Google has just released a comprehensive list of its most searched terms throughout 2018. Broken down categorically, we see unsurprising results such as ‘William Nylander and ‘Canada Post’. In the Consumer Tech category, we see ‘Bitcoin’ as the 2nd most searched term – behind only the wildly popular game ‘Fortnite’.
The significance of these results need to be taken with a grain of salt and a healthy dose of perspective, however. While it is encouraging to see that Bitcoin still remains a highly searched term, its use has greatly decreased towards the end of 2018. Many of the searches occurred during the massive bull-run, leading into Q1 of this year.
Here we can see a recent resurgence in interest – however far off it may be from early 2018.
Unfortunately, due to the rise in popularity over the past year, the public has gained just enough knowledge on Bitcoin to be dangerous. While many have gained a rudimentary understanding one what Bitcoin is, very few understand exactly how cryptocurrencies function.
This has led to a massive rise in Bitcoin related frauds and scams throughout Canada in 2018. Would-be thieves have taken notice of the situation, and have successfully exploited the public’s lack of understanding. A few short years ago, if presented with a scam, victims would be tipped off right away. They would recognize the scam because they would have never heard of Bitcoin. Today, in the same situation,victims have heard of Bitcoin, and they understand that it is a digital currency. Due to the knowledge of the growing acceptance of cryptocurrencies, they are routinely being ‘taken in’, thinking that scams are legitimate.
Some scams that have made the news this year are as follows:
- Computer Hijacking
- Small town communities have seen their computer systems hijacked and held ransom for payment in Bitcoin
- Unpaid Taxes
- Canadians receive phone calls from criminals posing as the CRA. The thieves then threaten legal actions for unpaid taxes, unless paid in Bitcoin
- Criminals contact victims with sensitive personal information, and threaten to release data such as browsing history, unless paid in Bitcoin
These are only a few examples of the various scenarios that Canadians have been battling with in recent months. Increased occurrences have recently prompted Edmonton Police to issue warnings on the matter.
With local police forces, alongside the Rcmp, issuing warnings in recent months, occurrences are obviously on the rise. If one thing is clear, it is that the general public needs a better understanding of cryptocurrencies. It is obvious at this point that the blockchain industry is here to stay. There needs to be more government-funded initiatives to educate people on how they work, and their role in our monetary system.