When Wu Caizeng lost a 20,000-yuan (US$2,800) non-fungible token (NFT) to a phishing scam in September, he sought help on Twitter, where he publicised his thief’s public blockchain address. However, the anonymous nature that characterises much of the crypto world left him with no practical way to recoup his losses. “I’m so stupid,” he said in his post, chastising himself for clicking on a fraudulent link pretending to be from the official Twitter account of a game he played. “I made a super basic mistake.” Twitter cards, Apple’s AirDrop links, Discord messages, and even tokens on decentralised exchanges have all become avenues for crypto scams, which have become more frequent in recent years. Cryptocurrency thefts rose more than 500 per cent last year to US$3.2 billion, according to a 2022 crypto crime report from blockchain data platform Chainalysis. The problem is particularly acute in China, where Wu lives and cryptocurrencies are not protected by law, but many people are still trading related assets to avoid missing out on opportunities in the relatively nascent market. As a result, Web3 security companies have been cropping up promising to help people secure their blockchain-based assets.
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