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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 has been 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 possibly other countries are being investigated. Brett Redfearn, head of the U.S.
The U.S. federal investigation was prompted by concerns of possible 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 shipping date in January 2018, the CME asked extensive detailed trading information however a few of the exchanges refused to provide it and later provided only limited information.
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Academic study 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 fraud involving bitcoin dates back to 2011.187
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Research by John M. Griffin and Amin Shams in 2018 suggests that trading associated with increases in the amount of the Tether cryptocurrency and related trading at the Bitfinex exchange account for roughly 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 forget the capacities of their 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 my response 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 said similar views, 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 used modern facilities, the combined electricity consumption would be 166.7 megawatts (1.46 terawatt-hours per year).133
In the end of 2017, the worldwide bitcoin mining activity was estimated to consume between one and four gigawatts of electricity.205 Politico noted that the even high-end estimates of bitcoin's total consumption levels amount to only about 6 percent of the entire power consumed by the global banking industry, and even when bitcoin's consumption levels increased 100 fold from today's degrees, bitcoin's consumption would still only amount to approximately 2% of global power consumption.206.
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To reduce the expenses, bitcoin miners have put up in places like Iceland where geothermal energy is cheap and cooling Arctic air 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 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 power has been subsidized by the government.212213.
A variety of 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 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 may be a pyramid scheme; it concluded that,"Since in the case of bitcoin the normal guarantees of gains are lacking, it cannot be presumed that bitcoin is a pyramid scheme" In July 2017, billionaire Howard Marks referred to bitcoin as a pyramid scheme.221.