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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 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 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 possible manipulation during futures settlement dates. The final settlement price of CME bitcoin futures contract is determined by costs on four exchanges, Bitstamp, Coinbase, itBit and Kraken. Following the first shipping date in January 2018, the CME asked extensive detailed trading information but a few of the exchanges refused to provide it and afterwards provided only limited information.
Academic research published in the Journal of Monetary Economics concluded that price manipulation occurred during the Mt Gox bitcoin theft and that the market remains vulnerable to manipulation.186 The background of hacks, fraud and theft 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 related trading in 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 both Bitfinex and Tether, denied the claims of price manipulation:"Bitfinex nor Tether is, or has , engaged in any kind 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 summarized several criticisms of bitcoin in Chapter V of the 2018 annual report. The criticisms include the lack of equilibrium in bitcoin's cost, the high energy consumption, high and variable transactions costs, the poor security and fraud at cryptocurrency exchanges, vulnerability to debasement (from forking), and also 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 such as Warren Buffett,201202 and George Soros203 have stated similar views, 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 though all miners utilized modern facilities, the combined electricity consumption would be 166.7 megawatts (1.46 terawatt-hours per year).133
At 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 approximately 6% of the total power consumed by the global banking sector, and even if 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 geothermal energy is economical and cooling Arctic air is liberated.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 suppliers like 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.
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, said that"a real 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 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 example of bitcoin the normal promises of gains are lacking, it cannot be presumed that look at here bitcoin is a pyramid scheme" In July 2017, billionaire Howard Marks referred to bitcoin as a pyramid scheme.221.