How do you know if someone made it big in cryptocurrency? You probably never will, given the secrecy that now surrounds the lucky few who invested early in digital currency and are now reaping the rewards. Those who are loud and proud about their crypto wealth are only flaunting it as a marketing tool to advocate for cryptocurrency, the way Peter Saddington – crypto investor / CTO of a start-up that offers auto histories of used cars, and moderator of the crypto forum The Bitcoin Pub – did when he purchased in broad daylight a 2015 Lamborghini Huracan for $200,000. He even recorded and uploaded the entire purchase on YouTube. So far, the video has been seen more than a million times.
But not everyone wants to announce their overnight wealth. The people who prefer to keep everything quiet are those who know that with great wealth comes great responsibility. That responsibility is mainly to keep all that crypto money hidden lest hackers or thieves – both online and offline – try their hand at taking the digital money crypto owners sort of didn’t work hard to have, but are now working doubly hard to hide. There are perks and problems that go along with being crypto rich. See if you’re ready to experience both.
The benefit: You can buy anything you want
For some reason, the be-all and end-all of crypto purchases are Lamborghinis. It is the hallmark that you’ve made it, according to the unspoken rule among crypto investors and enthusiasts. The New York Times stated that Lamborghinis are “the single acceptable way to spend money in the Ethereum cryptocurrency community.” Though true blue crypto investors prefer to hold on to their digital coins, this internal regulation does not seem to apply when the compulsion to own a Lambo takes over.
Pietro Frigero, the general manager and dealer principal at Lamborghini Newport Beach in California, attests to the power these four-wheels have over the minds and hearts of usually logical crypto investors. Frigero claims that sales of Lamborghinis increased at the same time the value of Bitcoin went to a high of $19,000. Frigero’s dealership accepts payments in Bitcoin. When the price of bitcoin fell in January this year, Frigero was surprised that three Lamborghinis were still purchased via cryptocurrency.
The disadvantage: You can be an easy target for criminals
The possibility that a crypto owner’s life may be in danger is directly proportional to the amount of crypto wealth he or she has. This fact has prompted Ian Grigg, a cryptographer, to tweet: “Never ever ask someone how much crypto they have, or what crypto they have. Lives are now in danger.” Grigg’s statement can unfortunately be proven by a few cases where cryptocurrency owners, due to the massive wealth they incurred from investing in digital currency, were abducted and requested ransom from. Some even had their crypto wealth stolen.
For one, Pavel Lerner – the CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Exmo Finance – was kidnapped and only released when he paid the $1 million ransom demanded from him. Meanwhile, an anonymous owner of ether worth $1.8 million was robbed by armed individuals.
The benefit: You can safely secure your massive crypto wealth
There are many ways to keep digital coins safe and secure. One owner embedded an encrypted vault within a video file but later converted to a pocket-sized hardware wallet called the Ledger Nano S – an efficient way to keep keys hidden even when it is plugged in a computer that is internet-connected.
Another way to securely store crypto is by putting it in digital cold storage where numerous individuals would be required to access it. According to Jameson Lopp, a BitGo engineer and a victim of a swatting attack by “angry crypto fans”, paper wallets with split keys that have an algorithm or storage assets in multi-signature addresses are recommended.
The disadvantage: You become paranoid
A crypto owner, having heard of the threats some of those within the community experienced, admitted that he became “quite paranoid”. A day doesn’t go by where he does not think of the possibilities that could happen to him or his wealth. Some owners are taking precautionary steps to avoid being victimized. Some refuse to provide their real names or any details that would identify them publicly. One owner, Lopp, even went as far into studying hand-to-hand knife and firearm combat. Those who have high profiles in the crypto world might even have to hire their own bodyguards just to ensure they can move around securely and peacefully.