A documentary about the world of virtual bitcoin currency will make its premier at the upcoming Cryptolina Bitcoin Expo in Raleigh.
Meanwhile, federal regulators are warning consumers about risks in using virtual currencies.
The documentary, titled “Bitcoin: Buenos Aires,” is the first video from a new online network called The Protocol.TV. It focuses on what the producers call “one of the preeminent Bitcoin development centers in the world.”
The fill will be shown at the Bitcoin Expo on Aug. 16.
“The Bitcoin protocol is a revolutionary technology that, unfortunately, is painfully difficult to wrap your head around,” said filmaker Valerian Bennett, who also is founder of TheProtocol.TV. “The only way for everyday people to understand the promise of Bitcoin is for them to see it in action. That is our goal with TheProtocol.TV and “Bitcoin: Buenos Aires” is our first step.”
The Expo runs Aug. 15-16 at the Raleigh Convention Center.
Meanwhile, on Monday federal regulators warned consumers about virtual currencies.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said that it will begin fielding complaints from people who rely on products such as Bitcoin and online exchanges for such currencies.
In issuing an advisory warning, the agency noted that the currencies are not backed by the government, have volatile exchanges rates and are targeted by hackers and scammers. And unlike bank accounts, Bitcoin-based deposits are not federally insured.
“Consumers are stepping into the Wild West,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a statement.
Still, Cordray acknowledged that virtual currencies “may have potential benefits,” noting that they facilitate online transactions by making it easier to process payments.
The Securities and Exchange Commission previously issued an investor alert about Ponzi schemes involving virtual currencies.
Advocates for virtual currencies said they thought the CFPB’s characterization of the currencies was generally fair.
Jim Harper, global policy counsel for the Bitcoin Foundation, called the CFPB’s warning “pretty standard.” He noted that it’s “helpful to the extent that it informs consumers without scaring them.”
“There are consumer risks around new technologies, and even-keeled educational material from government agencies can help make consumers aware and savvy,” Harper said.
The CFPB’s warning noted that Bitcoin prices can be highly volatile. In one day last year, it said, prices dropped as much as 61 percent.
But Harper said such volatility should wane in the next 10 to 15 years if virtual currencies become more common.