We've seen it before where users leave their funds on a crypto exchange only to have that exchange go bankrupt and the user's funds disappear. When you're signing up for an exchange, it's important to read the terms of service. Most of the time, we don't go over the details, we want to hop on the exchange and start trading or investing. But what many users don't realize is that when you agree to the terms of service, you also agree that if the exchange goes bankrupt, you give them ownership of your crypto.
We'll look at some of the most important factors to consider when it comes to keeping your cryptocurrency safe, such as the use of hardware wallets and the importance of not trusting exchanges with all of your cryptocurrency.
Hardware Wallets: The Best Way to Protect Your Cryptocurrency
A hardware wallet is one of the most secure ways to store your cryptocurrency. A hardware wallet is a physical device that stores your cryptocurrency offline, which is considerably more secure than storing it on an online exchange or in a software wallet. The Ledger Nano X and the Trezor are two popular hardware wallets, and It's my recommendation that before you buy any crypto, your first purchase should be a hardware wallet.
Hardware wallets are resistant to hacking and add an additional layer of security to your investments. They operate by generating a private key, which is a one-of-a-kind code used to access your cryptocurrency. Because the private key is stored on the hardware wallet rather than being transmitted online, it is far more secure than a software wallet.
Hardware wallets are not only secure, but they are also simple to use. There's a short learning curve, but just like anything else, once you've done it a couple of times, you'll get the hang of things. Hardware wallets are small and portable, making them simple to carry anywhere you go. They also have an easy-to-use interface that makes managing your cryptocurrency a breeze. I'd recommend that you don't get into the habit of carrying your hardware wallet everywhere, but rather you should find a safe place to store it where it can't be found by anyone but yourself.
Never blindly trust all of your crypto assets to an exchange.
While exchanges provide a convenient way to buy and sell cryptocurrency, keep in mind that they are not the most secure place to keep your funds long-term. Exchanges can be vulnerable to hacking and other types of cyber attacks, and there have been reports of exchanges being hacked and customers' funds being stolen.
Look no further than FTX for an example. If you're not familiar with the story, I'll summarize the situation briefly:
In November 2022, FTX, one of the most popular crypto exchanges, collapsed because of leverage and insolvency issues involving its slush fund/trading firm Alameda Research. The catastrophic collapse caused the crypto market to lose billions, falling below its bear market $1 trillion valuation. FTX faced a liquidity crisis and searched for bailout funds, with rival exchange Binance considering buying portions of the company, but ultimately backing out. The company's CEO Sam Bankman-Fried stepped down and FTX filed for bankruptcy, and it was later reported that the company may have been hacked by Sam Bankman himself, with hundreds of millions worth of tokens being stolen. The founder and ex-CEO of FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, was arrested in the Bahamas and extradited to the US, where he pleaded innocent to all criminal charges.
As of the date of this writing the FTX saga continues a result. You should never trust an exchange with all of your cryptocurrency. Instead, keep the majority of your cryptocurrency in a hardware wallet and only a small portion on an exchange if you are actively trading. This will help to reduce the likelihood of losses as a result of a hack or other security breach.
If you do decide to keep some of your cryptocurrency on an exchange, choose a reputable exchange with a proven track record of security. Look for exchanges that use advanced security measures to protect their customers' funds, such as two-factor authentication and cold storage.
Software Wallets: A Hardware Wallet Alternative
While hardware wallets are the most secure way to store cryptocurrency, they are not always the most convenient option. A software wallet, which is a digital wallet stored on your computer or mobile device, is another option.
Software wallets provide several advantages, including convenience and ease of use. They are also typically free to use and provide a variety of features, such as the ability to manage multiple cryptocurrencies and make quick and easy transactions.
It's also important to note, however, that software wallets are not as secure as hardware wallets. They are vulnerable to hacking and other types of cyber attacks, and if your computer or mobile device is hacked, your funds could be stolen. As a result, it is best to keep small amounts of cryptocurrency in a software wallet and larger amounts in a hardware wallet.
The golden rule of the investing game is diversification. Diversify your assets to de-risk yourself from losses.
Anyone who owns or uses digital assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum should be concerned about cryptocurrency security. You should protect your funds and reduce the risk of loss due to a hack or other security breach by using a hardware wallet and being cautious about storing your cryptocurrency on exchanges. While hardware wallets are not the most convenient option, they provide the highest level of security and are the most effective way to safeguard your cryptocurrency.