New York Attorney General Letitia James sent a blistering warning to investors and industry members on Monday about cryptocurrencies.
“We’re sending a clear message to the entire industry that you either play by the rules or we will shut you down,” she said in a press release.
The warning from James, which addressed individual investors and crypto industry members, comes amid a major start to 2021 for digital assets like bitcoin.
The cryptocurrency surged to a new all-time high above $58,000 earlier this month, after garnering attention from Wall Street banks, companies like Tesla and even the U.S. government.
“Cryptocurrencies are high-risk, unstable investments that could result in devastating losses just as quickly as they can provide gains,” James said.
Bitcoin, which was created in 2009, has evolved from a protest against the banking system to something of a “digital gold” that is beginning to catch on with mainstream investors.
Investment banks like JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs have shown interest in the asset class. Plus, companies like Mastercard have made significant moves to support cryptocurrencies. Tesla invested $1.5 billion into bitcoin in February.
The price of bitcoin rose more than 10 percent over the last 24 hours to hit $48,528, as of approximately 1:51 p.m. ET, according to CoinDesk. Other popular digital currencies include Ethereum and Litecoin.
James told members of the crypto industry in New York they must be registered with the Office of the Attorney General’s investor protection