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For many people, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are part of an exciting and lucrative new financial frontier. But for the country’s top market watchdog, Gary Gensler, they seem “like the Wild West” – and he’s promising a crackdown.
The market for cryptocurrencies has ballooned. It is currently estimated to be worth about $2 trillion, thanks to the exploding popularity of Bitcoin and other virtual money like Dogecoin.
Amateur investors, particularly younger ones, have started buying and trading cryptocurrencies, attracted to the thrill of big returns. In the past year, the value of Bitcoin has risen 300%. And cryptocurrencies are increasingly also attractive to traditional investors.
But the cryptocurrency market is extremely volatile, and even as it becomes more mainstream, it continues to be popular among bad actors.
In recent months, hackers have demanded ransomware payments in Bitcoin, because it is easy to transfer and hard to trace. And there have been plenty of reports of thefts and heists at cryptocurrency