Cryptocurrency investors have a lot to worry about these days. Not only has crypto-related cybercrime tripled over the last year, but prices have continued to drop, and many tokens picked up during initial coin offerings (ICOs) are turning out to be nothing more than scams.
A new Google Chrome extension aimed at detecting potential scams, however, is now available and should offer investors an added layer of protection, security, and peace of mind.
Sentinel Protocol’s Uppward Chrome Extension Is Here to Save the Day
Singapore-based Uppsala Foundation, have launched a Google Chrome extension called Uppward. The team behind the Sentinel Protocol are calling the new extension the “Search Engine for Secure Investing in ICOs.”
Uppward uses crowdsourced threat intelligence and data from Sentinel Protocol’s decentralized Threat Reputation Database built on blockchain to alert investors of phishing sites posing as legitimate ICOs, and to flag suspicious wallet addresses.
Visiting a scam ICO site could infect a user’s computer with malware, or encourage users to send funds to the wallet address of would-be scammers.
The project is the brainchild of Uppsala Foundation founder Patrick Kim, who had over 7,200 Ether – worth nearly $2 million at today’s prices – stolen due to a wallet vulnerability. Thus, Kim created the Sentinel Protocol, aimed at fighting back against potential cryptocurrency “scams, hacks, and thefts,” reports Forbes.
Scam ICOs: What the Data Says
While Uppward browser can help users spot potential risks while going about their daily browsing activities, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have been hard at work educating potential investors on ICO red flags. To demonstrate their point, the SEC went as far as creating a fake ICO website filled with warning signs of a scam, such as promises of wild financial returns.
The SEC’s stance, however, is warranted. A recent study conducted by research firm Satis Group found that as much as 80% of all ICOs were identified as scams. Another study from Boston College suggests that more than half of ICOs fail within the first four months on the market.
Industry Figures Believe ICO Days Are Numbered
What started as a positive, new way for businesses to crowdfund their projects, the ICO boom quickly turned into an all-out cash grab with little regard for investors.
Due to this, industry figures Jihan Wu, founder of crypto mining hardware powerhouse Bitmain, and Chris Concannon, president of CBOE Global Markets, have spoken out against ICOs in recent weeks.
Wu was quoted as saying ICOs are “unsustainable” and will eventually “just disappear.” Meanwhile, Concannon believes the ICO market is in for a “reckoning” that is two-fold. Concannon suggests that the SEC will go after “ICO market participants,” then will issue class-action lawsuits “against the teams behind ICO projects.”
Needless to say, the enthusiasm that once surrounded ICOs has all but dried up.
Featured image from Shutterstock.