The man who co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs says he was a victim of a bitcoin scam.
Legendary figure Steve Wozniak had seven tokens of the digital currency stolen from him by fraudsters. Today, those would be worth more than $70,000.
The fact that even somebody as well-respected throughout the technology industry as Steve Wozniak can fall for victim to a bitcoin scam shows just how tricky it can be to keep your cryptocurrency holdings safe and secure.
“The blockchain identifies who has bitcoins… that doesn’t mean there can’t be fraud though,” he told the Economic Times of India this week.
“I had seven bitcoins stolen from me through fraud. Somebody bought them from me online through a credit card and they cancelled the credit card payment. It was that easy!
“And it was from a stolen credit card number so you can never get it back.”
Bitcoin investors and exchanges are frequently targeted by thieves and hackers, with huge and even violent incidents of theft being reported in recent months.
As bitcoin transactions can’t be reversed, once the tokens are stolen you won’t be able to get them back.
These fears are what prompted the South Korean government to impose new regulation that prevents people from trading cryptocurrencies anonymously.
The Winklevoss twins, who briefly became bitcoin billionaires last year, have gone to extreme lengths to protect their holdings – printing off their private key, cutting it up and storing the pieces in banks around the US.
Wozniak, on the other hand, says he bought bitcoin as an experiment, and has now sold all but one of his tokens.
“I had them so that I could someday travel and not use credit cards, wallets or cash,” he added.
“I could do it all on bitcoin. I studied which hotels and facilities accepted bitcoin... it’s still very difficult to do so. I also tried to buy things online and trade bitcoin online.”
Bank of England governor Mark Carney made similar remarks about the difficulties of actually using bitcoin earlier this month.
“[Bitcoin] has pretty much failed thus far on ... the traditional aspects of money. It is not a store of value because it is all over the map. Nobody uses it as a medium of exchange,” he said.
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