Know The Basics About Virtual Currencies
North American Precis Syndicate
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission helps investors learn about virtual currencies and their possible risks. (NAPS)
(NAPSI)—The recent run-up in price for Bitcoin and other virtual
currencies has piqued investors' interest. However, the U.S. Commodity
Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) advises investors to understand the risks
that go with virtual currencies before adding them to their portfolios.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a convertible virtual currency. Virtual currency is a digital
representation of value that may function as a medium of exchange, a unit of
account, and/or a store of value.
Is Bitcoin a commodity?
Yes, Bitcoin and other virtual currencies have been determined to be
commodities under the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).
Does the CFTC oversee Bitcoin?
The CFTC's jurisdiction is implicated when a virtual currency is used in a
derivatives contract, such as futures or options contracts. The CFTC's
oversight over commodity cash markets is limited. The CFTC maintains general
anti-fraud and manipulation enforcement authority over virtual currency cash
markets as a commodity in interstate commerce.
What risks come with virtual
While virtual currencies may have potential benefits, purchasing virtual
currencies on the cash market—spending dollars to purchase Bitcoin for your
personal wallet, for example—comes with a number of significant risks,
• Most cash markets are not regulated or supervised by a federal
• Platforms in the cash market may lack system safeguards, including
• Cash market manipulation.
• Platforms selling from their own accounts and putting customers at a
• Price volatility risks.
• Cybersecurity risks.
What do I do if I suspect fraud?
To report suspicious activity, contact the CFTC at (866) 366-2382, email@example.com, or visit SmartCheck.gov/SubmitaTip.
For more information, visit www.cftc.gov/bitcoin.
This article was prepared by the U.S.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission's Office of Customer Education and
Outreach. The article is provided for general informational purposes only and
does not provide legal or investment advice to any individual or entity.
Please consult with your own legal adviser before taking any action based on
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