigler, threat intelligence research manager at SpiderLabs, which does malware research for the scanner Trustwave. “Weve also seen malware that focuses on either stealing cryptocurrency wallets or mining in the background. Combine the two together and you have a match made in hell.”

What complicates the cryptojacking wave, experts argue, is that with the right protections in place it could actually be a constructive tool. Coinhive has always maintained that it intends its product as a new revenue stream for websites. Some sites already use a similar approach to raise funds for charitable causes like disaster relief. And observers particularly see in-browser miners as a potential supplement or alternative to digital ads, which notoriously have security issues of their own.

Early adopters like the Pirate Bay have made a pitch to their users that the technology is worth tolerating. “Do you want ads or do you want to give away a few of your CPU cycles every time you visit the site?” Pirate Bay asked its users in mid-September. Most commenters on the feedback request supported in-browser mining if it reduced ads, but one noted that if multiple sites adopt the technique, having multiple tabs open while browsing the web could eat up processing resources.

The concerns run deeper among audiences unaware that their devices are being used without their knowledge or consent. In fact, malware scanners have already begun blocking these mining programs, citing their intrusiveness and opacity. Coinhive, and the rash of alternatives that have cropped up, need to take good-faith steps, like incorporating hard-coded authentication protections and adding caps on how much user processing power they draw, before malware scanners will stop blocking them.

Everything is kind of crazy right now because this just came out, says Adam Kujawa, the director of Malwarebytes Labs, which does research for the scanning service Malwarebytes and started blocking Coinhive and other cryptojacking scripts this week. But I actually think the whole concept of a script-based miner is a good idea. It could be a viable replacement for something like advertising revenue. But were blocking it now just because theres no opt-in option or opt-out. Weve observed it putting a real strain on system resources. The scripts could degrade hardware.

To that end, Coinhive introduced a new version of its product this week, called AuthedMine, which would require user permission to turn their browser into a Monero-generator. “AuthedMine enforces an explicit opt-in from the end user to run the miner,” Coinhive said in a statement on Monday. “We have gone through great lengths to ensure that our implementation of the opt-in cannot be circumvented and we pledge that it will stay this way. The AuthedMine miner will never start without the user’s consent.”

This course-correction is a positive step, but numerous cryptojacking scriptsincluding Coinhive’s originalare already out there for hackers to use, and can’t be recalled now. Experts also see other potential problems with the technique, even if the mining process is totally transparent. “An opt-in option…doesnt eliminate the problems of potential instability introduced by this,” Trustwave’s Sigler says. “When dozens of machines get locked up at a company, or when important work is lost due to a mining glitch, this can have a serious effect on a organizations network.”

And with more malware scanners on the alert, hackers will start to evolve the technology to make it subtler and more difficult to find. As with other types of malware, attackers can bounce victims around to malicious websites using redirect tactics, or incorporate Javascript obfuscation techniques to keep scanners from finding their script-based miners.

Still, the positive potential of in-browser miners seems worth the complications to some. “Im hoping that within a year well see even more evolution of this technology to the point where it cannot be abused by website owners who want to trick people into running these miners,” Malwarebytes’ Kujawa says. “But if it’s only associated with malicious activities, then it might take awhile for the technology to evolve to a place thats more secure, and for anyone to trust using it.”

Like so many web tools, cryptojacking has plenty of promise as an innovationand plenty of people happy to exploit it.

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Cryptojacking Lets Strangers Mine Cryptocurrency With Your …

Introduction to Cryptocurrency – CryptoCurrency Facts

Cryptocurrency facts takes a simplified look at digital currency like bitcoin to help everyone understand what it is, how it works, and its implications. On this site, we cover everything you need to know about:

As of 2017, cryptocurrency has been used as a decentralized alternative to traditional fiat currencies (which are usually backed by somecentral government)such asthe US dollar (USD).

For theaverage person using cryptocurrency is as easy as:

What is a cryptocurrency address?: A public address is a unique string of charactersused to receive cryptocurrency. Each public address has a matching private address that can be used to prove ownership of thepublic address. WithBitcoin the addressis called a Bitcoin address. Think of it like a unique email address that people can send currency to as opposed to emails.

The first decentralized digital cryptocurrency can be traced back to Bit Gold, which was worked on by Nick Szabo between 1998 and 2005. Bit gold is considered the first precursor to bitcoin. In 2008,Satoshi Nakamoto (an anonymousperson and/or group) released a paper detailing what would become Bitcoin.

Bitcoin became the first decentralized digital coin when it was created in 2008. Itthen went public in2009. As of 2017, Bitcoinis the most commonly known and used cryptocurrency (with other coins like Ethereum and Litecoin also being notable). Given thepopularity of Bitcoin as well asits history, the term altcoin is sometimes used to describe alternative cryptocurrenciesto bitcoin (especially coins with small market caps).

As of January 2015, there wereover 500different types of cryptocurrencies or altcoins for trade in online markets. However,only 10 of them had market capitalizations over $10 million.

As of September 2017, there were over 1,100 cryptocurrencies and thetotal market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies reached an all-time high surpassing $60 billion!

In other words, although the future is uncertain, cryptocurrency seems to be more than just a fad. Here in 2017 cryptocurrency is shaping up a growing market that (despite its pros and cons) is likely here for the long haul.

On this site, we explore every aspect of cryptocurrency. Simply choose a page from the menu,visitour what is cryptocurrency page for a more detailed explanation of cryptocurrency, or jump right in to the how cryptocurrency works section to start learning about transactions, mining, and public ledgers.

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Introduction to Cryptocurrency – CryptoCurrency Facts

Cryptocurrency Flash Crash Is Said to Draw Scrutiny From CFTC …

A popular digital-coin exchange isdrawing scrutiny from U.S. regulators over a June flash crash that erased most of the value in thesecond-largest cryptocurrency before traders had time to blink their eyes.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has requested information from Coinbase Inc. about a June 21 incident on its GDAX platform in which the ether digital token suffered a precipitous drop, falling to 10 cents from $317.81 in milliseconds before quickly recovering, said two people familiar with the matter.

Among the issues the agency is focused on is what role leverage might have played in the plunge, as Coinbase allowed traders to use borrowed money to make bigger wagers than would have otherwise been possible, said the people, who asked not to be named because the review isnt public.

The CFTC inquiry is the latest sign that federal authorities aregrowing worried about a market with scattershot oversight that has attracted big money. Coinbase, which says it has served 10.6 million customers and facilitated $20 billion in digital currency transactions, is regulated by various states through a patchwork system.

Its not registered with the CFTC, the main U.S. watchdog of currency futures. Coinbase doesnt allow traders to buy and sell derivatives, and firms dont typically fall under the regulators direct jurisdiction unless they allow swaps trading. Coinbase does hold licenses with financial agencies in dozens of states, as well as Puerto Rico, according to its website.

The CFTC sent San Francisco-based Coinbase a letter with a list of questions, including queries about margin trading, one of the people said. Coinbase began offering margin accounts in March, as it sought to attract institutional investors by providing them loans to amplify their bets. The company disabled the service after the June crash.

As a regulated financial institution, Coinbase complies with regulations and fully cooperates with regulators, the company said in an emailed statement. After the GDAX market event in June 2017, we proactively reached out to a number of regulators, including the CFTC. We also decided to credit all customers who were impacted by this event. We are unaware of a formal investigation.

CFTC spokeswoman Erica Elliott Richardson declined to comment.

Coinbases ether plunge was caused by a single $12.5 million trade — one of the biggest ever — that prompted selling by other investors. The decline triggered automatic sell orders from traders whod requested to bail on the currency if prices dropped to certain levels, and led GDAX to liquidate some margin trades.

While the drop was dramatic, it was also temporary. Computer algorithms quickly started issuing buy orders that drove prices back up to $300 within 10 seconds.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have surged this year. But regulators and financial executives are concerned that investors are inflating a bubble thats destined to pop. South Korea banned margin trading in bitcoin and ether Sept. 29 after China earlier cracked down on digital currencies. Last month, JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon likened cryptocurrencies to the infamous Dutch tulip bulb mania of the 17th Century.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has been grappling with how to police digital currencies. SEC Chair Jay Clayton warned lawmakers last week that initial coin offerings are probably full of fraud. The next day, the agency sued a company for misrepresentations tied to a bitcoin offering purportedly backed by diamonds and real estate.

One risk of allowing margin trades is that in a sharp market reversal, trading platforms could run into problems if investors cant repay the money theyve borrowed.

Thats what happened in January 2015 when the currency brokerage FXCM Inc. almost toppled after Switzerland shocked markets by letting its currency appreciate. When the franc jumped, FXCM customers lost more money than they had in their accounts, forcing the company to seek a $300 million bailout from Leucadia National Corp.

Coinbases GDAX had a margin funding limit of $10,000.To qualify, investors had to meet at least one of several qualifications laid out under federal law.

For instance, individuals can only trade with borrowed money if they have more than $5 million invested in various financial markets and are using their margin accounts purely to hedge risks. Individuals are exempt from the hedging requirement if they have more than $10 million invested. The rules are looser for institutional investors, such as hedge funds and corporations.

Last year, the CFTC sanctioned a different digital token market, Bitfinex, for allowing investors who didnt meet the $10 million threshold to make margin trades. Bitfinex also broke the law because it didnt deliver some bitcoins that investors had bought using leverage within a required timeframe, the CFTC said. Instead, it held the tokens in accounts that it owned and controlled, according to the regulator. Bitfinex agreed to pay $75,000 to settle the case, without admitting or denying the allegations.

Coinbase has suffered outages and other performance problems as its struggled to handle the surge in volume thats accompanied skyrocketing cryptocurrency prices. It has also faced a sharp increase in customer complaints. Almost 500 consumer grievances have been flagged about the company this year on a database maintained by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, compared with just six for all of 2016.

Coinbase and investors who use it to trade have piqued regulators interest in the past. In 2016,the Internal Revenue Service asked a court for permission to serve a summons against Coinbase, seeking records about taxpayers who have traded digital currencies.

It also has attracted prominent investors including Marc Andreessens venture capital firm and the New York Stock Exchange. In August, Coinbase received $100 million from a group led by Institutional Venture Partners, a Menlo Park, California-based venture capital firm.

With assistance by Nick Baker, and Matthew Leising

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Cryptocurrency Flash Crash Is Said to Draw Scrutiny From CFTC …

Cryptocurrency Alternatives to Bitcoin – due.com

When you think of cryptocurrency, chances are the first thing that comes to mind is Bitcoin.

By now, Bitcoin is something that most people are aware of even if they arent exactly sure what it is.

Accepting cryptocurrencies can make sense for your business, whether you sell physical goods or whether youre a freelancer. But using a cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange doesnt mean you have to go with Bitcoin.

In fact, there are a surprising number of cryptocurrency alternatives to Bitcoin.

One of the cryptocurrency alternatives to Bitcoin thats gaining a lot of ground right now is Dash. Thats because Dash is open source and very centered on privacy.

On top of that, there are low fees that come with Dash. To tell the truth, most cryptocurrencies are going to come with lower fees than what you pay with bank and credit card transactions. However, there are cases where its even free to send Dash.

Its also nice that Dash is an instant peer-to-peer cryptocurrency. You dont have to worry about it because payments are private, and instantly appear to the person on the other side of the transaction anywhere in the world.

Theres a reason Dash is one of the most popular Bitcoin alternatives out there.

One of the oldest cryptocurrency alternatives to Bitcoin is Litecoin. This cryptocurrency has been around for several years. Interestingly enough, even though it is capable of handling a higher transaction volume than Bitcoin, it still isnt as well-known.

Litecoin makes use of open source software and the decentralized network makes use of mathematics for security. Litecoin also comes with some cool features:

Due to its availability and other features, its no surprise Litecoin is on the rise.

Peercoin is one of the most potentially inflationary cryptocurrency alternatives to Bitcoin. Theres a lot that goes into rewarding miners and there is no upward limit to how many will be mined. Minting uses Proof of Stake for security in the network, which means that Peercoin security is not impacted the same way that Bitcoin mining is when it comes to Selfish Mining.

Its also worth noting that Peercoin is derived from Bitcoin. So if you have hardware that works with the Bitcoin network, it will also work with Peercoin.

This is great for mining, but it can also allow you to accept payment for more than one cryptocurrency without the need to use different networks.

The peer-to-peer technology used for feathercoin is designed to create borderless payments. One of the cool things is that feathercoin is somewhat unique among cryptocurrency alternatives in that it has a number of features to really bypass banking.

In fact, feathercoin is working on open source projects for ATMs and Point of Sale equipment. Right now, it can be cumbersome to use cryptocurrencies. In many cases, its hard to use cryptocurrencies in real world transactions that take place offline.

That might change if feathercoins projects come to fruition. Physical, laser-etched coins and access to the cryptocurrency easily at Point of Sale terminals and ATMs really set this digital currency apart.

When it comes to mining, Quarkcoin offers the opportunity to just about anyone with a CPU. It doesnt give the advantage to special equipment or server farms. So, if you are looking for a way to mine a little bit more, the Quarkcoin can help.

Like Bitcoin and cryptocurrency alternatives to Bitcoin, Quarkcoin is peer-to-peer. You can make payments directly to the person you want to, almost instantly. Plus, there is a high level of security with Quarkcoin. Were talking nine rounds of hashing, as opposed to one hash used by most cryptocurrencies.

One of the interesting things about Digitalcoin is that it is accepted by a number of businesses. Sometimes, it can be difficult to find someone willing to accept your cryptocurrency payment if it isnt Bitcoin or Dash. Digitalcoin offers stability as well, with a block rewards produced at a lower rate than many other digital currencies.

Digitalcoin, like other cryptocurrencies, is decentralized and secure. You can send and receive the currency anywhere in the world, and its free to use.

This is another of the highly private cryptocurrency alternatives to Bitcoin. Stablecoin is distinguished by the fact that the transactions are not only encrypted, but also untraceable. While this currency isnt quite as well-used as many others, it is working hard to move forward, especially in China. If this catches in China, which is a huge economy, it could grow elsewhere.

The essential question is whether or not you should buy cryptocurrencies with the idea of capital appreciation in mind. Do you buy (or mine) these cryptocurrencies in the hope that you can sell them on an exchange and make a profit?

There are those who look at the widely-accepted Litecoin and refer to it as silver to Bitcoins gold. But does that really make sense in the long term?

While it can be tempting to think of cryptocurrencies as investments, the reality is that they might not be solid. Sure, mine cryptocurrencies. But they might be most useful as mediums of exchange. They are inexpensive, and blockchain technology allows for almost instant transfer so its possible to set up a low-cost global payment system.

The real value might be in the way Bitcoin and the way cryptocurrency alternatives to Bitcoin are changing the way we think about money and do business.

Some of the more interesting blockchain developments are Ethereum and Namecoin.

Ethereum is interesting because it is at once a digital currency and an application layer. If you are hoping to get involved with smart contracts, one of the best choices is Ethereum.

The decentralized, open source Ethereum allows developers to create their own applications. This includes smart contracts, as well as token systems. The systems can be used as part of the smart contract process. Its possible to layer on the applications using Ethereum, which means that this blockchain development could change the face of business.

Namecoin is another interesting blockchain development. Namecoin technology isnt about currencies and money. Its all about decentralizing the Internet itself. Namecoin is about increasing privacy, resisting censorship, and improving the security of the infrastructure of the Internet. This is an interesting open source project that could change the way the Internet itself works.

Innovation in the way we see money and the way we do business are the main results of blockchain technologies. Bitcoin really brought the blockchain and cryptocurrencies into the mainstream consciousness. However, what comes next in terms of the way we conduct business on a global scale could be even more exciting.

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Learn BitCoin and master the world of cryptocurrency

It’s about time you learned how Bitcoin works.

Image: pixabay

By Team CommerceMashable Shopping2017-10-04 16:47:54 UTC

You may think youre too late to invest in cryptocurrency like Bitcoin and wear suits made of money but youre actually just in time.

Cryptocurrency has been growing in popularity, but only a tiny percentage (.01 percent) of people have gotten wind of how to make money from it. And thats not because that goal is out of reach. Those who know their way around cryptocurrency know that the high-risk investment has a huge potential for getting you up to your elbows in hundred-dollar bills. Not to mention, you dont have to worry about high bank fees or fluctuations based on government regulations.

Interested in being one of the .01 percent? The #1 cryptocurrency investment course can help you get there. Youll learn different buying strategies for making gains in the short, medium, and long terms and strategies for protecting the money you make. And since its not just about Bitcoin anymore, youll also learn which cryptocurrencies are worth investing in.

The course also gives you access to a private community of like-minded investors, so you can learn from others, get your questions answered, and get live updates on the market. Get the #1 cryptocurrency investment course for $15 here.

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Learn BitCoin and master the world of cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency boom stalls as regulators focus on ICOs …

The latest cryptocurrency boom is beginning to stall as regulators worldwide turn their attention to the initial coin offerings, which have driven a precipitous rise in the sectors market value reaching a high of $177bn (136bn).

The total value of the hundreds of tracked cryptocurrencies has fallen by more than 18% to $145bn since Fridays high, according to analytics site CoinMarketCap. The collapse seems to have been triggered by a ruling from the Chinese central bank that declared it illegal to raise money through launching new cryptocurrencies.

An initial coin offering (ICO) is a relatively recent innovation for cryptocurrency developers, and involves selling a number of cryptographic tokens to investors at the launch of the project. These tokens can represent almost anything, from another attempt to make a Bitcoin analogue to exclusive access to an app or service. They have been responsible for some big funding rounds: adblocking browser Braveraised $35m for its ICO, while an ICO for service designed to help ICOs raised more than $150m.

ICOs have even become popular enough for celebrities including Floyd Mayweather and Paris Hilton to jump on board. The hotel heiress has actually been involved in the area for more than a year, having met with the COO of prominent blockchain firm Ethereum in 2016.

Since the concept was first mooted, however, there have been concerns over its legality, with experts warning that selling a cryptographic token which entitles the holder to a share of profits in a business could be a violation of financial regulations.

Now, the Peoples Bank of China has confirmed just that. Individuals and organisations that have completed ICO fund raising should make arrangements to return funds, according to a joint statement from the bank, Chinas securities and banking regulators, and several other government departments.

Some experts still think the sector has hope. Zennon Kapron, director of the Shanghai-based financial technology consultancy Kapronasia, said he suspected regulators were putting the brakes on ICOs in order to better understand the phenomenon, but could ease off in the future.

Regulators globally are struggling to understand what ICOs are, what the risks are, and how to ring-fence and regulate them, he said. China, in many ways, is no different than the US or Singapore in saying: OK, we need to push back on these for now until we figure out how to deal with them. I think it will be slightly a temporary measure.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued its own ruling in July. While not as wide-ranging as the Chinese statement, it leaned in the same direction. The agency said: Depending on the facts and circumstances, the offering may involve the offer and sale of securities.

If that is the case, the offer and sale of virtual coins or tokens must itself be registered with the SEC, or be performed pursuant to an exemption from registration.

The SECs statement was prompted by the conclusion of its investigation into the biggest ICO failure to date, a 2016 experiment called the DAO which ended up losing millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies due to a bug in its software.

The SECs stance has also had a chilling effect on the creation of new ICOs in the US. At least two planned offerings have been put on hold as a result of the document. One, Harbour, said it was a pre-emptive action based on the projects conclusion that there is just too much uncertainty within our current model to forge ahead without some careful assessment and perhaps revision. Another, Protostarr, was cancelled after its chief executive was investigated by the SEC.

Those in the cryptocurrency sector believe a short period of overregulation will eventually be reversed as the merits of the technology become clear.

The initial coin offering is a new business model leveraging blockchain technology and it will remain, said Oliver Bussman, of the Switzerland-based Crypto Valley Association. This is not the end of the ICO absolutely not.

While some ICOs are unambiguously analogous to stocks and shares, many, such as those which offer resellable access to an application to the holders, are more novel, and may survive regulation unscathed.

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Cryptocurrency boom stalls as regulators focus on ICOs …

Almost Every Cryptocurrency Is Tanking Right Now | Time.com

If you’re still pondering whether or not to invest in cryptocurrency, this should help you make up your mind.

Almost every single cryptocurrency in the world is tanking right now. Bitcoin lost over 11% in the 24-hours before time of writing, Ethereum and Litecoin had plunged almost 20%, and Ripple nosedived 14%. Some, like EOS and Qtum, had lost almost 40%. Among the larger coins, only Tetherthe 19th largest cryptocurrency by market capwas holding out with a 3.2% gain.

Here’s how the top end of the cryptocurrency market looked as of 11:31 PM ET on Sept. 4:

So what’s behind the crash?

On Monday morning, China said cryptocurrencies had seriously disrupted the economic and financial order and outlawed Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)also known as token salesthe means by which funds are raised for a new cryptocurrency venture.

China’s ban hit the market especially hard in the immediate wake of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) warning against the legality of some ICOs, Tech Crunch reports.

The across-the-board tanking of cryptocurrencies also coincides with the latest provocative nuclear test by North Korea, suggesting traders are not betting on them as safe-haven assets in times of global turmoil.

Turns out it might be time to revert back to the old refrain: buy gold.

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Almost Every Cryptocurrency Is Tanking Right Now | Time.com

Opinion: That Floyd Mayweather-backed cryptocurrency is another sign of a bursting bubble – MarketWatch

Why Marketers Need to Pay Attention to Cryptocurrency — Now – Entrepreneur

Although the technology is relatively new, cryptocurrency is already making waves in multiple industries. In fact, there are some who argue that it will change the face of finance and marketing forever.

Related: From $100 Million to Broke to Betting It All on Cryptocurrencies

Despite its relative infancy, cryptocurrency has already impacted the marketing world pretty significantly, even as experts work to understand the risks and benefits involved. Here are some reasons you should be paying attention to cryptocurrency, as well as some explanations of this groundbreaking technology, to get you started on mastering it.

Before you dive into why cryptocurrency is important for marketing, you need to understand what it is in the first place.

Cryptocurrency is a form of blockchain technology, the technology that bitcoin and other distributed ledger systems are based on. Basically a gigantic ledger of transactions, blockchain is an open and shared database that operates in a decentralized network format. It allows users to transfer and add information to it anonymously, without security compromises.

In other words, cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin, is an anonymous financial system that employs blockchain technology to operate. Instead of using a credit card to pay for an item online, users can use Bitcoin or another form of cryptocurrency. And it’s getting pretty popular — in November 2016, the market capitalization of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies reached $13.8 billion.

Related: 5 Essential Podcasts for Entrepreneurs Serious About Cryptocurrency

It’s important to remember that many uses of cryptocurrency in advertising are still a few years away, as there isn’t much happening in this area yet. However, there’s no harm in being ahead of the trend.

The use of cryptocurrency might make it more difficult for marketers to collect the kind of data on consumers that often informs advertising strategies. In this regard, 86 percent of internet users have tried to remove or decrease their digital footprint online; and cryptocurrency will make this more possible than ever, because it will deplete the amount of consumer data available

Currently, it’s pretty easy to collect huge amounts of information on potential customers to attract leads. This is largely because the platform you use, like Facebook or Google, owns the data and sells it to you. Marketers can use this information to figure out audience segments, test which ads work better than others, predict customer behavior and more.

With cryptocurrency, however, many leads and buyer information will become anonymous, secure and encrypted — making it difficult for marketers to figure out who bought what, and how customers are responding to marketing tactics. Individuals will be in more control over their personal information, which could make it nearly impossible for marketers to gather it and design marketing strategies accordingly.

For these reasons, marketers need to start figuring out new ways to collect information to inform their strategies, if they want to keep up with consumer wants and needs.

One way marketers could navigate the potential lack of consumer data is by paying users directly for their personal information, to be allowed to market to them online, instead of paying the platforms they use.

Since the blockchain technology behind cryptocurrency means that no single entity can own or control networks, users will be in control. Cryptocurrency itself further complicates this picture, as businesses eventually will be unable to tell who bought what product or service. Companies may need to pay users directly for their information and for the opportunity to market to them, instead of platforms like Facebook or Instagram.

For instance, new social media platforms like 21.co and Steem (which has over 30,000 current user accounts and is growing) allows marketers to engage with users for the opportunity to get the purchasing and other personal information about them that would otherwise be unavailable due to cryptocurrency. Businesses have to do the legwork to reach out to users, and the users can then decide if they want to engage.

The tricky part here is that the average customer is going to want more compensation for his or her purchasing and other information than a platform might charge for that same information now. The plus side, however, is that if the customer allows you to access his or her information, that person is more likely to be interested in your brand.

We know that discussions on cryptocurrency involve a lot of hypotheticals, largely because we don’t yet completely understand what it’s going to do to marketing.

Related: 6 Cryptocurrencies You Should Know About (and None of Them Are Bitcoin)

However, although cryptocurrency may not affect your own business marketing model, it’s a strong representation for where digital trends are heading in the next few years. Even if the changes aren’t as dramatic as now believed, it’s a good idea to prepare and explore the potential of cryptocurrency so that you aren’t taken by surprise.

What are some other ways you think cryptocurrency might affect marketing in coming years?

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Why Marketers Need to Pay Attention to Cryptocurrency — Now – Entrepreneur

First He Beat Up His Girlfriend, Now He’s Selling Cryptocurrency With Paris Hilton – Daily Beast