By NATHANIEL POPPERFEB. 5, 2018 SAN FRANCISCO — You did not have to be a technophobe to worry that the virtual-currency boom of the past year papered over plenty of problems. The scale of those problems is starting to become clear as digital tokens have slid more than 50 percent in value from their peaks in early January, with steep drops on Monday pushing the value of Bitcoin specifically below $7,000.
Hackers draining funds from online exchanges. Ponzi schemes.
Government regulators unable to keep up with the rise of so-called cryptocurrencies. Signs of trouble have appeared at nearly every level of the industry, from the biggest exchanges to the news sites and chat rooms where the investment frenzy has been discussed.
On Tuesday, the leaders of the two main regulatory agencies in the United States that oversee the technology, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, are to testify before the Senate banking committee about their efforts to police virtual currency markets. In the past two weeks, both have brought major cases, but people in the young industry said regulators had barely made a dent.
Some virtual currency enthusiasts argue that the problems are no different from what has happened in other booms, like the internet bubble of the 1990s. But even true believers say the design of virtual currencies — meant to cut out middlemen and government authorities — has made bad behavior more prevalent amid this particular bubble. Read more from nytimes.com…
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