FINRA Issues Investor Alert on Bitcoin

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has issued an investor alert for Bitcoin, saying that digital currency is “more than a

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has issued an investor alert for Bitcoin, saying that digital currency is “more than a bit risky”.

The warning for the most part echoes those of other authorities and governments around the world, highlighting the following risks: speculation and volatility, hacking, fraud, theft, no deposit insurance, irreversibility, illegal activity and scams.

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One point which stands out for its poignancy, but also paints a vivid economical picture of Bitcoin, was noted in the beginning of the “Risks” section:

“Digital currency such as Bitcoin is not legal tender. No law requires companies or individuals to accept bitcoins as a form of payment. Instead, Bitcoin use is limited to businesses and individuals that are willing to accept bitcoins. If no one accepts bitcoins, bitcoins will become worthless.”

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The warning comes as a bit o a surprise, considering the U.S.’s hitherto relatively open stance toward Bitcoin, with Ben Bernanke saying that the cryptocurrency “may hold long-term promise”.

For Bitcoiners, the silver lining may come from the warning’s apparent openness to dealing with issues:

“If you believe you’ve been defrauded or treated unfairly by a securities professional or firm, file a complaint. If you suspect that someone you know has been taken in by a scam, send a tip.”

This contrasts sharply with warnings from other countries such as Japan, which until recently, essentially turned their backs on cryptocurrency and implying that would be victims are on their own.

Bitcoin prices have not reacted much to the news, continuing to hover around $625 on Bitstamp.

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