Fast Take: Is a Cryptocurrency Crash Coming?

Sunday, January 14, 2018 - 16:23

With investors mortgaging their houses to finance Bitcoin investments [1], questions regarding the legal status of cryptocurrency have taken on increasing urgency. The CFTC recently said  "US law does not provide for direct, comprehensive Federal oversight of underlying Bitcoin…spot markets."[2]. Yet the SEC has noted that "cryptocurrencies…now are being promoted more as investment opportunities than as efficient mediums for exchange."[3] Will a crash come? No one knows for sure. But if it does, expect heightened regulatory scrutiny for Bitcoin and all the intermediaries – exchanges, sellers, custodians – involved in the run-up to date.  

 

[1] Chris Morris, Some Bitcoin Investors Are Mortgaging Their Home to Buy More Digital Currency, FORTUNE, December 12, 2017, available online at http://fortune.com/2017/12/12/bitcoin-investors-mortgages/.

[2] CFTC Backgrounder on Oversight of and Approach to Virtual Currency Futures Markets (Jan. 4, 2018), at 1 (emphasis added),  http://www.cftc.gov/idc/groups/public/@newsroom/documents/file/backgrounder_virtualcurrency01.pdf.  

[3] SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, Commissioner Kara M. Stein, and Commissioner Michael S. Piwowar, Statement of Chairman Jay Clayton and Commissioners Kara M. Stein and Michael S. Piwowar on "NASAA Reminds Investors to Approach Cryptocurrencies, Initial Coin Offerings and Other Cryptocurrency-Related Investment Products with Caution" by NASAA, (Jan. 4, 2018), https://www.sec.gov/news/public-statement/statement-clayton-stein-piwowar-010418