Wisconsin regulators issue bitcoin warning

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Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/100239928@N08/

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/100239928@N08/

The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions issued a warning on virtual currencies last week, adding one more official notice on the topic from state-level authorities in the U.S. The statement offered the now-common warnings about cryptocurrency, namely the current price volatility, the lack of oversight and regulation, the association of virtual currency with criminal enterprises, and the potential for loss of funds and privacy via hacking.

DFI Secretary Peter Bildsten summed up the state’s position towards virtual currencies in the statement:

These alternative currencies – unlike traditional currencies – are not backed by tangible assets, are not issued by a governmental authority and are subject to little or no regulation. The value of virtual currencies is highly volatile and the concept behind the currency is difficult to understand even for sophisticated financial experts. Investors should be aware that investments that incorporate virtual currency present very real risks.”

Much like the recent statements from New Mexico, California, Nevada and Maryland, there was no indication of coming regulatory or policy changes towards bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies in the Wisconsin warning. Such consumer-protection warnings are commonplace when new or controversial investments gain popularity or media attention.

DFI’s advisory was issued in conjunction with the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA).

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