Transactions on the blockchain are immutable, which means it is tough for them to be reversed. The immutability of transactions on the blockchain makes it hard to navigate the chargeback process in the cryptocurrency space.
One company is tackling this issue. Chargebacks911 is working hard to modernise the chargebacks and dispute process in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Coinjournal sat down with the founder, Monica Eaton, to discuss in-depth how the company uses its platform to tackle this problem.
Question 1: What is the mission statement of Chargebacks911, and how is it working to achieve chargeback management in the crypto and web3 ecosystem?
Chargebacks911’s mission is to modernise the dispute and chargeback process – to simplify complexities by bridging the gap between legacy infrastructures and post-transaction data exchange. We provide an agnostic, data-driven solution that simplifies cumbersome workflows with intelligent, adaptive technology.
Chargebacks911’s platform supports merchants from any industry sector, all over the globe, including customers in 87 countries, powering many of the largest financial institutions. Our platform pioneered some of the first crypto enterprises, after launching our digital dispute resolution module in 2020. Similar to other alternative payment methods that don’t have an innate dispute workflow, Chargebacks911’s configurable interface offers a turnkey alternative to crypto platforms and their merchants worldwide.
Question 2: Are there various classifications of cryptocurrency scams i.e. those that target individuals, businesses, or other entities? Which one is the most prevalent, and which one is the most difficult to detect?
Scammers love it when their fraud schemes involve crypto because crypto payments are notoriously difficult to track and recover. Because this type of payment method is not regulated the same way as state currency, like the US dollar or the Euro, which also incorporates card payments that exchange in these currencies, such as Visa and Mastercard, there are vastly different protection rights and reporting policies. As a result, crypto scammers can more easily exploit loopholes, such as sending messages to social media sites, trying to build false relations with LinkedIn users, Facebook users and more, hoping to push victims into bogus crypto investments. While many crypto schemes target businesses, many more target individuals. For example, in June of 2022, the FBI warned that cryptocurrency fraudsters pose a ‘significant threat’ to LinkedIn users.
Because crypto is confidential and secure, there’s a growing concern that cryptocurrency could be used for illegal activities. After all, criminals covet anonymity. And unfortunately, there’s a growing number of ransomware attacks that rely on crypto payments from victims.
Crypto is new, so there’s a lot of misinformation and false assumptions about how it works. There’s a bit of a mystique about it. Scammers take advantage of the confusion by suggesting crypto investments that really don’t make a lot of sense — but only if you perform your due diligence and learn the subject matter. The onus is on you. If you simply take the scammer’s word for it, you’re going to be in a lot of trouble.
Question 3: How much did crypto investors lose to scam projects last year, and what are the ways they can protect themselves in the future?
In 2022, investors lost an estimated $680 million to crypto fraud schemes. And even though you’ll occasionally hear about a cutting-edge hacking attack, most scammers rely on ‘human engineering’ to exploit victims, which means they rely more on trickery than computer wizardry. Think catfishing more than hacking.
To stay safe, don’t invest in something that you don’t understand and haven’t thoroughly researched — including crypto. It’s a recipe for disaster. There’s enough risk and uncertainty in traditional investments; putting your money in something when you don’t know the rules, risks and danger signs will make it awfully difficult for you to protect yourself.
The digital currency landscape is still taking shape. Regulators need to ensure there is a foundation to safeguard consumers, much like the chargeback process works today – only more configurable. Without this protection mechanism, crypto will continue to face challenges in maintaining sustainable adoption and data integrity – arguably one of the largest barriers to mainstream growth.
Question 4: Transactions on the blockchain are immutable, which means they cannot be reversed. Does this mean that chargebacks will not be needed in the crypto space?
A blockchain is a permanent record of transactions in a shared, transparent ledger. The digital information is recorded and distributed within a network, but it can’t be edited or altered after the fact. The ledger is secure and protected. Because it’s decentralized, there’s not a gatekeeper who’s in control or a third party who can put their thumbs on the scales and corrupt the system.
Without blockchain technology, Bitcoin and cryptocurrency couldn’t exist. It’s the functionality that gives the crypto-concept life.
There’s a widespread belief that the current chargeback system is unfair to retailers, but without this protection mechanism, the idea of e-commerce would have been short-lived – not to mention the migration from cash to card, and beyond. Crypto doesn’t have chargebacks, which many retailers find very appealing. But keep in mind that the chargeback mechanism was put in place as a protective tool for consumers in 1974 because consumers were afraid of credit card fraud. Will our politicians try to create a chargeback rule for crypto in the future? If history repeats itself, time will tell. As it stands, today the buyer has very little recourse to recover their money if they were defrauded or swindled, and this is true for the seller of their crypto for exchange as well. The last word on crypto regs has yet to be written – policy surrounding this subject requires substantially more collaboration and domain expertise. As the saying goes, every problem presents an opportunity. Stay tuned for more…
Question 5: FTX and LUNA collapsed last year, leading to the loss of billions of dollars by both retail and institutional investors. What is your position on governments around the world tightening their rules against cryptocurrency companies following the FTX collapse?
China, Egypt and a few other countries have banned cryptocurrency, which will obviously limit where and what you can do with it. China is a huge marketplace, and its disavowal of crypto will limit its growth. But other countries have embraced crypto, including Ukraine, which is using crypto donations to help fund its struggle against the Russian invasion. Otherwise, you can use it as you’d use any other money — and exchange it for whatever product or service where it’s accepted.
The collapse of FTX has clearly damaged crypto’s reputation. Fair or not, it gave crypto a black eye and sullied its standing with the general public. Politicians are often hair-trigger sensitive to negative PR, so crypto-backers should anticipate an increase in government scrutiny.
Question 6: What will you tell companies looking to integrate fraud prevention techniques into their operations?
Measurables matter. Look, there are many horrible things about online fraud. But at least it’s something you can measure, which means you can test and see what actually helps you make — and retain — the most money and limit liabilities. Don’t take a fraud-prevention company’s word for it. Instead, have a ‘dashboard of metrics’ that are meaningful for your specific business model, and test the efficacy of your anti-fraud strategy. At Chargebacks911, we guarantee a successful, scalable ROI. Not all companies do.
Question 7: How does Chargebacks911 help companies prevent fraud and protect their consumers and investors?
Our software service suite offers a dynamic blend of modular capabilities — including advanced analytics, AI and machine learning — that seamlessly works behind-the-scenes to streamline processes and provide rich data feedback. By using Chargebacks911, clients can leverage greater business intelligence that dramatically helps improve decision-making with more effective efforts to achieve desired results. Chargebacks911 provides technology, data connections and services designed to help keep clients informed of the most relevant information. Our platform alleviates arduous workflows to help ensure dispute actions are timely taken, and related ongoing liabilities cease. It’s our passion to help clients position themselves for long-term, sustainable growth, extending technologies and connections that allow them to focus on their core competency with the confidence of our robust, back-office automation tools.
Question 8: Finally, what are the major trends you see playing out in the cryptocurrency market over the course of 2023?
Is crypto the currency of the future? Will it evolve into a universally-accepted currency that out-competes the Euro and the Dollar? Or will it remain a niche curiosity of dubious legality?
The strength of crypto — in particular, its decentralization, its independence, its privacy and its freedom — is also what makes it vulnerable to market volatility and government scrutiny. There are philosophical true-believers who believe in it as a matter of principle. They’ll continue to invest in crypto no matter what because they ideologically support the concept. But for everyone else who views crypto purely as an investment, it’s unclear what the future holds. It could go up. It could go down. More likely than not, it’ll go up and down repeatedly, over and over again, until the dust begins to settle and its utility is established. We still don’t know if crypto will become a ubiquitous presence in modern retail, or if it’ll be a shadow-currency that exists only on the periphery.
Historically, why has gold been so valuable? Why have diamonds been so coveted? Ultimately, it’s because we want them. Collectively, as a society, we value them. But it’s worth noting that gold and diamonds have a utility beyond just the financial: Gold is among our most-malleable metals, and the hardness of diamonds has numerous applications in industry. They’re not just valuable because they’re scarce; they’re valuable for what they intrinsically are. Crypto doesn’t have that. It doesn’t have external utilities.
Even during devastating economic depressions, gold and diamonds have always been worth something. They’ve never been worth nothing. Crypto could — potentially — bottom-out and be worthless. This volatility is what makes it such a compelling investment: You could make a fortune. Or, you could lose your shirt.
Keep an eye on inflation. If prices continue to climb, investors might be tempted to migrate to crypto as a way to offset unstable state currencies — and that poses serious cybersecurity concerns as well: When the COVID lockdowns forced millions of new consumers to rely on eCommerce and home deliveries, there was a stunning rise in cybercrimes. Inexperienced consumers make more mistakes and are more vulnerable to fraud schemes. If and when millions of inexperienced investors adopt crypto, the cybercriminals will certainly be waiting. It’s our responsibility to be ready for the challenge.