New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today launched an investigation into the exchanges of bitcoins, his office announced. It is investigating thirteen important exchanges, including Coinbase, Gemini Trust and Bitfinex, requesting information about their operations and what measures they have to protect consumers.
"Too often, consumers do not have the basic data they need to assess the fairness, integrity and security of these trading platforms," Schneiderman said in a statement. His office sent detailed questionnaires to the thirteen exchanges, asking them to reveal who owns and controls them, and how their basic transaction and transaction rates work. The questionnaire also asks for specific details on how the exchanges could suspend the bargaining or delay orders, which indicates that Schneiderman is particularly concerned about the exchanges that manipulate the calendar of public orders.
The investigation will try to shed more transparency on how the platforms fight against the manipulation of the market and the suspicious operations, as well as the bots, the robberies and the frauds. Many of the exchanges that Schneiderman addresses, such as Huobi, based in Beijing, are headquartered outside the US. But the Attorney General has jurisdiction over any foreign company that operates in New York.
The exchanges have been subject to many technical problems, theft and more. In February, some Coinbase users noticed that they were being charged twice for legitimate transactions and that their accounts were being emptied, which resulted in overdraft fees. Mount Gox, an exchange in Japan, made it infamous that a whole bitcoin was slowly pulled from its accounts by a hacker and had to declare bankruptcy in February 2014 as a result.
Regulators are tightening cryptocurrency policies and updating previous literature on the subject. Congress held a hearing with Coinbase and think tank Coin Center for more information on the issue, and the SEC issued subpoenas to companies and individuals of cryptocurrencies in February. In the state of New York, a city banned the mining of cryptocurrencies, while a northern power authority increased electricity bills for miners.