It’s the Wild West of investing — and authorities are now sounding the alarm, warning investors of the challenges ahead for crypto currencies.
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority issued a statement Monday telling investors that they could lose “all their money” in cryptos.
According to the FCA, “Significant price volatility in cryptoassets, combined with the inherent difficulties of valuing cryptoassets reliably, places consumers at a high risk of losses.” In addition, the regulating authority wrote, “the complexity of some products and services relating to crypto-assets can make it hard for consumers to understand the risks.”
The UK authority also cautioned that there could be significant hurdles converting a crypto asset back to cash, writing, that the conversion “depends on demand and supply existing in the market.”
Bitcoin Spike Sparks Regulators’ Concerns
Bitcoin recently soared to an all-time high of more than $40,000 USD. Amid political discord in the U.S., and the realization that big tech companies may remove entities from their platforms and servers should they conclude a company is not complying with industry standards, there has been a renewed interest in bitcoin.
Some view bitcoin as a kind of currency “refuge” that is free from the regulations and inflationary pressures imposed by a central banking monetary authority.
In addition, there is a perceived anonymity to cryptos like bitcoin given that bitcoin employs encrypted addresses in an effort to hide the identities of its users through innovative blockchain technology.
Can Bitcoin Be Traced?
Despite promises of an anonymous online currency, bitcoin is not entirely untraceable. The blockchain technology records transactions on its ledger and, as such, analytics can be used to trace the identity of its users. Nonetheless, it’s clearly not as easy to determine the identity of the users as it would be, say, with an American Express or MasterCard. As a result, bitcoin has developed a reputation as a kind of “cash” on the internet.
That has governments around the world increasingly worried.
Governments Seeks To Establish Sovereign Cryptos
Across the globe, governments have been seeking ways to monitor crypto currency transactions and reduce the relative anonymity of these vehicles. After all, governments worry that a “cash-style” society with no trace of purchases online could be highly problematic for a variety of reasons.
China recently began testing its own “traceable” crypto currency through the distribution of a digital yuan, and U.S. financial authorities are also considering the implementation of a Digital dollar in the coming years.
Though bitcoin will likely be met with increasing opposition from authorities, the technology that powers the blockchain itself is considered quite powerful.