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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 media websites.175 An earlier"Investor Alert" warned about the use of bitcoin in Ponzi schemes.176
The self-regulatory organization FINRA and the North American Securities Administrators Association have both issued investor alerts about bitcoin.177178
An official investigation into bitcoin traders was 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 Dealers 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. federal investigation was motivated by concerns of potential manipulation during futures settlement dates. The final settlement price of CME bitcoin futures contract is determined by costs on four exchanges, Bitstamp, Coinbase, itBit and Kraken. Following the initial shipping date in January 2018, the CME asked extensive detailed trading information but a few of the exchanges refused to provide it and later provided only limited information.
State and provincial securities authorities, coordinated throughout the North American Securities Administrators Association, are investigating"bitcoin scams" and ICOs in 40 jurisdictions.185
Academic research published in the Journal of Monetary Economics concluded that cost 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 at least 2011.187
Research by John M. Griffin and Amin Shams in 2018 suggests that trading associated with 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 late 2017.188189
J.L. van der Velde, CEO of Bitfinex and Tether, denied that the claims of price manipulation:"Bitfinex nor Tether is, or has ever, engaged a fantastic read in any kind of market or price 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 their 2018 annual report. The criticisms include the lack of stability in bitcoin's cost, the high energy consumption, high and variable transactions costs, the bad 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 that these criticisms are unfair, predominantly because the unethical image may induce users to forget the capacities of the blockchain technology, but also on account of the fact that the volatility of bitcoin is changing in time.194
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been identified as economic bubbles by at least 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 called bitcoin the"mother of all bubbles. "199 Central bankers, including former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan,200 investors such as Warren Buffett,201202 and George Soros203 have stated similar opinions, as have business executives such as Jamie 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 (1.46 How Much Can You Earn From Bitcoin Mining terawatt-hours annually ).133
In the end of 2017, the global bitcoin mining activity was 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 total energy consumed by the global banking sector, and even if bitcoin's consumption levels increased 100 fold from today's degrees, bitcoin's consumption would still only amount to approximately 2% of international power consumption.206.
To lower the costs, bitcoin miners have set up in areas like Iceland where geothermal energy is cheap and cooling Arctic air is free.207 Bitcoin miners are known to utilize hydroelectric power in Tibet, Quebec, Washington (state), and Austria to decrease electricity prices.206208209210 Miners are drawn to providers like Hydro Quebec that have energy surpluses.211 According to a University of Cambridge study, much of bitcoin mining is done in China, where electricity is subsidized by the government.212213.