Cryptocurrency exchanges shutting their doors for customers out of the blue still seems to be a norm in the maturing industry. Whether it’s a major hack or a blatant exit scam, users aren’t able to access their money.
Hence, it is extremely challenging to decide what trading platform you should trust and what security measures you should take in case of a black swan event.
One might say that you have to stick with the market leaders, but even such juggernauts as Binance are not immune to hacks. On the other hand, there are fledgling exchanges, such as CoinDeal, but traders and investors have no idea whether it can be trusted.
Fortunately, we’ve decided to come up with a list of possible red flags so that you can steer clear of numerous bad actors in that space and choose the best exchange.
Managing cold wallets
Part of the reason why cryptocurrencies are so valuable is rooted in transparency – everyone can track a certain transaction on the Blockchain.
However, not all exchanges want to be open about operations. Thus, they try to obfuscate transactions by not revealing the addresses of their wallets.
In such a way, the exchange can artificially increase its trading volume, which is a very common problem within that industry (according to a Bitwise report, more than 95 percent of all exchanges report fake volumes to get more exposure).
Reputable exchanges in the like of CoinDeal make the addresses of their cold wallets available for public.
Keeping funds online
One should also find out what percent of the exchange’s funds is kept in cold wallets. CoinDeal, for instance, stores 98.6 percent of its crypto offline, which means that only 1.4 percent of crypto is at risk.
Another pertinent question is who controls the wallet. QuadrigaCX was one of the top stories of the year after the users found out that their money was gone along with the exchange’s CEO who singlehandedly controlled the wallet prior to his unexpected death.
CoinDeal’s cold storage is controlled by five shareholders, and it takes three of them to conduct a transaction.
No verification requirements
The days when you could trade large amounts of crypto anonymously are gone and forgotten. All top exchanges require you to confirm your identity before withdrawing a substantial sum of money.
If the exchange has very loose verification requirements, it has a good chance to be a top destination for thieves and fraudsters.
Of course, bad actors will stop at nothing to increase their withdrawal limits. Apart from a plethora fakes, CoinDeal claims that it had to deal with numerous situations when they would receive IDs from elderly people who are not likely to trade (sorry, Peter Brandt).
In order not to let scammers execute trades on the exchange, CoinDeal takes additional security precautions, such as a video interview.
Lack of 2FA
When it comes to protecting your exchange from hackers, the rule of thumb is to enable two-factor authentification (2FA). After entering your username and password, you are also required to know a unique code that is either generated by an authentification app of your choice or sent as an SMS.
While CoinDeal claims that none of its users got hacked because it takes 2FA very seriously, it’s worth noting that there are still some caveats. Users should be aware of SIM-swapping scams that are prevalent in the US. Fraudsters cajole phone operators into obtaining your SIM card and receive your confirmation code.
Poor customer support
Lastly, if the exchange doesn’t have robust customer support, it means that it doesn’t care enough about its user. You should stay away from such platforms unless you are willing to wait for weeks to get an answer.
Hopefully, our readers will never fall victim to crypto thieves after taking into consideration all the aforementioned recommendations. Remember that one reckless decision can cost you a fortune, so choosing a reliable exchange in the likes of CoinDeal is a must, not a whim.
In case you see any red flags, you should immediately do your due diligence and move your money from the exchange in question if necessary.