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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has also issued warnings. A May 2014"Investor Alert" warned that investments involving bitcoin might have high rates of fraud, and that investors might be solicited on interpersonal networking websites.175 An earlier"Investor Alert" warned about the usage of bitcoin in Ponzi schemes.176
The self-regulatory organization FINRA and the North American Securities Administrators Association have both issued investor alarms about bitcoin.177178
An official investigation into bitcoin dealers has been reported in May 2018. The U.S. Justice Department launched an investigation into potential price manipulation, including the techniques of spoofing and wash trades.180181182 Traders in the U.S., the U.K, South Korea, and possibly other countries are being investigated. Brett Redfearn, head of the U.S.
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The U.S. national investigation was motivated by concerns of potential manipulation during futures settlement dates. The final settlement price of CME bitcoin futures is determined by costs on four exchanges, Bitstamp, Coinbase, itBit and Kraken. Following the initial delivery date in January 2018, the CME requested extensive detailed trading information but several of those exchanges refused to supply it and later provided only limited information.
State and provincial securities regulators, coordinated throughout the North American Securities Administrators Association, are investigating"bitcoin scams" and ICOs in 40 jurisdictions.185
Academic study published in the Journal of Monetary Economics concluded that price manipulation occurred during the Mt Gox bitcoin theft and the marketplace remains vulnerable to manipulation.186 The history of hacks, fraud and fraud involving bitcoin dates back to 2011.187
Research by John M. Griffin and Amin Shams in 2018 indicates that trading related to increases in the amount of the Tether cryptocurrency and associated trading in the Bitfinex exchange account for about half of the purchase price increase in bitcoin in overdue 2017.188189
J.L. van der Velde, CEO of both Bitfinex and Tether, denied the claims of price manipulation:"Bitfinex nor Tether is, or has , engaged in any kind of market or cost manipulation. Tether issuances cannot be used to prop up the price of bitcoin or any other coin/token on Bitfinex. "190
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The Bank for International Settlements outlined several criticisms of bitcoin in Chapter V of the 2018 annual report. The criticisms include the absence of equilibrium in bitcoin's cost, the high energy consumption, high and variable transactions costs, the poor security and fraud in cryptocurrency exchanges, vulnerability to debasement (from forking), and also the influence of miners.191192193.
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The Economist wrote in 2015 these criticisms are unfair, predominantly since the shady image may induce users to forget the capabilities of the blockchain technology, but also due to the fact that the volatility of bitcoin is changing in time.194
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been identified as economic bubbles by eight Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences laureates, including Robert Shiller,195 Joseph Stiglitz,196 and Richard Thaler.19713 Noted Keyensian economist Paul Krugman wrote in his New York Times column criticizing bitcoin, calling it a bubble and a fraud;198 and professor Nouriel Roubini of New York University known as bitcoin that the"mother of all bubbles. "199 Central bankers, including former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan,200 investors like Warren Buffett,201202 and George Soros203 have said similar views, as have business executives such as Jamie Cloud Based Bitcoin Mining Dimon and Jack Ma.204.
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Bitcoin has been criticized for the amount of electricity consumed by mining. As of 2015update, The Economist estimated that even though all miners utilized modern facilities, the combined power consumption would be 166.7 megawatts additional info (1.46 terawatt-hours per year).133
In the end of 2017, the global bitcoin mining activity has been estimated to consume between one and four gigawatts of power.205 Politico noted that the even high-end estimates of bitcoin's overall consumption levels amount to only about 6% of the entire energy consumed by the international banking sector, and even when bitcoin's consumption levels increased 100 fold from the current levels, bitcoin's consumption would still only amount to about 2% of international power consumption.206.
To lower the costs, bitcoin miners have put up in places like Iceland where renewable energy is cheap and cooling Arctic atmosphere is free.207 Bitcoin miners are known to use hydroelectric power in Tibet, Quebec, Washington (state), and Austria to decrease electricity costs.206208209210 Miners are attracted to suppliers like Hydro Quebec who have energy surpluses.211 According to a University of Cambridge study, a lot of bitcoin mining is done in China, where electricity is subsidized by the government.212213.