Tether in ‘Open Dialogue’ with DOJ, says Company on Report of its Executives Being Under Probe for Bank Fraud

Tether in ‘Open Dialogue’ with DOJ, says Company on Report of its Executives Being Under Probe for Bank Fraud

The dominant stablecoin with 62.15 billion circulating supply also blasted Bloomberg’s report as “repackaging stale claims” from years ago to “generate clicks,” adding that it is business as usual for the company.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is probing into the largest stablecoin regarding whether the executive behind it committed bank fraud during the early stages of its business, reported Bloomberg on Monday, citing three people with direct knowledge of the matter.

The agency will be looking into events from several years ago when Tether was launched in 2014 and examine whether the company concealed from banks that its transactions were linked to crypto.

The charge of bank fraud would make it a potential criminal case, and the formal charges could be brought in the coming weeks. In response, Tether said it

“routinely has open dialogue with law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice, as part of our commitment to cooperation, transparency, and accountability.”

Tether blasted Bloomberg’s report as “repackaging stale claims” from years ago to “generate clicks,” adding that it is business as usual for the company.

As of writing, Tether has a circulating supply of 62.15 billion, out of which nearly $31 billion is on Ethereum blockchain and almost $32 billion on Tron while the rest is spread across Solana, Omni, EOS, Liquid, Algorand, and SLP.

In total, stablecoins are all set to hit $112 billion in supply after starting 2021, around $29 billion. Tether accounts for 57.8% of this total market cap, followed by USDC, whose growing market share has reached 24.16%, and then BUSD at 10.54%.

A couple of months back, Tether released its quarterly report as part of the settlement deal with NYAG that revealed that 75.85% of Tether is backed by cash & cash equivalents.

“NYAG found we made mistakes in our disclosures re: 1-to-1 backing with dollars only. Those disclosures were rectified within just over 3 months,” said Paolo Ardoino, CTO at Tether and its sister company Bitfinex in response to Zero Hedge’s article” What Effect Would Tether Being A Complete Fraud Have On Cryptos?”

Earlier this month, the company behind USDT, Tether Operations, posted a job for a reputation manager that will “advocate” for the company in social media spaces and maintain a positive sentiment for the brand.

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Author: AnTy

Global Bitcoin ATM Installation Shoots Past 24,000 In 2021: Report

This year has seen a sharp increase in the number of crypto automated teller machines (ATMs) installed worldwide. Data from Coin ATM Radar shows that crypto ATM installation has increased by more than 70% to over 24,000 this year.

Over 10,000 Crypto ATMs Installed In 2021

No less than 10,000 new crypto ATMs have been installed this year alone, surpassing the 7,620 added in 2020, per Coin ATM Radar. These crypto ATMs are being installed at a speed of roughly 52.3 ATMs per day.

At press time, the crypto ATM tracker reported a total of 24,004 crypto ATMs globally. This represents a 71.73% growth from the 13,993 crypto machines earlier this year.

The US takes the lead for the country with the most installations, according to the report. There are over 21,161 ATMs in the US alone. Canada closely follows the US with 1,698 locations and the UK with 174 locations.

In terms of the manufacturers of the mahines, Genesis Coin tops the list with a total of 9,813 machines installed. This is closely followed by General Bytes with 5,720, Bitaccess with 2,766, and Coinsource with 1,684 machines.

The ATMs are operated by more than 600 different companies. Bitcoin Depot controls the market with about 15.8% market share.

Crypto ATM Operators Sealing Partnership Deals

Earlier this year, Bitcoin Depot started its expansion plans when it launched 115 kiosks across 24 US states, including Alabama, Minnesota, Florida, and California.

Bitcoin Depot has continued to grow its reach. Just last week, the crypto ATM operator sealed a partnership with convenience store chain Circle K.

Through this collaboration, Bitcoin Depot plans to expand its ATMs by installing over 6,000 kiosks across North America by the end of 2021.The partnership has resulted in the installation of more than 700 Bitcoin ATMs in the US and Canada.

Other operators like Coin Cloud and CoinFlip have also signed partnerships with celebrities to boost their operations. Coin Cloud partnered with Oscar-winning filmmaker Spike Lee to promote cryptocurrency ATMs in an ad campaign.

The multimillion-dollar media campaign was tagged “The Currency of Currency” and was directed by Lee.

Last month, Coinflip also partnered with actor and bitcoin investor Neil Patrick Harris on a marketing campaign. The campaign titled “So Flippin’ Easy,” was aimed at promoting cryptocurrency investing.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Cryptocurrencies Are A “Pure Trading Instrument,” says CEO of World’s Largest Hedge Fund

Cryptocurrencies Are A “Pure Trading Instrument,” says CEO of World’s Largest Hedge Fund

Luke Ellis, the CEO of Man Group, says cryptocurrencies have “no inherent worth whatsoever” and compared them to tulip bulbs mania but added that it’s suitable for trading.

“If you look at cryptocurrencies as a whole, it is a pure trading instrument. It has no inherent value. It’s a tulip bulb,” said Ellis, whose largest publicly listed hedge fund manages $127 billion in assets (AUM) as of March 31.

The London-based hedge fund manager uses quantitative models to make profits off of trends in markets, and crypto is one of them.

Ellis said cryptocurrencies were one of about 800 markets plus thousand of stocks and credits that they operate in. He said,

“We like to be long and short depending on what the models say is likely to happen in the market, and we will trade it in the long and short term with the same happiness and in as large a size as the market liquidity allows you to trade.”

“We trade S&P futures to sushi rice futures.”

But just because the hedge fund trades crypto doesn’t mean they are an asset management product in which they “offer value.” Crypto assets, he maintained, are “things to trade because they go up and down a lot.”

Like many people from traditional finance, Ellis is still in the phase of preferring blockchain technology, which he believes has potential, then cryptos that can be of “infinite numbers” because anyone can launch one any day.

While Ellis has his concerns and doubts about cryptocurrencies’ value, he understands what’s driving investors towards them. He said,

“The thing that worries customers the most is inflation.”

“I think we will stay in a world of very low rates until central banks lose control, and when they lose control, it will not be fun.”

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Author: AnTy

South Korea Proposing Revision of Tax Code to Allow the Confiscation of Crypto Assets of Tax Dodgers

South Korea Proposing Revision of Tax Code to Allow the Confiscation of Crypto Assets of Tax Dodgers

South Korea is now considering tightening its crackdown on tax evasion by cryptocurrency investors and high-income earners, said the finance ministry on Monday.

The government is proposing to revise tax codes that will allow tax authorities to seize tax dodgers’ crypto assets even if they are held in digital wallets, starting next year.

While virtual assets held on exchanges can be seized to pay overdue taxes, current regulations don’t allow confiscation of those stored in digital wallets.

This move is part of the country’s broader plan to tighten oversight of crypto markets to combat money laundering and other financial crimes using cryptocurrencies.

According to the statement, the tax review will be sent to parliament by Sept. 3 as the proposal needs approval from lawmakers to make it enforceable. This is just one part of the government’s once-a-year review of its tax system, which seeks to revise a total of 16 tax codes.

Interestingly, the revision will lead to a decline of at least 1.5 trillion won ($1.30 billion) in tax revenue between now and 2026 as tax breaks for research and development in vaccines, batteries, and semiconductors sectors more than offset any additional revenue expected, according to the ministry.

But finance minister Hong Nam-ki said at a news conference that “it isn’t that big of an amount and something necessary as we revised tax codes.”

President Moon Jae-in looks to expand the tax base to cover the rising welfare costs. In this context, the government has already been hiking taxes from conglomerates and big earners.

South Korea became the world’s fastest-aging society with the lowest birth rate in 2020. With this move, the government wants to ensure that wealthy citizens share the burden of the growing costs of an aging population.

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Author: AnTy

FCA’s Crackdown Hits Another One After Binance, Which Has ‘Not’ Seen Institutional Activity Slowdown

FCA’s Crackdown Hits Another One After Binance, Which Has ‘Not’ Seen Institutional Activity Slowdown

Rather, this continued interest from institutional investors is coming not only from crypto native firms but also from traditional finance institutions. Meanwhile, in the US, DeFi is on regulators’ radar where with no intermediary, the question is, “who do we put this on?”

Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said that crypto broker CoinBurp is not fully authorized to have its initial token offering and the launch of its BURP token planned for Monday.

However, the company can start a business under its temporary registration, the FCA added, as long as it has the controls in place.

Last week, the project raised $6 million to build a non-fungible tokens (NFTs) marketplace. Last week, in a press statement, CoinBurp claimed to be a “regulated broker” and said that all the NFTs listed on its market could be sold to investors.

Although CoinBurp is listed on the watchdog’s temporary registration register, this status only allows them to trade. The watchdog said the company isn’t yet assessed as “fit and proper” or entitled to claim to be authorized by the FCA as the regular has yet to determine their application for the money laundering regulations. The UK regulator said in its statement,

“The firm does not yet hold full FCA registration under the money laundering, terrorist financing, and transfer of funds (information on the payer) regulations … but has submitted an application for the FCA for registration.”

For some time now, FCA’s crackdown has been going on with Binance, which has no headquarters, particularly bearing the brunt of it. This has resulted in several big UK banks such as Barclays, Santander, and NatWest banning retail customers from sending money to the exchange.

Due to this, several hedge funds, according to the Financial Times, have also curbed trading on Binance as a regulatory crackdown on it continues to grow.

However, Binance told FTX that it has “not seen a slowdown in institutional activity. On the contrary, we have seen continued interest in our institutional offering from not only crypto native firms but also traditional financial institutions that have entered the crypto space.”

Amidst this, on Monday, Binance reduced the leverage from previously 125x to now 20x.

Meanwhile, DeFi is on US regulators’ radar, with CFTC Commissioner Dan Berkovitz saying in an interview,

“I’m very concerned there’s none of the reporting, none of the normal pricing and regulatory limits. The bottom line is there’s no free lunch anywhere in the economic system.”

As we saw last week, Uniswap Labs delisted several tokens from the exchange. With no intermediaries in decentralized finance, which has grown to become $110 billion in total value locked (TVL) and $85 billion in total market cap, the question is, “who do we put this on?” said Alabama Securities Commission Director Joseph Borg.

While Sen. Elizabeth Warren is urging regulators to rein in DeFi activities, Borg said, SEC and CFTC would have to come together to assess the potential possibilities and potential risks. OCC spokesperson Bryan Hubbard said,

“While DeFi, by definition, is decentralized and does not necessarily rely on the banking system, there are linkages, which are part of our review through the lens of responsible innovation, cognizant of the potential benefits of new technologies while focused on understanding the potential risks and use cases.”

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin Shorts Get Annihilated, OI Drops by 50k BTC from Last Week

While Bybit Bitcoin’s futures had the biggest drop of 15.59% in OI, followed by Binance’s 12% in the past 24 hours, Bitfinex, FTX, and CME had the biggest increase of 12.81%, 11.54%, and 11.86%, respectively.

Bitcoin price surged to nearly $40,000 in a strong upwards move, late on Sunday or early Monday. This represents a nearly 36% jump in price since the $29,300 low last Tuesday.

While several factors like Alameda Research putting in a bottom by “buying a LOT” at the lows, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced his bullishness for crypto, and speculation over Amazon’s potential involvement in the cryptocurrency sector contributed to this bullish strength, shorts have a significant part to play in this.

As we have been reporting for the past month, the funding rates on the perpetual contracts have been staying in the negative, with the market extremely short on BTC. At the same time, open interest continued to climb sharply.

And finally, an epic short squeeze happened.

In the past 24 hours, 102,558 traders have been liquidated for $1.14 billion, with nearly $945 million of it belonging to shorts, as per Bybt.

The figure is expected to be much higher given that Binance had stopped showing its real liquidation numbers and is currently accounting for less than 20% of all liquidations when it used to be about half, much like Bybit.

“Bitcoin shorts just got blown out. Quarterly basis popped from 5% to >10% briefly,” noted trader and economist Alex Kruger.

Amidst this, Binance and FTX have reduced their leverage offering from more than 100x previously to now only up to 20x. Andrew Kang, Mechanism Capital, said,

“Usually, big short squeezes like we saw on BTC today bleed out, but this continued upward momentum is pretty indicative of shorts/stables being price-insensitive buyers trying to scoop any liquidity they can.”

The result of this short squeeze can also be seen in open interest. Total OI on Bitcoin futures has crashed by 50k BTC — currently at 349.7k BTC from over 400k BTC less than a week back.

In the past 24 hours, OI on Bybit Bitcoin’s futures had the most significant drop of 15.59%, followed by Binance’s 12%, which leads the futures space. OI on Binance is now at 79.1k BTC, down from 101.37k BTC on June 20, which increased 78% in nearly a month as new short positions were opened.

Meanwhile, Bitfinex, FTX, and CME had the most significant increase of 12.81%, 11.54%, and 11.86%, respectively, as of writing.

In the case of Ether, Binance is the only with a decrease, of only about 3.67%, though, in OI. Total Ether OI is now 2.54 million ETH, down from 2.94 million ETH in less than a week. SplitCapital said,

“Make no mistake, the real pain won’t come from shorts rather the absurd amount of people that are parked all in stablecoins. They won’t chase till 40k breaks.”

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Author: AnTy

Robinhood Considering Offering US Retirement Accounts (IRAs), Which Are Holding $12.6 Trillion

Robinhood Considering Offering US Retirement Accounts (IRAs), Which Are Holding $12.6 Trillion

“We see evidence that the majority of our customers are primarily buy and hold,” said Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev on a webcast over the weekend.

Robinhood Markets, which also offers trading in select few cryptocurrencies with 34% of its revenue coming just from Dogecoin (DOGE), is now considering launching US retirement accounts. Co-founder and CEO Vlad Tenev shared this on a webcast over the weekend.

Robinhood has about 18 million funded investment accounts on its platforms, the majority of which belong to retail traders. Offering individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and Roth IRAs, which provide tax advantages to those saving for retirement, would extend Robinhood’s market vastly.

Americans held $12.6 trillion in IRAs at the end of March, up 2.8% from December-end. Tenev said,

“We are interested in building more account types, including IRAs and Roth IRAs, we’ve been hearing that a lot from our customers. We want to make first-time investors into long-term investors.”

IRAs tend to attract long-term investments due to penalties in withdrawing money.

“We see evidence that the majority of our customers are primarily buy and hold,” said Tenev in the live-streamed presentation.

During the same presentation, the Zero-fee brokerage stock trading app also made a case for its initial public offering to investors of all kinds. While events like these, which are called roadshows, are typically limited to hedge funds and other institutions ahead of an IPO, Robinhood made its presentation available for everyone.

The company targets a valuation of up to $35 billion in its IPO, with 20% to 35% shares allocated for its users.

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Author: AnTy

Binance Bitcoin Futures Skyrockets to $48,000 in a Monster Wick

OI on Binance BTC futures is currently at 78.89k BTC, down from 101.37k BTC from last week, while being the only exchange to have a negative change in ETH futures’ OI in the past 24 hours but still sitting at the highest 627k ETH.

The textbook short squeeze that took place this weekend saw the price of bitcoin going as high as $48,000 on the leading cryptocurrency exchange.

On other crypto exchanges, this short squeeze sent the price of bitcoin to nearly $40,000 and Ether to almost $2,400, with Binance an anomaly.

On Binance itself, while Bitcoin wicked to about $39,800 on spot and on futures, it went as high as $48,168. In response, Binance has reportedly said that “API user place wrong orders, the liquidation price is the marked price, the extreme price will be automatically removed, and the user will not be affected.”

In the past 24 hours, more than 100,000 traders were liquidated for about $1.14 billion, with nearly $950 million being the short positions.

Bybit accounted for a majority of these liquidations at about $440 million, followed by OKEx and Huobi for just under $220 million, according to Bybt.

Binance, meanwhile, is accounting for a mere 11.4% of these liquidations at $129.5 million. However, the leading crypto exchange has stopped showing accurate liquidation for some time now, and these figures are expected to be much higher. Previously, Binance used to lead the market in liquidations.

This can be seen in the second-biggest drop of over 12% in OI on Binance’s Bitcoin futures in the past 24 hours.

Currently, at 78.89k BTC, it is down from 101.37k BTC on June 20, which was an increase of 78% in nearly a month as new short positions were opened. Still, it is the highest OI, accounting for 22.7% of the total BTC futures open interest.

“Binance straight up under-reports liq data, but OI down by ~12k BTC following that move and net buying on that 1m candle was ~12k BTC. Good ol cascade,” commented trader Hsaka. “Around ~$600m of forced buying in under 60 seconds.”

When it comes to Ether futures, only Binance has a negative change of 4.45% in the past 24 hours, now sitting at the highest 627k ETH while others had an increase in OI.

Amidst all this, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao announced that they have started limiting new users to a maximum of 20x leverage a week ago on Monday.

“In the interest of Consumer Protection, we will apply this to existing users progressively over the next few weeks,” he added.

Meanwhile, several hedge funds have curbed their trading on Binance as the regulatory crackdown on it intensifies, the Financial Times reported.

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Author: AnTy

Binance and FTX Cut Down Leverage to Just 20x from Over 100x

The average leverage used on FTX is about 2x, says CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, while CZ says this move has been in the interest of Consumer Protection.

“Today, we’re removing high leverage from FTX. The greatest allowable will be 20x,” down from 101x, announced Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO and founder of cryptocurrency derivatives platform FTX over the weekend. Ceteris Paribus commented,

“No-brainer considering FTX users don’t seem to be ultra degens and puts them on better standing with regulators. IMO the argument about high leverage isn’t even if it’s right or wrong, regulators will not allow it in the long-run. may as well front-run it.”

Just last week, FTX had announced that it had raised $900 million, with a valuation of $18 billion, from many big names, including Coinbase ventures and to whom buying financial giants like Goldman Sachs or CME is “not out of the question” either.

The decision to reduce leverage has come as the crypto market experiences a strong bounce off of lows.

Binance, which has exited its investment in FTX, has also joined in. CEO Changpeng Zhao said on Twitter that they have already started limiting new users to a maximum of 20x leverage a week ago. Previously, it offered a maximum of 125 times leverage.

“In the interest of Consumer Protection, we will apply this to existing users progressively over the next few weeks.”

Meanwhile, several hedge funds have curbed their trading on Binance amidst a growing regulatory crackdown on it, the Financial Times reported.

An Effective Margin System

“After lots of back and forth, we’re going to be the ones to take the first step here: a step in the direction the industry is headed and has been headed for a while,” said Bankman-Fried as he explained in one of his famous Twitter threads.

While some are not happy with this cut-down, especially as the market seems to be getting back in the bull mode, others praised this move, noting that extremely high leverage doesn’t turn out to be positive in the long term. Not to mention, crypto is inherently highly volatile and sees big moves regularly.

“A great move,” said Austerity Sucks, adding, above 20x is “just marketing, and is associated w/shadiness now (“100x group”) there’s no real strategic benefit to such high leverage (except maybe spreads), and can legit hurt retail.”

In the Twitter thread, Bankman-Fried further shared his reasoning behind the same, noting that their product and margin system “tend to attract sophisticated users,” and liquidation on FTX normal orders happens without any extra loss.

He further shared that, much like every other exchange, on FTX as well, liquidations are “a tiny fraction” (less than 1%) of volume and positions. And while “many users have expressed that they like having the option, very few use it,” added Bankman-Fried.

According to him, the average leverage used on FTX is about 2x, and high leverage is not an essential part of the crypto ecosystem.

“An effective margin system is integral to an efficient economic system,” said Bankman-Fried.

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Author: AnTy

BTC and ETH Rallies to Confirm Double-Bottom Pattern, Those Sitting in Stablecoins to Take Them Higher

Now that Alameda Research, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Bitcoin shorts, and speculation over Amazon’s potential involvement in the cryptocurrency sector have done their part. $40k is the point of interest which is the largest OI for the upcoming BTC options expiry this Friday.

In a strong upwards move, Bitcoin has bounced off of $29,350 low last week to $39,800 on Coinbase in the late hours of Sunday or early on Monday.

Up 11% in the past 24 hours and over 21% in the past week, the price of Bitcoin has now reached a level not seen in nearly six weeks.

While Bitcoin has breached the key level of $35,000, Ether also rallied to more than 7% to almost $2,400, a level last seen earlier this month. In the past week, ETH has soared nearly 24%.

With this move, both Bitcoin and Ethereum have confirmed a classic double-bottom pattern. This pattern signals the reversal and the beginning of a potential uptrend.

This uptrend that pushed BTC above the crucial technical level for the first time since early May came in the aftermath of Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s conference with Ark Investment Management LLC’s Cathie Wood and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, where he revealed that he himself owns BTC, ETH, and DOGE and his other company SpaceX is also a long term holder of the leading cryptocurrency. And, of course, he only pumps and never dumps.

Interestingly, FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried’s quant trading firm Alameda Research put a bottom last week.

Alameda is “buying a LOT more over the past day or so,” shared Sam Trabucco, a trader at Alameda. “We’re continuing to buy down here, because it really just seems like too much points that way.”

From here, those sitting on the sidelines in the safety of the stablecoins are expected to drive the market further. Stablecoin supply on crypto exchanges also remains high.

For BTC, $40k is expected to be the level where taking it out convincingly will mean, “we are heading towards $50K quite quickly as there is a lot of crypto native capital that is still sitting on the sidelines,” according to SpartanBlack of crypto fund The Spartan Group. “If we break this level, the bull market is back, and a ton of capital will pile in.”

$40k is also the largest open interest for the upcoming bitcoin options expiry this Friday, as per Skew.

The short squeeze also drove this rally as 103,889 traders got liquidated for $1.14 billion in the past 24 hours. With Binance no more showing complete liquidations, it is expected to be a much bigger figure.

Total open interest on Bitcoin futures also dropped by more than 50k BTC — currently at 349.7k BTC from over 400k BTC less than a week back.

Interestingly, after a brief jump in funding rate, the highest is currently on FTX at 0.0168% and still negative on the majority of the exchanges. On Sunday, the funding rate on FTX and Deribit also decoupled from the rest of the market by being positive.

Trader CL of eGirl Capital meanwhile noted that almost every FTX altcoin September futures have been in multi-week/month backwardation. These fixed interest rate markets are of importance as they are an approx. Summary of OTC desk rates for borrow, he added.

Additionally, “bybit traders have been selling their spot coins, into USDT, and migrating to USDT futures,” which means these traders that dumped all their coins would have to buy back to take part in this rally, stated CL.

Some also attributed this rally to ongoing speculation over Amazon.com’s potential involvement in the crypto sector.

The tech giant is not only hiring for a cryptocurrency and blockchain lead but also looking to accept Bitcoin payments “by the end of the year” with its very own native token to make payments and earn loyalties in on the cards for 2022 reported a media publication citing an insider.

“This isn’t just going through the motions to set up cryptocurrency payment solutions at some point in the future – this is a full-on, well-discussed, integral part of the future mechanism of how Amazon will work,” an Insider told City AM.

“It begins with Bitcoin – this is the key first stage of this crypto project, and the directive is coming from the very top… Jeff Bezos himself.” The plan, which has been ongoing since 2019, apparently also involves moving to other big cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, Cardano, and Bitcoin Cash once a fast and secure method of Bitcoin payment is established.

“This entire project is pretty much ready to roll,” they added.

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Author: AnTy