New York Regulators Launch Investigation Into Virtual Currencies

Not happy that the currencies could be used by criminals


NEW YORK—The state of New York's top financial regulator is turning up the heat on Bitcoin and other virtual currencies as government investigators grow increasingly alarmed that the emerging industry could aid criminals and terrorists.

The state's Department of Financial Services said Monday it has launched an inquiry into virtual currency firms, which it may seek to regulate. The announcement comes as federal regulators have intensified their scrutiny of the industry.

"If virtual currencies remain a virtual Wild West for narco-traffickers and other criminals, that would not only threaten our country's national security, but also the very existence of the virtual currency industry as a legitimate business enterprise," Benjamin Lawsky, the state's superintendent of financial services, said in a notice posted on the department's website.