Cryptocurrencies, blockchain, NFT and new trends

Is Michigan’s Attorney General the Tough New Anti-Crypto Sheriff in Town?

4 mins In Brief

  • Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel unites with state police in warning consumers about crypto scams.
  • The AG has called cryptocurrency “a new, complex market that causes confusion even among seasoned investors.”
  • New York’s AG is one of the most anti-crypto. Is taking a hard line against crypto the new test of bona fides?
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 Is Michigan’s Attorney General the Tough New Anti-Crypto Sheriff in Town?

Amid a rise in scams, regulators are joining hands to decry crypto investing. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has united with the state police to warn consumers about crypto scams.

Cryptocurrency has become increasingly popular over the past few years, with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other digital currencies becoming more mainstream. However, the rise in popularity has also led to increased cryptocurrency scams, which have caused financial loss to many unsuspecting investors. In response, US regulators are joining hands to highlight the dangers of cryptocurrency scams.

One of the common responses to cryptocurrency scams is to call for more regulation in the industry. Cryptocurrency is a decentralized currency not controlled by any government or financial institution, making it challenging to regulate.

This has facilitated fraudulent activities such as Ponzi schemes, fake initial coin offerings (ICOs), and bogus cryptocurrency exchanges.

The SEC’s Ongoing War

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been particularly active in combatting cryptocurrency scams. The agency has warned investors about the risks of investing in cryptocurrency and has taken action against fraudulent activities.

In 2018, the SEC formed a new Cyber Unit to combat online fraud, including cryptocurrency scams. The unit has successfully brought cases against individuals and companies engaged in fraud.

In addition to the SEC, other US regulators are also taking action against cryptocurrency scams. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has gone after bad actors, and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has issued guidance on the reporting requirements for cryptocurrency transactions.

While cryptocurrency has the potential to revolutionize the financial industry, it also has the potential to be used for illicit activities. State attorneys also hope to protect investors and prevent cryptocurrency industry fraud by raising awareness of these risks. 

Is There a New Sherriff in Town?

Attorneys General in the United States have been raising concerns about fraudulent activity and consumer protection in cryptocurrency. BeInCrypto, on March 29, reported on the New York Attorney General’s office, led by Letitia James.

Following James’s lead, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is taking steps to raise awareness. Of late, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office and the Michigan State Police have been warning residents about the rise in scams. They note that scammers use various methods to persuade people to invest in fraudulent crypto schemes, including cold-calling, social media ads, and email phishing. 

The AG called cryptocurrency “a new, complex market that confuses even among seasoned investors” and said it is rife with bad actors and scams.

“Cryptocurrency is a new, complex market that causes confusion among even seasoned investors, and bad actors are exploiting this arena to victimize people of all ages. Residents should be wary of unsolicited requests from strangers on the phone or internet, especially requests to make bank withdrawals or deposits at cryptocurrency kiosks or Bitcoin ATMs.”

 Is Michigan’s Attorney General the Tough New Anti-Crypto Sheriff in Town?

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. Source: The New York Times

The authorities have urged people to be cautious when investing in cryptocurrencies and to do thorough research before investing their money. They also advise people to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.

Need to Combat Crypto Scams

One of the obvious dangers of cryptocurrency scams is the potential for investors to lose their money. Many scams promise high returns with little risk, but investors may lose their entire investment.

Scammers often use social media platforms to lure in unsuspecting investors with promises of quick profits. They may also use fake news articles, celebrity endorsements, and other tactics to make their scams appear legitimate.

Another danger of such scams is their potential use for illegal activities such as money laundering and terrorism financing. Cryptocurrency is often used to facilitate illicit activities because of its anonymity and lack of regulation. In some cases, scammers may use cryptocurrency to launder money or to finance terrorist activities.

Investors should be cautious when investing in digital currencies to protect themselves from cryptocurrency scams. They should research the investment and the company offering it before investing money. Investors should also be wary of promises of high returns with little risk and of unsolicited investment offers.

Questioning the Motive

Clearing bad actors within the space is indeed crucial to aid investors. However, as noted, regulators and law enforcement don’t just stop there. Political leaders’ aggressive action focuses on the immediate political imperative and disregards longer-term consequences. 

Is taking a hard line against crypto the new test of law enforcement officials’ bona fides? It certainly seems so when regulators take action; Operation Choke-Point 2.0 shows evidence. 

Jon Danielsson, co-director of the London School of Economics Systemic Risk Centre, told BeInCrypto how the government could be blamed for crypto misfortune.

“Aggressive government action, one that is focused on the immediate political imperative and disregarding longer-term consequences, may shift the responsibility from the crypto advocates to the government. Interestingly, the very fact that the government is acting in such a heavy-handed manner could well be what protects crypto. Just like Ruby Ridge in the US fired up anti-government activists, today’s regulatory response could fuel the activists so fundamental to cryptocurrencies.” 

Danielsson further opined, “This is a common problem with regulatory action. Suppose the regulators are only concerned with first-order partial equilibrium impacts because that is where the politics are. They then ignore the general equilibrium consequences, often dominating the first-order impact.” 

These instances shed light on an important notion. Namely, political results may drive attorneys general and law enforcement. Ergo, raising questions about how well they know the market they are attacking.