Banks, credit card companies and digital payments processors are nervously watching the push to create an electronic alternative to the paper bills Americans carry in their wallets. The chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also has concerns, calling the burgeoning cryptocurrency market “rife with fraud, scams and abuse.”

“Right now, we just don’t have enough investor protection in crypto,” Gary Gensler said at the Aspen Institute’s forum on security. “Frankly, at this time, it’s more like the Wild West.”

With the market for cryptocurrencies at an estimated $1.8 trillion, the federal government wants a piece of the Wild West, albeit in different ways.

With cryptocurrency, digital cash moves from one account to another. While this is similar to how most money already works — the…

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