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OSPAs webinar on crypto-currency

Crypto-currency offers another way of doing things – and the prospect of crypto wiping out cash ‘bungs’ and counterfeit cash. But it will require the authorities to catch up with the criminals, the latest OSPAs thought leadership webinar heard, writes Mark Rowe.

That was what some security people in the field of crypto told the 135th OSPAs thought leadership webinar this afternoon. While the weekly or twice-weekly webinars, set up and chaired by the criminologist Prof Martin Gill, of Perpetuity Research, are always worth their three quarters of an hour or so, for their critique of issues, real world and cyber, by informed people from across the English-speaking world, this one was particularly so, on a subject that most of us – not ever having used or seen a crypto-currency – are ignorant of. Quite apart from whether we need to know about crypto-currency professionally – will it become part of business, or has it already? – there’s the risk to any personal investor, from the get-rich-quick scam side to crypto, as a new form of asset.

The question is, as the American consultant Mike Gips set out, do you trust the system? Because – here he quoted approvingly the American IT security thinker Bruce Schneier – before you talk about security, you talk about trust, which underlies security. With crypto, we are talking about blockchain; and networks have single points of failure. If a crypto-exchange gets hacked, you lose your ‘wallet’ password. If you wallet gets hacked …. you are out of luck. Mike said that his biggest concern with crypto is that ‘there’s no back stop’.

That said, Mike does not oppose crypto: “It certainly appears to be here to stay.” He, and fellow speaker Aidan Larkin, of Asset Reality, pointed to the shortcomings of the real world, paper currencies; that are used in fraud and money laundering and other crimes, in the trillions of dollars each year.

Martin Gill’s final question was; who’s going to lead, in the regulating of crypto-currency? A speaker from Singapore, Peter Tan, suggested the crypto-exchanges. Aidan said that we’re already seeing big banks (and the implied regulation) moving in, and footballers are being paid in bitcoin; what could be more respectable?! In sum, then, crypto is coming to the high street, the same as the internet did.

Background

Aidan Larkin’s Asset Reality recently became a part of a professional network covering crypto forensic fraud investigations, asset tracing and recovery. Visit https://www.assetreality.com/.

About the webinars

The next webinar is on Thursday, August 26; about Kenya’s security sector. Winners of the 2021 Kenya OSPAs will be announced after the webinar. You can sign up to the webinars for free at https://theospas.com/thought-leadership-webinars/. You can also listen to past webinars, which date back to March 2020 and the first covid pandemic lockdown.

More in the October print edition of Professional Security magazine.


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