New York AG Says “We Will Shut You Down” To Cryptocurrency Investors

( Letitia James is going on the attack again, this time focusing her wrath on cryptocurrency investors.

On Monday, the Democratic attorney general of New York warned members of the industry as well as investors about the dangers of cryptocurrency. This happened as many of the forms of the digital payment, such as Bitcoin, reached all-time highs in February.

After companies such as Tesla, Wall Street banks and even the federal government gave attention to cryptocurrencies, they shot up to values above $58,000 last month.

That prompted James to say on Monday:

“We’re sending a clear message to the entire industry that you either play by the rules or we will shut you down.”

What James was referring to is the need for members of the industry that are based in New York to register with the Office of the Attorney General’s Investor Protection Bureau. Those who must do so under the law but decide not to could face both criminal and civil enforcement, James’ office said in a statement.

That statement came only a few short weeks after her office sued Coinseed, which is a platform that allows trading of digital currency. James’ office has alleged that Coinseed was operating the trading business in New York.

For more than three years, James alleges that the company was operating as an unregistered broker-dealer. In that time, they collected more than $1 million in assets from investors.

And, just last week, James’ office reached a settle agreement with Bitfinex and Tether, two cryptocurrency firms. The attorney general had alleged they were covering up $850 million in losses. As part of the settlement, the firms denied any wrongdoing but agreed to pay a penalty of $18.5 million.

James commented:

“We will not hesitate to take action against anyone who violates the law. Too often, greedy industry players take unnecessary risks with investors’ money, but, today, we’re leveling the playing field and issuing alerts to both investors and industry members across the nation.”

She further cautioned investors against investing in these cryptocurrencies that her office seems to be attacking all the time. She said:

“All investors should proceed with extreme caution when investing in virtual currencies. Cryptocurrencies are high-risk, unstable investments that could result in devastating losses just as quickly as they can provide gains.”

Bitcoin is the most well-known cryptocurrency. It was created in 2009, evolving in that time from a simple protest against the world’s banking system to now something that’s attracting mainstream investors.

Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, two large investment banks, have begun to show interest in cryptocurrencies. And companies like Mastercard have made investments to support the currency.

Tesla even invested $1.5 billion in February into Bitcoin.

In just one 24-hour period on March 1, Bitcoin alone increased more than 10%, hitting a price of $48,528 in the afternoon, CoinDesk data showed.

Some of the other popular cryptocurrencies that are attracting attention right now are litecoin and Ethereum.