skip to content
Primary navigation
Feature image for

Be Cautious of the Crypto Investment Craze

Cryptocurrencies burst into the investing mainstream in 2017 as the values of some virtual coins and tokens skyrocketed, led by Bitcoin. Mainstream media now feature daily coverage of new cryptocurrencies, coin exchanges, and related investment products. Stories of “crypto millionaires” have attracted some investors to try their hand at investing in cryptocurrencies or crypto-related investments. But stories of those who bet big and lost are now starting to appear.

Before you jump into the crypto craze, be mindful that cryptocurrencies and related financial products may be nothing more than public facing fronts for Ponzi schemes and other frauds. And because these products do not fall neatly into the existing federal/state regulatory framework, it may be easier for the promoters of these products to fleece you. Investing in cryptocurrencies and related financial products accordingly should be seen for what it is: extremely risky speculation with a high risk of loss.

What is a Cryptocurrency?

cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrencies are digital assets created by companies or individuals that take the form of a virtual coin or token. Anyone can create a cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrencies are intangible and exist only on the internet. Central banks and other governmental authorities do not insure or control cryptocurrencies. You cannot always exchange them for other fiat currencies (i.e., currencies declared “legal tender” by governments), such as the U.S. or Canadian dollar or Mexican peso.

Cryptocurrencies trade on unregulated, opaque exchanges on which there may be little or no opportunity to independently verify their true market value. And given the newness and uniqueness of cryptocurrencies and related instruments, they do not yet have a clear place in the existing framework of financial regulation.

Federal and state regulators are actively working to combat cryptocurrency-related frauds and to develop legislative or rule changes that will establish a more appropriate regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. Investors should be aware that, at least for now, cryptocurrencies and related instruments trade without the investor protections that regulation provides.

Cryptocurrencies trade on unregulated, opaque exchanges on which there may be little or no opportunity to independently verify their true market value. And given the newness and uniqueness of cryptocurrencies and related instruments, they do not yet have a clear place in the existing framework of financial regulation.

As with any new type of product, fraudsters are willing and ready to exploit the hype around cryptocurrencies and related products for their own purposes. Cryptocurrencies and related products are not functional equivalents of traditional banking, securities or insurance investment products.

If you choose to invest in a cryptocurrency or related product, be prepared to lose the entire amount of your investment. 

back to top