Empowering the Freelance Economy

Gamers beware: £34.6 Million Stolen from Gaming and Metaverse in 2023

Photo by Matilda Wormwood (Pexels)
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A recent study reveals that gamers and metaverse enthusiasts lost a whopping £34.6 million to cryptocurrency scams last year.

  • Binance was the most targeted blockchain for scams in the gaming and metaverse sector
  • February is the third worst month for cryptocurrency scams, with an average loss of £623 million
  • December takes the top spot for stolen funds, with a staggering loss of £821 million

Cybercriminals are infiltrating these increasingly popular platforms, targeting your hard-earned digital loot. The report, compiled by Smart Betting Guide and the REKT Database, paints a concerning picture. While the total cryptocurrency losses due to scams reached a staggering £1.3 billion, the gaming and metaverse sector bore the brunt of 2.5% of that figure.

How are crypto scammers operating?

Phishing scams, where they trick users into revealing sensitive information, and fake virtual exchanges within the metaverse are just a few of their cunning tactics. They also exploit vulnerabilities in gaming platforms to steal in-game assets and currencies.

Other issues may include fraudulent NFT projects, where scammers create fake projects within the metaverse and sell them for an inflated cost or exploit vulnerabilities in gaming platforms to steal in-game assets and currencies. 

The latter is particularly concerning, given many gaming companies allow players to purchase games with cryptocurrency, including GameStop, Microsoft, and Best Buy.

Here are some tips to stay safe:

  • Be wary of “too good to be true” offers: Whether it’s an NFT project with unbelievable returns or an in-game item at a suspiciously low price, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Do your research: Before investing in any project or platform, take the time to research its legitimacy. Look for independent reviews and check the team’s credentials.
  • Use a secure wallet: Store your cryptocurrency in a secure wallet, ideally one with multi-signature support for added protection.
  • Report suspicious activity: If you see something fishy, report it immediately to the platform’s support team.

Crypto and Innovative Payments in the Metaverse and Gaming

A 2023 PayPal study revealed fascinating statistics on the connection between metaverse users and innovative payment methods like cryptocurrency. Compared to just 62% of non-users, a whopping 75% of metaverse participants use cryptocurrency. This preference extends further, with 50% of metaverse users owning NFTs and 23% actively engaging with DeFi products. These figures highlight a significantly higher affinity for cutting-edge financial tools within the metaverse community.

However, pinpointing specific data on crypto use within traditional gaming purchases proves to be more challenging. Despite this, existing research hints at strong interest from gamers. A 2022 Newzoo report revealed that 23% of global VR/AR users fall between the ages of 25-34, a demographic known for embracing crypto adoption. Additionally, the massive popularity of crypto- and NFT-centric games like Axie Infinity during 2021 serves as a powerful indicator of the potential in this domain.

It’s crucial to note that actual crypto usage within gaming and the metaverse varies considerably based on several factors.

  • The platform itself plays a vital role, with some like Decentraland being built around crypto, while others offer it as an optional payment method.
  • Individual user preferences also come into play, as not all crypto-aware individuals prefer using it for such transactions.
  • Traditional methods like credit cards remain prevalent. Finally, local regulations and varying degrees of accessibility for acquiring and using crypto further impact adoption rates across different regions.

Looking beyond pure gameplay purchases, a 2023 survey by Exploding Topics revealed that 60% of gamers have ventured into the metaverse for non-gaming activities. This statistic suggests that crypto usage could potentially extend beyond traditional in-game purchases, expanding its reach within the metaverse as a whole.

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