Chapter 8 Update: Bitcoin


The Netherlands American Chamber of Commerce of the Southeastern United States (NACCSE recently hosted Megan Burton, founder and CEO of CoinX ( to discuss the recent digital currency disruption and “Explore the Evolution of Bitcoin and What’s in it for You and Your Business?” The session’s description stated, “Bitcoin is an innovative payment network and a new kind of money that could change the future of the Internet, and have significant impact on politics and economics.” I discuss crypto-currencies (of which Bitcoin is just one of many, abet the most popular and well-known one) in Chapter 8 of the Managing Online Risk Book so I though Ms. Burton’s session could give us some helpful updates. She did not disappoint.

She began CoinX in 2012 prior to any regulation in the area at all. You may recall that Bitcoin was created with the idea that it would not be regulated – it is a currency without a country, and therefore without a government. Creators of Bitcoin wanted to keep it that way. This is one of the reasons Bitcoin creators because associated with a stereotype of anti-government technology-savvy rebels. But times have changed. Ms. Burton found her company, which she set up as a Bitcoin exchange, categorized as a Money-Service Business (MSB) under the US government. This has caused a number of changes for CoinX to continue to operate. She has enlisted an army of lawyers and compliance people – she joked that her compliance expense is higher than her total payroll – and is still in the process of sorting everything out. She has transferred the exchange service to the Netherlands and is now in the US listed as a software company. She also indicated that CoinX is looking at possibly becoming a bank to offset some of the confusion and vagueness of what the company actually does in regards to a crypto-currency.

After an overview of Bitcoin basics – what is is, who uses it, what does the Bitcoin market ecosystem look like, what are some of the concerns and risks related to using Bitcoins – she highlighted that “Bitcoins” actually has two definitions – one as a currency, but a second as a protocol – and it is the protocol that seems to be taking off with a number of new applications being developed to transfer assets using the protocol without a middle man for validation. One example she gave comes from a group of developers who came up with “ShoCard” for digital identity management. You can view the video introduction on YouTube at: More information about this identity solution can be found at their website:

Other highlights from the session:

Some other resources regarding Bitcoins and Crypto-Currencies are listed below. Do you own any? Have you transacted with any? What has been your experience or what are your concerns regarding this? Share in the comments below.


The Rise and Fall of a Bitcoin Kingpin

David Kushner, 08/27/2015


What is a Bitcoin?

Wall Street Journal, 04/12/2013


Oxford Dictionaries add “Blockchain” and “Miner”

Stan Higgins, 08/27/2015


A brief attempt at explaining the madness of cryptocurrency

Mariella Moon, 01/21/2015


Dodgecoin: The Most Stable Cryptocurrency?

P.H. Madore, 07/13/2015



Managing Online Risk Chapter 8 Add. Resources

Businesswomen Balancing Over Money

Currency and Campaigns

These are resources are to help you apply some of the concepts, best practices, and lessons learned from the content in each chapter. Most of them are in addition to what are already listed in the book and serve to complement the highlighted resources in the chapters. Post in the comments others that you would recommend.

  1. Interpol: Counterfeit currency and security documents
  2. American Banker: The Fine Art of Making Digital Currency Secure Video (Aug. 2014)
  3. Wired: Flaw in New ‘Secure’ Credit Cards Would Let Hackers Steal $1M Per Card (Nov. 2014)
  4. Securing Your Bitcoin Wallet
  5. Terrorists on Twitter (June 2014)
  6. Hacktivism: Means and Motivations and What Else?
  7. Political Campaigns Targeting You Online (Nov. 2014)
  8. IRS Guidance on Bitcoins and Crypto-currency

Managing Online Risk Chapter 8 Questions

Question Mark Key on Computer Keyboard

These questions are to help you apply some of the concepts, best practices, and lessons learned from the content in each chapter. You can use them in individual reflection, or present them to your security team for group feedback and discussion.

If you haven’t bought the book yet go to our “Buy the Book” tab or click here:

Currency and Campaigns

Does your company provide online financial services or banking services?

  1. Does your company accept crypto-currency (i.e. Bitcoins, or others) for payment?
  2. What security controls are in place to protect these online financial transactions?
  3. Does your company use crowd funding, micro-lending, or other online fundraising mechanism? What security controls have been implemented to secure these transactions?
  4. Does your company get involved with online advocacy?
  5. Has your company been a target of hacktivism? What controls are in place to prevent it?
  6. Does your company do any politically-related activity online?

Chapter 8: Currency and Campaigns Summary

WCChap8This chapter looks at the risks associated with financial activity in the digital and online space by corporations including digital payment systems, digital and crypto-currency (Bitcoin and others), crowd-funding, online micro-financing, online investments, etc. The second part of this chapter focuses on one specific purpose of corporate spending through advocacy and digital campaigns (lobbying, charitable fundraising, etc.)