Don’t Get Caught Up in the FOMO: How to Stay Safe in a Crypto Frenzy

As the crypto markets heat up in 2024, a familiar cycle plays out – rampant speculation, frenzied trading, and skyrocketing prices stoke widespread mainstream adoption. This watershed moment arrives as traditional finance increasingly embraces crypto’s utility as an investment vehicle.

However, crypto bull runs also bring heightened risks around scams, hacks, and illicit behavior aimed at separating investors from their holdings. Well, here’s how to stay safe amid the FOMO and crypto market frenzy.

Understanding Crypto Bull Runs

A crypto “bull run” refers to an extended period of sustained price appreciation across major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others. This frenzy of buying momentum originates from excitement and adoption around blockchain innovations, sparked by major announcements like new institutional players entering the space, regulatory clarity, or revolutionary product launches. Growing demand causes prices to rapidly increase, further fueling FOMO (“Fear of Missing Out”) from more traders looking to jump aboard the rally.

While patterns differ, crypto markets have historically exhibited major bullish cycles around every 4 years in sync with Bitcoin’s constrained supply economics (aka halving). Previous super cycles include:

  • 2013: Bitcoin surges to over $1,000 after having traded for just cents for years. Kickstarted serious mainstream awareness.
  • 2017: Introduction of crypto investing vehicles like futures, increased institutional adoption, and the ICO boom saw Bitcoin peak around $20,000. Ether exploded higher as Ethereum smart contract utility emerged.
  • 2021-2022: Widespread integrations of NFTs, DeFi, the metaverse, and institutional rollout of crypto products drove new all-time highs for Bitcoin and Ethereum near $70k and $5k respectively.

The 2024 crypto bull run appears to be driven by macroeconomic factors like the adoption of cryptocurrency as an inflation hedge and store of value, the accelerated rollout of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), and the major outperformance of crypto allocations for large institutional investors like pensions and endowments. Innovations like Ethereum’s “Triple Halving” catalyst event and Bitcoin halving and Layer 3 scalability products further supercharge bullish narratives around unprecedented scarcity and utility.

Crypto Crimes During Bull Runs

While the investment opportunity and attention lavished on crypto bull markets represent a positive shift in mainstream adoption, they also unfortunately invite a deluge of opportunism from bad actors perpetrating hacks, scams, and other forms of cybercrime. Some supporting data includes:

  • During the 2017 bull run, illicit crypto activity from theft, scams, fraud, and money laundering grew by nearly 500%.
  • Losses from crypto hacks and exploits reached $3.8 billion just in Q1 2022, an all-time high.
  • An estimated $14 billion was extracted from crypto investors through scams in 2021, nearly doubling previous annual highs as bull markets intensified.

Essentially, crypto bull markets tend to act like bright shiny objects attracting unsavory groups out to capitalize on market fervor and investors moving fast without optimal caution. Inflows of new capital from retail investors unfamiliar with security best practices present ripe exploitation opportunities. Meanwhile, soaring token valuations raise the incentives and expected rewards for organized cybercrime gangs to launch sophisticated attacks systematically. Both factors create a perfect storm of elevated risk in a space lacking large swaths of oversight and regulations to mitigate abuse. Participants must take measures to insulate themselves from evolving threats.

Ways to Stay Safe and Secure

Recognizing the risks around crypto bull runs, users and investors can implement some crucial protective practices anchored in technology, education, and process controls:

Cybersecurity Hygiene: Adopting fundamental cybersecurity habits around cryptocurrency holdings like updating software, using hardware wallets for storage, deploying multi-signature authentication, enabling 2FA, running antivirus/anti-malware scans, and following password security hygiene is a basic requirement. Neglecting digital security acts like leaving a door open for skilled adversaries.

Due Diligence Research: Mainstream crypto excitement breeds get-rich-quick mentalities leading unsuspecting traders to fall for scammy giveaways, “rug pull” schemes, and false projects. Remember “Bitconnectttttttt?”

Thoroughly scrutinize new opportunities, including auditing verifiable open-source code and consensus mechanics, official paperwork, and founding teams of any investment targets. Stick to reputable blockchain ecosystems and known players.

Cold Storage Management: Rather than constantly exposing holdings to exchange and hot wallet risks, investors during bull runs should maximize the use of cold storage devices kept offline like Ledger or Trezor hardware wallets. Pair cold storage with incremental backups to secure mnemonic seed phrases. For major allocations, spread across multiple hardware wallets in separate physical locations to minimize points of failure.

Embrace Anonymity: Anonymous crypto transactions hide identities from bad actors looking to target high-net-worth individuals through phishing or other hacking attacks. Use anonymity networks like Tor to obfuscate connection origins, pseudonymous blockchain identities, and disassociated wallet addresses.

Update on Tax Requirements: Changing regulations around tax reporting will likely roll out during bull runs to adapt to heavy market volumes. Stay current on updated KYC/AML policies, capital gains taxation rules, reporting thresholds, and documentation mandates for exchanges and traders.

Personal Security Best Practices: Crypto bull runs tend to increase not only cybercrime, but incidents like home invasions, physical violence, and blackmail against holders. Standard personal privacy/security like disabling location sharing, avoiding public discussion of holdings, and general operational security (OPSEC) become vital.


For crypto enthusiasts, bull markets present exhilarating opportunities and also elevated dangers. Amid intense speculation and irrational exuberance, scams blossom as cybercriminals relentlessly probe weaknesses in code, custody solutions, user behavior, and regulatory frameworks to extract funds. Retail investors, who often become the collateral damage and catalyst fueling future market crashes when scams implode, must prioritize protective practices and skepticism as counterweights to rampant hype.

However, crypto bull runs also increasingly stress-test the surrounding security and anti-crime infrastructure underpinning blockchain ecosystems. Each cycle forces reckonings and triggers concerted efforts to address breaches through hardening mechanisms, crafting new defensive products, legislating protections, and ultimately achieving deeper resilience over the long haul. Even setbacks become instructive learning experiences.

Sustainable crypto adoption requires optimizing for integrity beyond just frenzied speculation and breathless price appreciation. By mutually reaffirming values around security and personal responsibility, investors, developers, and industry leaders cultivate a virtuous cycle strengthening decentralized systems to deliver on their emancipatory potential. Calibrating risk tolerance and protective practices to withstand the mercurial psychology accompanying bull markets clears the path for blockchain innovations to proliferate through all segments of society.