I have been in quite the heated debate with my fellow cybersecurity professionals on LinkedIn regarding their perception that Bitcoin and cryptocurrency are only vehicles for cybercriminals. Yes, cryptocurrency is becoming a favorite among ransomware attacks and it is used by criminals to hide and move money in support of illicit activities. But I firmly believe that crypto is a tool that can be wielded for both good and evil, with the overall potential benefits outweighing the current misuses.
After a day full of interesting back-and-forth debate, one very smart colleague posed a simple statement that highlighted the need to first discuss the benefits of cryptocurrency. He stated “I'm not sure I know of any use cases that cryptocurrencies offer which improve things beyond current digital methods of using FIAT, beyond those which seem to benefit criminals”
I realized (albeit a little late) that most of the cybersecurity community audiences lack an understanding of the tangible potential benefits and therefore they only see the downsides.
So, I quickly offered the following list as an introductory primer for those in the cybersecurity world who might not see any positive use-cases for cryptocurrency:
- Extends banking and money services to those who would normally not have access, especially in developing or struggling nations Ex. savings and checking accounts, loans and micro-loans, protected/low-risk investments
- Saves money by eliminating middlemen-fees for purchase transactions and transfers. the 1.5%-3.5% for credit cards that merchants must surrender to accept credit cards
- Greatly reduces money manipulation by centrally issued entities, usually governments, in the form of devaluation due to massive printing
- Resists fraud, manipulation, and destruction from central control entities (ex. the fidelity of property ownership records for many types of assets – currency, homes, land, etc.
- Resistant to hyperinflation events
- Allows for the privacy of transactions, to restrict data to only those who are authorized (ex. data breaches, illegal tracking, etc.)
- Highly resistant to post-transaction tampering
- Capable of near-perfect audit records
- Allows micro-transactions, fractions of pennies for online and other payments. supporting the decentralized economies and digital services
- Transactions can capture tremendous meta-data, allowing for many new usages
- Wildcard: Can be used as part of automated digital contracts (automated and unbreakable) and Decentralized Autonomous Organizations which promotes trust in digital technologies
It is not intended to be a complete list, but I think it is a good start. In reality, each of these items could spawn a whole new discussion with levels of meaningful detail and examples.
What are your thoughts? Did I miss something important? I am interested to know what your personal perspectives are regarding cryptocurrency and cybersecurity. Please share in the comments.