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  • Jeffrey Goldfarb

Bitcoin Crackdown

Bitcoin | China | Crime | Buffalo, NY | B Corp

Summer sun brought heated excitement to cryptocurrencies. Without fully understanding what Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other digital coins do, investors were eager to throw money at the coin exchanges because it seemed like they would never stop going up. Social media was buzzing with clickbait articles about why everyone should be investing in Bitcoin and friends posting screen shots of all the money they earned in a week. Yesterday at the Bills game a car in one of the gas station parking lots had a Bitcoin vanity plate. But two old sayings that seasoned investors know all too well are poking their noses back into the conversation: What goes up must come down and if it’s too good to be true, chances are it is.

That’s why investors seem to be worried about cryptocurrencies recent drop in price. After China declared Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) to be illegal, and the halting of all token exchanges,[1] Bitcoin dropped 9% from 4,650 to 4,224.[2]

Now this is sort of drop is nothing new for Bitcoin. Since the currency became available for trade eight years ago it has had daily losses at large as 13% and gains as high as 18%[3] but what makes this drop feel so different is the government intervention of one of the largest economies in the world, and the general confusion of what’s to come of the three largest exchanges in China, which have not been formerly contacted.[4] If China continues to progress with their cryptocurrency crackdown, and ultimately ends its market trading, Bitcoin and other currencies could be in major trouble. China currently commands “over 90% of global trade volume in Bitcoin.”[5]

Though the market exchanges still have an unclear future, what China has made clear is its ban on ICOs. These have recently been used by companies in China to generate liquidity for start-ups by offering investors digital tokens.[6] China is doing this to combat domestic money laundering and capital flight. China has long suspected cryptocurrencies of circumventing their state regulations, even meeting with the exchanges back in January to explore their connections to financial crimes and capital flight.[7] Ultimately the government has made it clear it believes more drastic action needs to be taken; it will be very interesting to see how the exchange rate responds and if another enormous bounce back is in the cards.

Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer electronic cash system or “cryptocurrency” that doesn’t rely on trusting one central monetary authority and allows for anonymous, untraceable and untaxable transactions. The prominent underlying risk of using Bitcoin as a medium of exchange is that it is not authorized or regulated by any central bank. Additional risk factors Include: ·Bitcoin issuers are not registered with the SEC ·Bitcoin marketplace is highly unregulated in nature ·Digital currencies can be exploited by criminals for money laundering/terrorist financing ·New trends, such as Bitcoin, are typically exploited by criminals Securities that have been   classified as Bitcoin-related securities may no longer be purchased or deposited in Raymond James client accounts

[1] https://qz.com/1069113/ethereum-eth-price-plunges-as-chinas-central-bank-declares-icos-illegal/

[2] https://qz.com/1073049/the-ethereum-eth-price-and-bitcoin-btc-prices-are-crashing-on-a-china-trading-ban/

[3] http://fortune.com/2017/09/08/bitcoin-price-tumbles-china/

[4] https://www.coindesk.com/wsj-latest-to-claim-bitcoin-exchange-crackdown-in-china/

[5] https://qz.com/1073049/the-ethereum-eth-price-and-bitcoin-btc-prices-are-crashing-on-a-china-trading-ban/

[6] http://fortune.com/2017/09/08/bitcoin-price-tumbles-china/

[7] https://www.coindesk.com/report-chinese-regulators-exploring-bitcoin-connection-capital-flight/