The North American Securities Administrators Association today released an article titled "Top Investor Threats" in which they state there is an emerging threat of "unscrupulous promoters" illegally offering securities tied to Bitcoin.
Digital currencies are emerging as trendy way of paying for goods and services. Bitcoin, perhaps the most popular digital currency, was priced at around $10 per unit in early 2013 but peaked at around $1200 per unit later that year. The rapid increase in price sparked considerable public interest and significant media attention, creating a fresh market for securities offerings tied to digital currencies. Unfortunately, unscrupulous promoters may be attempting to capitalize on this popularity by illegally offering securities tied to digital currencies. Even legitimate securities offerings tied to digital currencies may present considerable risks to the investing public, including risks associated with volatility and demand for the units, the anonymity associated with the use of certain digital currencies, and the threats posed by hackers using malicious software to compromise network security systems. The risks associated with cybersecurity were highlighted earlier this year when Mt. Gox, once the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange, filed for bankruptcy amid reports that hackers may have stolen around 850,000 bitcoins worth as much as $500 million.
Binary options, marijuana industry investments and stream-of-income investments join Bitcoin in the NASAA's list of emerging threats.