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Fourth Annual Cyber Security and Digital Forensics Conference Explores Cryptocurrency

by Janelle Hill May 4, 2021

What exactly is cryptocurrency, and how is it used? 

Two experts broke down the basics of the digital currency during DeSales’ Fourth Annual Cyber Security and Digital Forensics Conference. 

Christine A. Hoffman, acting Gloucester County prosecutor and assistant attorney general, and Scott Donlan, a sergeant in New Jersey’s Division of Criminal Justice, explained the ways in which cryptocurrency is both used and misused. 

“When people hear virtual currency, they always assume it’s money,” said Hoffman. “But it’s really just in the name; it’s a medium of exchange. When you look at the IRS guidance, cryptocurrency is not treated like ordinary income. It’s treated like a capital gain or loss.” 

Donlan added that in 2010, 10,000 bitcoins were traded for just $30. Today, they’d be worth more than $571 billion. It’s no surprise then that the IRS has its eye on cryptocurrency and is working to track down those who are trading but not reporting it. 

“There are so many different cryptocurrencies out there,” Donlan said. “Right now, we have over 7,000 different cryptocurrencies with a market capital of over $2 trillion. So, this is not going away any time soon.”

While anyone can buy cryptocurrency through an exchange or ATM, there are some important considerations to be aware of. Perhaps the most critical—once you make a transaction, there’s no going back. That’s why Hoffman and Donlan urge users to document all transactions and to conduct transfer tests before sending any cryptocurrency. 

“If you mistakenly send it to the wrong place, there’s no way to get it back,” Hoffman explained. “It’s not like wiring to the wrong account. It’s over, and there’s nothing you’re going to be able to do.” 

DeSales’ Master of Arts in Criminal Justice (MCJ) and Master of Science in Cyber Security programs hosted the daylong virtual event. Other presentations focused on the current state of insider threats and the techniques that hackers use. Participants also were able to test out their hacking skills in the Pennsylvania National Guard Wi-Fighter Cyber Challenge, a hands-on digital forensics challenge. Mark your calendar for next year’s conference—Friday, April 29, 2022.