- The value of the global cryptocurrency market is above $700 billion, but the industry is still lightly regulated.
- New cryptocurrency exchanges are growing rapidly worldwide, and many are at risk for cyberattack.
- It’s crucial that investors look for red flags when choosing a cryptocurrency exchange and do their homework on fees and security safeguards.
During the bitcoin frenzy at the end of December, Coinbase, one of the premier exchanges, halted trading briefly due to crushing volume as prices plunged. Many of Coinbase’s competitors also have suffered growing pains as digital money grows ever more popular, overwhelming systems and encouraging formation of new exchanges that have yet to stand the test of time.
And there have been hacks, too. A cryptocurrency exchange in Japan, called Coincheck, is under government scrutiny after hackers stole $530 million from its users in January. If confirmed, it’s expected to rank as the biggest such theft on record, eclipsing the estimated $450 million in bitcoin stolen from the Japanese exchange Mt. Gox in 2014.