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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 may have high rates of fraud, and that investors may be solicited on interpersonal media sites.175 An earlier"Investor Alert" warned about the usage of bitcoin in Ponzi schemes.176

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The European Banking Authority issued a warning in 2013 focusing on the lack of regulation of bitcoin, the chance that exchanges could be hacked, the volatility of bitcoin's cost, and general fraud.148

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 scrub transactions.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 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 several of the exchanges refused to provide it and later provided only limited data.

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

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 background of hacks, fraud and theft involving bitcoin dates back to at least 2011.187

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 purchase price increase in bitcoin in overdue 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 , engaged in any sort 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 summarized several criticisms of bitcoin in Chapter V of their 2018 annual report. The criticisms include the lack of equilibrium in bitcoin's cost, the high energy consumption, high and variable transactions costs, the bad security and fraud at cryptocurrency exchanges, vulnerability to debasement (from forking), and the influence of miners.191192193.

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The Economist wrote in 2015 these criticisms are unfair, predominantly because the shady image may induce users to forget 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 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 that 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 site 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 amenities, the combined electricity 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 estimates of bitcoin's total consumption levels amount to only about 6% of the total power consumed by the international banking sector, and even when bitcoin's consumption levels increased 100 fold from the current levels, bitcoin's consumption would still only amount to about 2% of international electricity consumption.206.

To lower the costs, bitcoin miners have set up in areas like Iceland where renewable energy is economical and cooling Arctic air is liberated.207 Bitcoin miners are known to utilize hydroelectric power in Tibet, Quebec, Washington (state), and Austria to Windsor Brokers reduce electricity prices.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 power is subsidized by the government.212213.

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