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The Dark Side of Metaverse, Cryptocurrency & NFTs

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The Dark Side of Metaverse, Cryptocurrency & NFTs


Digital ponzi schemes promise high financial returns by exploiting breaches in the metaverse, cryptocurrency and NFTs.

Organisations that engage in a ponzi scheme focus all of their energy into attracting new customers to make investments.

Due to the lack of regulation in new technologies, fraudulent arrangements are premised on using new investors’ funds to pay the earlier backers.

Criminals are now using the metaverse, cryptocurrency and NFTs to scam investors.

What is a Ponzi Scheme?

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investing scam promising high rates of return with little risk to investors. A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investing scam which generates returns for earlier investors with money taken from later investors. This is similar to a pyramid scheme in that both are based on using new investors’ funds to pay the earlier backers.

Ponzi schemes rely on a constant flow of new investments to continue to provide returns to older investors. When this flow runs out, the scheme falls apart.

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The term “Ponzi Scheme” was coined after a swindler named Charles Ponzi in 1920. However, the first recorded instances of this sort of investment scam can be traced back to the mid-to-late 1800s, and were orchestrated by Adele Spitzeder in Germany and Sarah Howe in the United States. In fact, the methods of what came to be known as the Ponzi Scheme were described in two separate novels written by Charles Dickens, Martin Chuzzlewit, published in 1844 and Little Dorrit in 1857.

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In 2008, Bernard Madoff was convicted of running a Ponzi scheme that falsified trading reports to show a client was earning a profit on investments that didn’t exist.

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How to Spot A Digital Ponzi Scheme

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Regardless of the technology used in a digital Ponzi scheme, most share similar characteristics: 

  1. A guaranteed promise of high returns with little risk
  2. A consistent flow of returns regardless of market conditions
  3. Investments that have not been registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
  4. Investment strategies that are secret or described as too complex to explain
  5. Clients not allowed to view official paperwork for their investment
  6. The investment opportunity seems too good to be true 
  7. Customers facing difficulties removing their money

The Dark Side of the Metaverse

Harassment, assaults, bullying and hate speech already run rampant in virtual reality games, which are part of the metaverse.

Most of metaverse’s envisioned activity will have a financial aspect, and much of it will be unburdened by today’s technological, regulatory, legal and even logical/ethical constraints, opening the doors wide to an army of fraudsters, large and small crime cartels, and cyber criminals, thieves, spies, blackmailers, and every vice in between. Both legit players and every type of criminal under the sun is sure to try to exploit the obvious benefits of anonymity coupled with the luxury of enhanced presence and access, enabling crooks to cast their malign nets far and wide in search for victims – the naïve, uninitiated, old, and impressionable.

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Criminals will surely flock to the metaverse
, since it promises to be a rich source of potential recruits, operational capabilities and funds. The metaverse will expand the reach and impact of online recruiters, help them to fine-tune their message to optimise impact and help them press with accuracy every button in their targets’ psyche.

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State-sponsored and commercial intelligence outfits, including North Korea, and, of course, Meta, Amazon and Google, are already investing time and resources to learn about and probe the operational limits of the upcoming interface between reality and virtuality to collect more information about everyone and everything.

The Dark Side of Cryptocurrency

Scammers exploit the fact that so many people are still fairly unfamiliar with cryptocurrency aside from its supposed “get rich quick” potential. 

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Chainalysis reports that a single Ponzi scheme based in China by itself brought in at least $2 billion last year, which would make it one of the biggest ever. PlusToken was a cryptocurrency wallet service that promised users high returns if they used Bitcoin or Ethereum to buy the fake company’s own token, called Plus. An elaborate marketing campaign convinced more than three million people—the majority of whom were in China, Korea, and Japan—to invest by reaching them through the popular messaging platform WeChat, holding in-person meetups, and posting ads in supermarkets. 

In June 2020, Chinese authorities arrested six people alleged to have been behind the scam, but it appears that at least one still hasn’t been caught, since someone has continued to launder the funds and even cash some of them out.

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The Dark Side of NFTS

To buy your first NFT, you’ll need to sign up for a wallet that transacts on the Ethereum blockchain. MetaMask is perhaps the most popular Ethereum wallet for NFT collectors. However, MetaMask users were recently targeted in a phishing scam involving phoney advertisements that asked for users’ private wallet keys or 12-word security seed phrases (a big red flag). There are also fake malicious pop-ups operating via Discord, Telegram and other public forums that link to normal-looking login pages, such as MetaMask or other popular websites.

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Gameover_for_Crypto.png

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have exploded into a multibillion-dollar sector of the crypto industry in the last 12 months alone. Top collector’s items, such as rare pieces from the Cool Cats and Bored Ape Yacht Club collections, trade for upwards of $30,000 or more.

If five- and six-figure price tags seem like a lot for a JPEG, NFT creators have a one-word answer for you: utility. Because NFTs create an indelible digital record of your ownership on the blockchain (aka the same tech on which crypto is minted), owning a digitally tokenized piece of art can also serve as your membership ticket to exclusive online clubs, gaming communities, Discord chat rooms and interactive experiences.

Conclusion

Regulation is needed to protect the reputation of the metaverse, cryptocurrency and NFTs markets. 

It also protects investors from fraud, ensuring fair competition and a level playing field. Good regulation is also good for the tech industry.

The metaverse, cryptocurrency and NFTs are still revolutionary. Patience is needed as these technologies have the potential to change the world forever. 

Given the rapid rate of technological change, professional financial advisors skilled in cryptocurrency, NFTs and the metaverse are required. That way, investors can understand technological, financial and cybersecurity risks to make informed decisions.



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TECHNOLOGY

VMware unveils vSphere+ and vSAN+ to simplify operations with Centralised Infrastructure Management

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VMware unveils vSphere+ and vSAN+ to simplify operations with Centralised Infrastructure Management


VMware has launched VMware vSphere+ and VMware vSAN+ to help organisations bring the benefits of the cloud to their existing on-premises infrastructure with no disruption to their workloads or hosts.

Introduced at VMworld 2021 as a technology preview known as Project Arctic, these new offerings will help customers enhance their infrastructure by providing centralised cloud-based infrastructure management, integrated Kubernetes, access to new hybrid cloud services, and a flexible subscription model.

Krish Prasad, senior vice president and general manager for VMware Cloud Platform Business, Cloud Infrastructure Business Group, VMware, said: “VMware vSphere+ and VMware vSAN+ represent the next major evolution of those foundational solutions that customers know and trust.

“Wherever customers are on their digital transformation journey and in executing their cloud strategy, vSphere+ and vSAN+ will help accelerate their transformation by bringing the benefits of cloud to their existing on-premises infrastructure and workloads, along with simplified consumption via a flexible subscription model.”

VMware vSphere+ and VMware vSAN+ are an integral part of the VMware Cloud strategy to deliver consistent infrastructure with value-added capabilities across distributed environments. vSphere+ and vSAN+ will enable customers to activate add-on hybrid cloud services that deliver on key use cases for business-critical applications running on-premises, including disaster recovery and ransomware protection. Customers of all sizes will be able to consume new capabilities, security and product updates at a much faster pace and vastly simplify their operations—without making changes to their existing applications or hardware.

“The transformation of on-premises infrastructure with cloud services is an emerging modernisation trend that IDC is seeing draw significant interest from enterprises,” said Gary Chen, IDC Research Director, Software Defined Compute. “By enabling the ubiquitous datacenter hypervisor with cloud services, users will be able to onboard innovative capabilities that can be delivered immediately and fully managed from the cloud to address a broad range of pain points such as management efficiency, scale out Kubernetes operations, and DR. The future possibilities of this delivery model, such as with vSphere+ and vSAN+, are endless and can be a key tool for enterprises to modernise existing infrastructure quickly with minimal burden.”

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Under pressure to improve efficiency and productivity, infrastructure operations teams are seeking more efficient ways to maintain and protect infrastructure to support increasingly larger and more complex environments. In many instances, customers’ vSphere environments are distributed across siloed locations, edge sites, and clouds leading to operational complexity and inefficient maintenance experience.

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vSphere+ and vSAN+ provide a unified infrastructure management experience for these distributed environments via the VMware Cloud Console. The console features global inventory, configuration, alerts, administration and security status for on-premises deployments. Admins will be able to perform certain operational tasks directly from the VMware Cloud Console such as managing configurations and policies across their deployments. Additionally, customers will benefit from a vastly simplified lifecycle management experience through cloud-enabled automation of updates of on-premises infrastructure components. Customers will also gain from cloud-based remediation and configuration drift capabilities, including security checks to maintain compliance with corporate and regulatory requirements.

Developer teams are focused on modernising their applications and infrastructure to deliver better software to production, faster. Providing a single workload platform for running VMs and containers orchestrated by Kubernetes, vSphere+ will help transform on-premises infrastructure into an enterprise-ready Kubernetes platform. This includes providing a multi-cloud IaaS consumption experience for developers by extending the capabilities of VMware Tanzu Standard Runtime to enable developers to run and manage Kubernetes at scale with consistency and efficiency across on-premises, public clouds, and edge. The inclusion of VMware Tanzu Mission Control Essentials will provide customers with global visibility across their entire Kubernetes footprint and automate operational tasks.

Modern organisations require integrated and expanded cloud services to consistently bolster their security posture, quickly recover from disasters and site outages, and better protect against ransomware. With vSphere+ and vSAN+, customers will continue to use their existing investments, including toolsets and domain expertise, while benefiting from the expanded capabilities of VMware Cloud. Customers will benefit from protection workflows available as add-on cloud services directly integrated into their operating environment including VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery, an on-demand ransomware and disaster recovery service. New add-on cloud services are under development and are expected to be delivered in the future providing customers with a streamlined path to the cloud, should they choose to migrate down the road.

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