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'' The self-regulatory organization FINRA and the North American Securities Administrators Association have issued investor alarms about bitcoin.177178
An official investigation into bitcoin traders was reported in May 2018. The U.S. Justice Department launched an investigation into possible 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. federal 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 asked extensive detailed trading information however several of the exchanges refused to provide it and afterwards provided only limited data.
Academic study published in the Journal of Monetary Economics concluded that price manipulation happened during the Mt Gox bitcoin theft and the marketplace remains vulnerable to manipulation.186 The background of hacks, fraud and fraud involving bitcoin dates back to 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 roughly half of the purchase price increase in bitcoin in overdue 2017.188189
J.L. van der Velde, CEO of both Bitfinex and Tether, denied that the claims of price manipulation:"Bitfinex nor Tether is, or has , engaged in any sort of market or cost manipulation. Tether issuances cannot be used to prop up the amount of bitcoin or any other coin/token on Bitfinex. "190
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 price, the high energy consumption, high and variable transactions costs, the bad security and fraud in cryptocurrency exchanges, vulnerability to debasement (from forking), and the influence of miners.191192193.
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 known as 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 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 if 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 has been estimated to consume between one and four gigawatts of electricity.205 Politico noted that the even high-end quotes of bitcoin's total consumption levels amount to only about 6 percent of the total energy consumed by the international banking sector, and even when bitcoin's consumption levels increased 100 fold from today's levels, bitcoin's consumption would still only amount to about 2% of global electricity consumption.206.
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To reduce the costs, bitcoin miners have set up in places like Iceland where renewable energy is economical and cooling Arctic atmosphere is liberated.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 that 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.
Various journalists,207214 economists,215216 and the central bank of Estonia217 have voiced concerns that 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 A 2014 report from 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 case of bitcoin the typical guarantees of profits are lacking, it address cannot be assumed that bitcoin is a pyramid scheme." In July 2017, billionaire Howard Marks called bitcoin as a pyramid scheme.221.