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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 scrub transactions.180181182 Dealers 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 prompted 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 initial delivery date in January 2018, the CME asked extensive detailed trading information however several of the exchanges refused to supply it and afterwards provided only limited data.

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State and provincial securities authorities, coordinated throughout the North American Securities Administrators Association, are investigating"bitcoin scams" and ICOs in 40 jurisdictions.185

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Academic research published in the Journal of Monetary Economics concluded that cost manipulation occurred during the Mt Gox bitcoin theft and the market remains vulnerable to manipulation.186 The history of hacks, fraud and theft involving bitcoin dates back to 2011.187

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Research by John M. Griffin and Amin Shams in 2018 indicates that trading related to increases in the amount of the Tether cryptocurrency and related trading in the Bitfinex exchange account for roughly half of the price increase in bitcoin in late 2017.188189

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J.L. van der Velde, CEO of both Bitfinex and Tether, denied that the claims of price manipulation:"Bitfinex nor Tether is, or has ever, engaged in any sort 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 summarized several criticisms of bitcoin in Chapter V of their 2018 annual report. The criticisms include the absence 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.

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The Economist wrote in 2015 that these criticisms are unfair, predominantly because the shady image may induce users to overlook the capabilities of their 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 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 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 stated 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 amenities, the combined power consumption would be 166.7 megawatts (1.46 terawatt-hours annually ).133

At the end of 2017, the worldwide 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 entire energy consumed by the global banking sector, and even if bitcoin's consumption levels increased 100 fold from the current degrees, bitcoin's consumption would still only amount to about 2% of international electricity consumption.206.

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To lower the expenses, bitcoin miners have put up in places like Iceland where geothermal energy is economical 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 prices.206208209210 Miners are attracted to suppliers like Hydro Quebec that have energy surpluses.211 According to a University of Cambridge study, much of bitcoin mining is done in China, where power has been 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, said that"a real Ponzi scheme takes fraud; bitcoin, by contrast, seems more like a collective delusion. "218 A 2014 report by the World Bank concluded that bitcoin was not a deliberate Ponzi scheme.219:7 The Swiss Federal Council220:21 examined the concerns that bitcoin might be special info a pyramid scheme; it concluded that,"Since in the example of bitcoin the typical promises of gains are lacking, it cannot be presumed that bitcoin is a pyramid scheme." In July 2017, billionaire Howard Marks called bitcoin as a pyramid scheme.221.

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