Imagine having your assets taken from you in the blink of an eye and having no recourse. That unsteady skittish feeling in the pit of your stomach echoing failure throughout your entire body – all you’re able to accomplish is to stare blankly at your computer screen in shocking amazement at the situation.
On March 5th, 2022 I was scammed out of everything I had ever invested or earned in the crypto space. Up until that very moment, I truly believed that I could never fall victim to a scammer or hacker. I felt immune because I had repeatedly told myself that a seasoned veteran like myself was way too knowledgeable to ever succumb to such things. But this wasn’t just the crypto space, this was NFTs, a whole different beast.
Nonetheless, when people would initiate their security measures, if I deemed them to be redundant or “too much”, I would not only scoff and pay them little mind, but I would also joke about the concept on occasion as well. Using a computer purchased solely for transacting?
Not connecting one’s ledger device to Metamask? Have more wallets than fingers? In hindsight, I just didn’t hold myself to the same research standards that I would preach. If I’m being honest I had also told myself that I’d seen it all before, but I was just being lazy too. I felt carelessly untouchable. The “know-it-all” who was primed for digital theft.
For some reason even though I knew what was at stake, I elected to remain nothing more than a baseless critic of these redundancies. After I had clicked on a bad link that I deemed was safe and from a trusted source, I accidentally allowed full access to my wallet and a scammer withdrew all of my valuable NFTs as well as charged me a “smack in the face” transaction fee to boot. I started nervously shaking and although it was cold outside, the sweat beading down my face would dictate otherwise. I felt hopelessly lost at that moment and for the first and only time I can recall, my mind went blank for a noticeable length of time. My mind was a barren landscape of pure nothingness. This eventually transitioned into distressed mouse clicks and fatuous sentence fragments, as I couldn’t bring my fingers to work the keyboard properly. After the tears stopped streaming down my face I ejected a heart-wrenching breakdown of nonsensical noises. I felt utterly alone in this, and there was nothing I could do and certainly no one to turn to for help. It felt as if I was the only witness to the biggest crime of the century and the only proof besides a few lines of code was my testimony. All of the police reports in the world couldn’t set things right and fairly soon after I found myself keeping my computer turned off for almost a month.
Once I had come to terms with the shock and returned to the space, I constantly dwelled on all of the advice from all of those people. All of those “I told you so” eating away at me. Why couldn’t I have just left my ego at home, especially when concerning real-world consequences? There’s no room for ego in any investment vehicle and that’s no different in crypto.
I couldn’t believe that everything that I had worked so hard to achieve over the past several years was gone in a “New York minute”. I momentarily had feelings of hatred for everyone and everything, but it was the hatred for myself that was most pronounced and lasting. The fact that I had to be one of those people fated to learn the hard way to truly appreciate a lesson, let alone learn it, was profoundly painful. All of those people with their specially curated protocols didn’t seem so redundant or funny to me anymore and all of those arbitrary mental barriers were gone, albeit too late.
The pain still stings and being reminded every day that I’m starting from zero certainly doesn’t help either. The only way I could manage to make myself feel any better was to share my story and that eventually led to my wanting to put pen to paper. There needs to be an ever-evolving and advancing understanding of security if you’re going to be involved in crypto and NFTs, and I cannot stress that enough. If you consistently update your knowledge base you’ll be that much more secure in your crypto endeavors because trust me, nothing hurts more in this space than retrospection after theft and disillusion.