In August, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a Consumer Advisory about virtual currency. The Bureau also announced that its consumer complaint database is now accepting complaints about virtual currency. The Bureau, of course, uses its consumer complaint database as a way to prioritize its regulatory and policy-making activities – and virtual currency may soon be on the Bureau's priority list.
The Bureau's Consumer Advisory notes that there are certain "associated risks" of using virtual currency – including hackers, costs, and scams – and that there are "fewer protections" associated with this type of currency than what "you expect from a bank or debit or credit card provider."
The Bureau's Consumer Advisory delineates some potential issues surrounding the use of virtual currency, including:
- The increased possibility of scams
- What the loss of a consumer's private keys means
- Some of the concerns arising from a consumer's use of a digital wallet
- Hacking risks
- Critical need to understand fully the terms of any digital wallet agreement
- Informing consumers what to do if they "encounter a problem with virtual currency or a virtual currency company"
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