A visual representation of digital currencies.

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New York Attorney General Letitia James sent a blistering warning to investors and industry members about the dangers of cryptocurrencies on Monday.

“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 such as bitcoin.

The cryptocurrency surged to a new all-time high above $58,000 earlier this month, after garnering attention from Wall Street banks, companies such as Tesla and even the U.S. government.

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 such as JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs have shown interest in the asset class. Plus, companies such as 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% 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
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