Crypto Markets Turn Red While BTC Fails to Impress Below $8,500

Crypto Markets Turn Red While BTC Fails to Impress Below $8,500

Friday, Nov. 15 — Crypto markets are mostly showing red candlesticks, while Bitcoin (BTC) fails to impress as it crawls its way below the $8,500 price point. Cryptocurrency market daily overview. Source: Coin360 For most of the day, the world’s largest cryptocurrency has been trading within a tight range between $8,700 and $8,600, while taking a sudden swing below the $8,500 price mark during recent hours. Bitcoin is currently trading at a price of $8,480, showing a loss of 1.85% on the day. Bitcoin daily price chart. Source: Coin360 Despite Bitcoin’s continued struggle to reach higher highs, Tom Lee, renowned Bitcoin bull, co-founder and Wall Street strategist at Fundstrat Global Advisors, said that he believes that Fundstrat’s $25,000 by 2022 forecast for Bitcoin is still “quite easy to achieve.” He said: “Cryptocurrencies are network value assets, meaning the more people hold the asset, the greater the value. In fact, it’s a log function — so if you double the users hold it, you get a quadrupling of value. To go to $25,000 you essentially need a little less than 4x rise, which means you need to double the number of people who hold Bitcoin.” Ether (ETH), meanwhile, is currently sitting at $180 per coin. The number one altcoin has been trading in perfect sync with BTC, showing downward price behavior leading to its current trading position, courtesy of a loss of almost 3% on the day. Ether 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360 XRP, the third-largest coin by market capitalization, is no exception to today’s trend of red candlesticks and has been consistently losing ground in the past few days. The token sits at around $0.261 per coin, down 3.20% on the day at press time. According to regular Cointelegraph contributor Rakesh Upadhyay, XRP price is in danger of dropping to the next support at $0.24508. Upadhyay said that if this support holds, the altcoin will remain range-bound between $0.24508 and $0.31491 for a few more days. However, if the support cracks, a drop to $0.22 is likely. XRP 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360 It’s a red day for the top 20 Most of the top 20 coins are showing red candlesticks, with Tezos (XTZ) taking the title of biggest loser, showing a loss of more…

Alibaba Denies ‘Partnership’ With Lolli, Highlighting Crypto Industry Pitfalls

Alibaba Denies ‘Partnership’ With Lolli, Highlighting Crypto Industry Pitfalls

On Monday, CoinDesk reported the shopping app Lolli was offering bitcoin rewards to U.S.-based Alibaba shoppers for Singles Day. Alibaba Group representatives have since denied the “partnership” touted by Lolli CEO Alex Adelman. The fissure revealed a common misconception in the blockchain industry. “One of Alibaba.com’s contractors hired a subcontractor who brokered an affiliate marketing program with Lolli. This was done without the knowledge of Alibaba.com,” an Alibaba spokesperson told CoinDesk. “Alibaba.com’s contractor is terminating the relationship with the subcontractor who was working with Lolli. As a result, Lolli should no longer promote or bring traffic to Alibaba.com.” He added that Lolli “never had the right to claim a partnership with Alibaba.com or imply one with Alibaba Group.” In response, Adelman said, “There has to be an integration for us to send sales to someone’s site.” However inflated the promotion of this Singles Day campaign may have been, Adelman’s team wasn’t completely off-base. Contractual agreements seen by CoinDesk appeared to permit the usage of “Alibaba related keywords” in online materials. The startup had already been processing bitcoin rewards for AliExpress shoppers since May 2019. According to Lolli’s head of communications, Aubrey Strobel, Alibaba.com itself trialed Lolli’s services for 24 hours during the Singles Day campaign, then deactivated “the partnership” after publicity drew attention to the trial. Subsequent coverage of the announcement misrepresented the deal as Alibaba accepting bitcoin directly. As CoinDesk reported on Friday, Chinese regulators appear to be gearing up for a renewed crackdown on cryptocurrency exchange-related services. “It seems as though there was a miscommunication on Alibaba’s end and while that’s unfortunate, we look forward to the possibility of working with Alibaba.com again in the future,” Strobel said in a statement. “In the interim, Alibaba Group’s AliExpress is still live on Lolli.” Faux pas As it stands, the root cause of the mixed messaging is unclear. Blockchain companies often claim to have “partnerships” with brands when they really have an indirect affiliate contract or are merely working on a proof-of-concept. On the other hand, some paperwork with representatives from both parties had already been finalized and payments to shoppers were processed before the now-controversial announcement. This also underscores the challenge of defining what a “partnership” really means at the intersection of e-commerce and…

Bitcoin Falls Through Key Average as Traditional Markets Hit Record Highs

Bitcoin Falls Through Key Average as Traditional Markets Hit Record Highs

View Strong performances in traditional assets and a lack of new reasons to buy crypto is suppressing BTC’s price. A loss of the 50-day moving average exposes the $8,000 price level. The daily RSI shows that momentum slowing, which could hint at greater selling pressure in the short term. Bitcoin (BTC) is at risk of another sell-off after its price fell beneath a key moving average on Nov. 15, as a relatively strong performance by traditional assets caught investor attention. According to Jeff Dorman, CIO at Arca, an investment management firm dealing in digital assets, BTC’s drop in price is inversely correlated to the strength of global markets, including record highs of the DJIA, this week. “Volumes are low, no new money is coming into the ecosystem, and stocks, bonds and gold are all up double-digits year-to-date which makes the non-crypto world lose focus,” Dorman said. Daily chart At 14:00 UTC, BTC fell 2.1 percent breaking through the 50-day moving average (MA), flagging potential for a deeper drawdown from Oct. 25’s peak of $10,350. The loss of the 50-day MA means the price of BTC could fall through the $8,000 level, and, if combined with a looming long-term bear cross of the 100 and 200-day MA’s, could confirm a long-term bearish indicator. In addition, the RSI, a measurement of trader momentum and sentiment, did not exceed the neutral line at 50.00 after falling beneath that point on Nov. 10, hinting at greater selling pressure for next week. Total daily volume has remained flat since Nov. 12, meaning that there has been no new reason to buy or sell.  Dorman said trader sentiment today has less to do with negative events and more to do with a lack of positive catalysts, but the case for the bulls remains strong. “For Bitcoin, trying to time it perfectly is risky,” he said. Disclosure: The author holds no cryptocurrency assets at the time of writing. Wall Street image via Shutterstock; chart by Trading View

Tether to File Motion to Dismiss Class Action Lawsuit Based on NYAG Claims

Tether to File Motion to Dismiss Class Action Lawsuit Based on NYAG Claims

Tether has released a letter of intent saying that it plans to file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit that claims it manipulated the crypto market. The class action lawsuit seeks retribution for damages of more than $1 trillion. It’s based on an allegation made by the New York Attorney General’s office in April that USDT was not backed 1:1 by U.S. dollars and a study published by professors at the University of Texas at Austin alleging that a single account used USDT to drive up half the price of bitcoin’s 2017 surge. The letter, sent to the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York, claims that the plaintiffs’ lawsuit ignores a subsequent version of that academic paper where the authors withdrew one of its central allegations – that trading patterns reveal the issuance of unbacked Tethers. Last week, in a statement, Tether described the revised paper as “a watered-down and embarrassing walk-back” of the first version. As for its reserves, the company also points to the Transparency section of their website that shows $4.5 billion in assets, with a $100 million cushion above its liabilities. In the letter, Tether also claims that the plaintiffs could not prove Tether and Bitfinex, the exchange that issues Tethers, were responsible for the transactions that occurred or that the traders actually suffered injury from the market crash. The letter also refuted claims that Tether had monopoly power over the stablecoin market, had participated in racketeering, and committed common law fraud among other allegations. The original lawsuit, filed by David Leibowitz, Benjamin Leibowitz, Jason Leibowitz, Aaron Leibowitz and Pinchas Goldshtein, was filed by Vel Freedman and Kyle Roche – the lawyers who won a federal case against Craig Wright. Bitfinex, Tether, Digfinex and current executives; former chief strategy officer Philip Potter; and payment processor Crypto Capital are named as defendants in the case. Tether image via Shutterstock  

ConsenSys Strategy Chief Steps Down to Launch Venture Fund

ConsenSys Strategy Chief Steps Down to Launch Venture Fund

ConsenSys chief strategy officer Sam Cassatt is stepping down to launch a new venture fund, Aligned Capital, with the backing of ConsenSys founder Joe Lubin. ConsenSys said Cassatt will stay on with the ethereum venture studio in an advisory capacity. Speaking Friday at San Francisco’s TransTech Conference, Cassatt said his fund is seeking to raise $50 million for its first round. Aligned will focus on emerging technologies including artificial intelligence, healthcare, cryptocurrency and blockchain, according to a statement from Cassatt. In a blog post published Friday, Cassatt said the fund is “designed to anticipate civilization-scale, evolutionary changes in human behavior.” Also backing Aligned is DARMA Capital managing partner Andrew Keys, another former ConsenSys executive. The amount of Lubin and Keys’ capital participation was not disclosed. Although wholly separate from ConsenSys, Cassatt is looking to apply similar principles employed by his former firm, Cassatt said in a phone interview. While Aligned is still in its infancy, Cassatt said it’s looking to tackle societal issues such as safe artificial intelligence and mental health in the digital age. “Not only [are we] looking for that societal change, but [we are] noticing that institutions … are no longer serving their purpose,” Cassatt said. “I think we are at a crisis point.” Joining as an advisor to Aligned Capital is Nichol Bradford, the executive behind the Transformative Tech Lab organizing the Friday event in San Francisco. Nicholas Paul Brysiewicz, the director of development at the Long Now Foundation, is also listed as an advisor. The Long Now Foundation is best known as the entity building the 10,000 Year Clock inside a mountain in western Texas. Angel investor Seth Goldstein will be a venture partner, Cassatt said. As to the new fund’s long-term vision, Cassatt offered this: “You can come up with a lot of things as to why something would make some money. We are looking at where there are these momentous stepwise changes.” Sam Cassatt speaks at Ethereal Summit NY 2019, photo by Brady Dale for CoinDesk

German Regulator Orders ‘KaratGold Coin’ Issuer to Cease Operations

German Regulator Orders ‘KaratGold Coin’ Issuer to Cease Operations

The hammer is coming down again on the Karatbars ecosystem as German and South African regulators have taken separate actions over sales of a purportedly gold-backed cryptocurrency. Germany’s Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) disclosed Monday that it had issued a cease-and-desist order against Karatbit Foundation on Oct. 21 for issuing its KaratGold Coin without necessary licensing in the country.  Also Monday, South Africa’s Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) warned consumers to avoid investments offered by Karatbars International GmbH, a German firm that promotes the allegedly gold-backed KaratGold Coin. Under the BaFin order, the foundation must “wind up [its] electronic money business” in Germany, the regulator said.  BaFin did not respond to requests for comment by press time. Run on the ethereum blockchain, the KaratGold Coin (KBC) is listed on about 30 exchanges such as Yobit, with a second token, KaratBank Coin (KCB), yet to launch. The Belize-based Karatbit Foundation is the issuer of the KaratBank Coin and manager of the Karatbank ecosystem, according to the KaratBank Coin white paper, which describes the entity as “unregulated.” Map of the un-launched KaratCoinBank ecosystem image via KaratBank Coin’s white paper Karatbars International did not respond to questions by press time. Karatbars shoots back Meanwhile, Karatbars International has denied accusations leveled in German business publication Handlesblatt, according to a company Facebook posting Tuesday and a story published Wednesday by The Guardian. Handlesblatt reported Monday that the Karatbit Foundation is under orders to return investor funds amounting to $100 million, equivalent to the amount raised in a 2018 initial coin offering (ICO).  Harald Seiz, CEO of Karatbars, further said in the Facebook post that the German finance regulator is mistaken in its order against the firm, basing its actions on a scam website not associated with his firm. He further claimed that the Karatbit Foundation lies outside the regulator’s jurisdiction as German investors were barred from partaking in the ICO. “We are completely transparent, we have nothing to hide, if there are unanswered questions, we will clarify them, of course, we fully cooperate with the relevant authorities and are very anxious to clear up any misunderstandings as fast as possible interested,” Seiz said in the post. Seiz also said KaratGold Coin (KBC) is a utility token and therefore “not subject to…

BBC: New Files Allegedly Connect $450M in Lost Bitcoin to Russian Intelligence

BBC: New Files Allegedly Connect $450M in Lost Bitcoin to Russian Intelligence

$450 million worth of lost cryptocurrency from the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange WEX may have been transferred to a fund belonging to Russian intelligence agency the Federal Security Bureau (FSB), according to an investigation by the BBC’s Russian Service published on Nov. 15. The BBC’s recent investigation into the BTC-e crypto exchange case, in which co-founder Alexander Vinnik stands accused of fraud and laundering as much as $4 billion in Bitcoin (BTC) over the course of six years, has revealed new details which allegedly connect lost customer funds to the FSB. Demands to hand over crypto assets to the FSB The BBC retrieved audio files that allegedly connect a person named Anton — supposedly former FSB officer Anton Nemkin — with Aleksey Bilyuchenko, a co-founder of BTC-e, and Konstantin Malofeyev, who was purportedly behind the sale of WEX, a spin-off of troubled BTC-e. During a business meeting in 2018, Anton allegedly requested that Bilyuchenko hand the cold wallets containing crypto assets of WEX over to him. Following the purported handover, Bilyuchenko was delivered to an FSB department in Moscow, where several plainclothes officers questioned him about WEX operations. The following day, Anton allegedly demanded that Bilyuchenko passed on all cryptocurrency stored in WEX’s wallets, stating that the assets will be given to the “fund of FSB of Russia.” At the time, the wallets contained $450 million worth cryptocurrency, part of which belonged to the exchange’s customers. Bilyuchenko eventually agreed to transfer the aforementioned amount. The data from Blockchain.com and Explorer.Litecoin.net indicated that 30,000 BTC and 700,000 Litecoins (LTC) were transferred from the aforementioned wallets — equivalent to $350 million at the time. Other allegations against associated parties In July, Dmitri Vasilyev, former CEO of WEX, was arrested in Italy. In April 2019, Vasilyev became the subject of a criminal investigation by the police department in Kazakh city Almaty, as the alleged suspect was charged with defrauding a local investor in the amount of $20,000 through WEX exchange. That same month, United States prosecutors filed a complaint against BTC-e and Vinnik. Per the filing, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) determined civil penalties for BTC-e and Vinnik last year, who face fines of over $88 million and $12 million, respectively. The filing stated outright that BTC-e and…

US Federal Judge Rules in Favor Bitcoin IRA in Case Against Kingdom Trust

US Federal Judge Rules in Favor Bitcoin IRA in Case Against Kingdom Trust

A United States federal judge has ordered asset custodian Kingdom Trust to fully restore data access to all affected clients following the unilateral termination of customers’ access to their own account information on Bitcoin IRA’s website. Filed on Nov. 12, a court document reveals that South Dakota District Court Federal Judge Karen E. Schreier ruled in favor of Bitcoin IRA in the case against Kingdom Trust, where the latter allegedly breached a referral agreement by terminating customers’ access to their account data on Bitcoin IRA’s platform without providing prior notice. The breach of the referral agreement As described in the document, in September 2018, Bitcoin IRA and Kingdom Trust entered into a referral agreement, which indicated that Bitcoin IRA would refer its customers to use Kingdom Trust as a trust custodian. In return, Kingdom Trust agreed to pay Bitcoin IRA a referral fee for account owners who became Kingdom Trust customers. However, in August of 2019, Kingdom Trust unilaterally removed Bitcoin IRA’s application programming interface (API) access and stopped providing daily updated account information. This eventually led to inaccurate reflections of information about assets held in clients’ accounts. The ruling Schreier said in the ruling that “Kingdom Trust unilaterally terminated customers’ access to their own account data on Bitcoin IRA’s website, and it has not shown that the interference is justified.” Following the order release, Kingdom Trust must: “Fully restore to the condition and functionality existing prior to August 21, 2019, Alternative IRA Services LLC’s (Bitcoin IRA) access to account holder data of the accounts to which Bitcoin IRA is the account designated representative by the account holder, and account holder access to Bitcoin IRA’s online platform, thereby allowing the account holders to once again self-direct their retirement accounts online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” Expansion of crypto retirement savings offerings As cryptocurrencies become more widely adopted, holders are increasingly including digital assets in their retirement plans and savings accounts. On Nov. 13, Kingdom Trust along with major American crypto exchange Coinbase and alternative assets investment firm Regal Assets began offering cryptocurrency-based individual retirement and 401(K) accounts in the United States.  The new offering will purportedly give investors access to over 30 assets directly through Coinbase, with insurance protection provided by Lloyd’s…

Criminal Case Against Failed WEX Crypto Exchange Points at Russian Law Enforcement

Criminal Case Against Failed WEX Crypto Exchange Points at Russian Law Enforcement

The formerly anonymous administrator of the cryptocurrency exchange WEX, which shut down last summer, has made some shocking claims about the fate of “hundreds of millions” of dollars of clients’ cryptocurrency in talks with Russian police. Russian citizen Alexei Bilyuchenko, who confessed to being the tech administrator of the infamous BTC-e exchange and later co-founder of WEX, had been questioned as part of a criminal investigation underway in Russia since late 2018, BBC News Russian reported Friday. The report was based on materials of the probe, obtained by the BBC and reportedly confirmed as genuine by two sources “close to the  investigation.” In his statements, Bilyuchenko said he was forced to send all the cryptocurrency in WEX’s wallets to unnamed staffers of the Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor of the Soviet KGB, shortly before the exchange ceased operations. The admin further said he had been close to Alexander Vinnik, the alleged operator of BTC-e, which has been linked to the massive Mt. Gox hack and was shuttered by the FBI in July 2017. When Vinnik was arrested in Greece to face deportation to the U.S., Bilyuchenko, who was with Vinnik at the time, immediately fled for Russia, he told investigators. Back in Russia, Bilyuchenko used the database of BTC-e users to launch the WEX platform, together with OTC trader Dmitri Vasilev, the official owner of WEX at that time. However, after business quickly slumped, Vasilev reportedly told a local media source that he’d negotiated the sale of the exchange to Dmitri Khavchenko, who’d been a militia fighter in the war in Eastern Ukraine. Khavchenko is also said to have links to Konstantin Malofeev, a Russian oligarch who is believed to be a sponsor of the pro-Russian separatist forces in the war in Ukraine, as per the BBC report. According to Bilyuchenko’s police statements, in the summer of 2018, right before WEX collapsed, he was in talks with Malofeev, who wanted to obtain the database of the WEX users, presumed to be for a new crypto exchange named Vladex, the BBC says. Malofeev has previously denied links to WEX to the BBC, and would not comment for the latest report saying it was “based on fabricated materials,” the broadcaster says. According to an audio tape from the investigation, also…

Stablecoin Crisis Could Wreck Global Finance, Fed Warns in New Report

Stablecoin Crisis Could Wreck Global Finance, Fed Warns in New Report

The U.S. Federal Reserve Board on Friday warned that a stablecoin crisis could wreak havoc on the global economy and outlined the steps issuers must take to protect the status quo.  The central bank’s prognosis – buried deep in the November edition of its semiannual “Financial Stability Report” – rests on a stablecoin worst case outcome: a run on the issuers, in which coin holders panic en-masse and demand the return of the fiat they staked.  Stablecoins are a form of cryptocurrency that maintain their value by staking themselves to fiat reserves. While the volatility of bitcoin, the most widely-owned cryptocurrency, is a favorite talking point of its detractors, stablecoins are digital currencies backed 1:1 with a fiat asset or basket of currencies, and designed to maintain a steady value. The report’s concern is that something could go wrong with the way the stablecoin works – be it, with operations, liquidity, or credit. “This loss of confidence could lead to a run,” it said. “In an extreme scenario, holders may be unable to [liquidate], with potentially severe consequences for domestic or international economic activity, asset prices, or financial stability.” Since the fraught launch of the Libra stablecoin concept in June, the Fed Governors, along with U.S. regulators and counterparts abroad, have been sounding alarm bells. Beyond the digital currency question, the integration with mass consumer social network could be disastrous, the report warns. “Stablecoin initiatives that are built on existing large and cross-border customer networks, such as Facebook’s Libra, have the potential to rapidly achieve widespread adoption,” the report said, echoing comments made by Fed Governor Lael Brainard last month.  But now condensed into a single document, the report consolidates and formalize regulators’ concerns and notes the steps required to prevent a stablecoin catastrophe.  The Fed’s report said: Issuers must disclose how their staking mechanism works Issuers must protect customer data privacy while maintaining KYC records to prevent illicit use Issuers must disclose their terms of service Issuers must inform customers if they have any rights to the underlying asset “As the Group of Seven has noted, ‘no global stablecoin project should begin operation until the legal, regulatory and oversight challenges and risks outlined [in this report] are adequately addressed, through appropriate designs and by…