By Brian Stelter US regulators are investigating whether the digital lottery that has sparked the biggest surge in bitcoin bets this year is the right fit for the cryptocurrency, and could put the virtual currency in danger of losing its status as a legal tender.
Digital lottery company Coinapult announced on Wednesday that it would allow US regulators to investigate whether the company complied with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules governing virtual currencies.
Bitcoin, the virtual version of the dollar, is used by some to bet on the outcome of sporting events or elections.
It has surged in value in recent months and attracted widespread attention from regulators and investors.
The SEC has launched an investigation into Coinapult and other virtual lottery companies that have raised more than $3.5 million in the last few months.
The company has said that the “major benefits” of the virtual lottery include a “robust marketplace” that allows users to bet a daily, monthly, quarterly, or annual average amount of bitcoins on any event in which they are a participant.
In addition, it says that it has “further enhanced its marketplace by adding features that enhance customer trust, security, and fairness.”
“The platform provides an opportunity for participants to bet and win bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies without the risk of having to use a bitcoin-only site,” the company said.
“The SEC’s actions and other regulatory action are consistent with our mission to provide a transparent, fair, and secure digital currency marketplace.”
The agency said that Coinapult is in compliance with the rules and has also “provided extensive notice” to the SEC about the proposed actions.
“Coinapult is pleased to report that it is in full compliance with applicable law and regulations and is cooperating fully with the SEC,” Coinapult said in a statement.
The US Securities and Exchanges Commission (S&E) and the Securities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) are examining Coinapult’s virtual lottery offering, according to Coinapult.
The Securities and Enforcement Division of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is also investigating the virtual casino business.
Coinapult, which bills itself as a bitcoin casino for US states, is seeking to expand its services to Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands, the company says.
It is not the first company to announce plans to launch virtual gambling in the United States.
The Los Angeles-based company recently began offering bitcoin-based betting on sports, concerts, and sporting events.
The online gambling business is already booming in the U: in the second quarter of 2017, bitcoin gambling sites took in over $6.4 million.
In January, Nevada became the first state to allow casinos to accept the virtual money.