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The self-regulatory organization FINRA and the North American Securities Administrators Association have 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 Traders in the U.S., the U.K, South Korea, and maybe other countries are being investigated. Brett Redfearn, head of the U.S.
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 prices on four exchanges, Bitstamp, Coinbase, itBit and Kraken. Following the first delivery date in January 2018, the CME asked extensive detailed trading information however several of the exchanges refused to supply it and later provided only limited information.
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Academic study published in the Journal of Monetary Economics concluded that price manipulation happened during the Mt Gox bitcoin theft and that the marketplace remains vulnerable to manipulation.186 The history of hacks, fraud and fraud involving bitcoin dates back to at least 2011.187
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Research by John M. Griffin and Amin Shams in 2018 indicates that trading associated with increases in the amount of the Tether cryptocurrency and related trading at the Bitfinex exchange account for about half of the price increase in bitcoin in overdue 2017.188189
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The Economist wrote in 2015 these criticisms are unfair, predominantly because the shady image may induce users to overlook the capacities 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 called bitcoin 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 opinions, as have business executives like Jamie Dimon and Jack Ma.204.
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 terawatt-hours annually ).133
At 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 total consumption levels amount to only about 6% of the entire energy consumed by the international banking sector, and even if bitcoin's consumption levels increased 100 fold from the current levels, bitcoin's consumption would still only amount to approximately 2% of international electricity consumption.206.
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To reduce 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 such as 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 has been subsidized by the government.212213.
Various journalists,207214 economists,215216 and the central bank of Estonia217 have voiced concerns which bitcoin is a Ponzi scheme. In 2013, Eric Posner, a law professor at the University of Chicago, stated that"a true Ponzi scheme takes fraud; bitcoin, by contrast, seems more like a collective delusion. "218 great post to read A 2014 report by the World Bank concluded that bitcoin was not a willful Ponzi scheme.219:7 The Swiss Federal Council220:21 examined the concerns which bitcoin might be a pyramid scheme; it concluded that,"Since in the example of bitcoin the typical guarantees of gains are lacking, it cannot be assumed that bitcoin is a pyramid scheme" In July 2017, billionaire Howard Marks called bitcoin as a pyramid scheme.221.