Bitcoin and other virtual coins struggled for direction on Wednesday, as New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched an inquiry into cryptocurrency exchanges.
Bitcoin was trading at $8,113.40, falling 0.17% as of 8:18 AM ET (12:18 GMT) on the Bitfinex exchange.
Cryptocurrencies were held down by news on Tuesday that New York Attorney General’s office sent a letter to 13 exchanges requesting detailed information about their operations.
“With cryptocurrency on the rise, consumers in New York and across the country have a right to transparency and accountability when they invest their money,” Schneiderman said in a statement.
The questionnaires are due May 1 and were sent to various exchanges including Coinbase, Binance and Germinin Trust.
Bitcoin has struggled to recover and is far from its peak of $20,000 in December 2017 as increased regulatory scrutiny has kept investors at bay.
However some investors think cryptocurrencies could face a comeback if volatility in the equities market continues.
“If there is a significant pullback in the equity markets, there will be an inflow of money into uncorrelated assets, or assets that lie outside the reach of the traditional financial system in which cryptocurrencies are a potential alternative,” said Jacob Pouncey, cryptocurrency analyst at Saxo Bank “The inflow of institutional capital to the cryptocurrency market due to the increase in regulation and investor protection could lead cryptocurrencies to a positive quarter.”
Meanwhile Coinbase nabbed a Wall Street executive as its new chief financial officer. Alesia Hass, CFO of hedge fund Och-Ziff Capital Management, has accepted a position at the exchange platform and is just the latest of a number of Wall Street bankers who have joined a virtual currency start-up.
Other virtual currencies were mixed, with rival Ethereum, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, falling 0.16% to $516.45 on the Bitfinex exchange. Ripple, the third largest virtual currency, increased 1.63% to $0.68670 while Litecoin was at $137.60 a decrease of 1.31%.