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Vermont sees more cryptocurrency scams as interest rises

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 7:46 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The value of just one bitcoin surpassed $50,000 last weekend for the first time in three months and that volatility has the state of Vermont concerned about cryptocurrency scams.

Cryptocurrency transactions were up over 400% last year. The total value of Vermont-based crypto transactions topped out at almost $84 million last year compared to about $15 million in 2019.

While interest is on the rise, especially during the pandemic lockdown period, so are scams. Vermont’s Department of Financial Regulation received consumer complaints relating to cryptocurrency scams that total over $1 million in losses.

While there are a number of warning signs to look out for, DFR Commissioner Michael Pieciak says the first is to ensure any transaction is made through a state-registered exchange service.

“The Department of Financial Regulation licenses the cryptocurrency exchanges. They have to have a license with us to do business in Vermont. If they don’t have a license, that’s another red flag,” said Pieciak.

Those exchange spaces are only online, although there is some interest in Vermont to have physical locations.

The trading of the cryptocurrency is regulated by the state, and some businesses even accept it as a form of payment, but Pieciak says it appears that trend is not increasing.

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