China Back on Attack Mode, Internet Blocking Exchanges & Bitcoin Miners Ordered to Shut Down

China Back on Attack Mode, Internet Blocking Exchanges & Bitcoin Miners Ordered to Shut Down

This time, Bitcoin price is not responding to the reports of a crackdown from China which extends beyond the crypto sector, ahead of the 100th anniversary of the ruling Communist Party on July 1, trading around $36,500.

China has taken some strict measures against cryptocurrency exchanges and bitcoin mining yet again ahead of the politically sensitive 100th anniversary of the ruling Communist Party on July 1.

However, these measures aren’t restricted to the crypto sector alone but extends to banks, education, and the internet.

Major internet services in China, Baidu, Zhihu, and Sogo, are blocking the keywords associated with the top three crypto exchanges Binance, Huobi, and OKEx.

“According to the relevant laws, regulations, and policies, the search results have not been displayed,” reads the message on social media. Over the weekend, Weibo also blocked a large number of crypto Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) in China.

Reportedly, the Payment and Clearing Association, a subsidiary of the Central Bank of China, has also stated that 13% of gambling websites support crypto and use the anonymity of blockchain technology to conceal fund transfers.

Additionally, the Reform and Development Commission in the Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture in Xinjiang issued a notice on Wednesday ordering its subordinate government officials in the Zhundong Economic Technological Development Park to shut down all crypto mining activities.

Xinjiang province is one of the major economic and technological development zones in China, which is home to coal-based power plants and industrial factories, including some of the largest Bitcoin mining facilities due to fossil fuel energy.

This move was taken by the authorities based on the high-level bitcoin trading and mining crackdown brought up during the China State Council meeting last month.

This has resulted in the hash rate of the top mining pools plummeting by 20% to 25%, as per BTC.com. So far, Bitcoin’s hash rate per day is at 166.1 Th/s, up from last month’s 118.7 Th/s caused by China’s crackdown but still down from 171.4 Th/s ATH on May 13, according to Bitinfocharts.

According to the Chinese publication Wu Blockchain, there are three mining regions in China: Inner Mongolia, which relies heavily on coal-based mining and has already stopped mining cryptocurrency completely, Sichuan depends on hydropower which may not stop, and Xinjiang, where the situation is complicated but the term used in the document is “to suspend for rectification,” and not as strict as Inner Mongolia. It added,

“In addition to the uncertainties of government supervision, China is experiencing a new power shortage. The core reason is that China’s main power generation area and main power consumption area are separated in the west and east, which also has an impact on current Bitcoin mining.”

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies continue to face price pressure due to rising regulatory concerns from China. This time, however, BTC price is not affected, going to $36,700 despite the reports, after the drop to $31,000 on Tuesday.

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Author: AnTy

Crypto Exchanges Kraken, Bitfinex, and KuCoin Exploring India for Entry: Report

Crypto Exchanges Kraken, Bitfinex, and KuCoin Exploring India for Entry: Report

After cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, U.S.-based Kraken, Hong Kong-based Bitfinex, and rival KuCoin are actively exploring ways to set up in India, reported Reuters, citing people familiar with the matter.

Despite the uncertainty around the country’s regulatory stance on crypto, India has reportedly 15 million crypto investors in India, holding over 100 billion rupees ($1.37 billion).

Binance acquired the Indian crypto startup Wazirx in 2019, and Coinbase also announced plans for a back office in India. Now, these crypto exchanges are looking to enter a young nation of 1.35 billion people.

“These companies have already begun talks to understand the Indian market and the entry points better,” one source directly involved was quoted as saying.

While one exchange has already begun its due diligence for an Indian firm it was considering acquiring, the others were still in initial states and weighing their options. Founder of digital bank Cashaa, Kumar Gaurav, said,

“The Indian market is huge, and it is only starting to grow; if there was more policy certainty by now, Indian consumers would have been spoilt for choice in terms of exchanges because everyone wants to be here.”

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Author: AnTy

Riksbank Governor Believes Crypto Regulation is Certain, But Exchanges & Trading Is Already Regulated

Riksbank Governor Believes Crypto Regulation is Certain, But Exchanges & Trading Is Already Regulated

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin won’t evade regulation, according to Sveriges Riksbank (Sweden’s apex bank) boss Stefan Ingves.

Crypto Regulation Coming Soon

Sweden’s central bank governor Stefan Ingves said that Bitcoin’s popularity had caught the attention of regulators worldwide, Bloomberg reports.

“When something gets big enough, things like consumer interests and money laundering come into play.”

“So there’s good reason to believe that regulation will happen.”

Cryptocurrencies have boomed as more investors look for ways to protect their wealth.

Given the belief that these digital currencies are better stores of value than traditional fiat and precious metals like gold, the industry rode the high waters with Bitcoin surging 90%, leading the crypto market to its first trillion-dollar valuation in just 12 years.

This phenomenal growth has attracted legacy-backed financial institutions like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase.

The shift to digital forms of financial settlement has caught the eye of regulators like Ingves.

However, the Riksbank boss noted that regulatory oversight of the burgeoning industry would likely come at different times in different areas.

Echoing the thoughts of her counterpart, Sweden’s Financial Markets Minister Asa Lindhagen noted that the Nordic nation is working on tightening regulatory standards for crypto exchange platforms.

However, she said regulation of these exchanges was a work in progress at the international scene.

Lindhagen also spoke on the need to address money laundering risks in the crypto space, which she describes as a “very important issue” that would require cross-border cooperation to succeed.

Providing regulatory clarity in the crypto sector can be a daunting task, as US Federal Reserve’s Vice Chairman of Supervision Randal Quarles pointed out at a congressional hearing in Washington. Quarles stated that Federal officials are working on regulating the crypto sector. However, he believes the government would need time to develop a dynamic regulatory framework.

However, in a Twitter post, crypto enthusiast @VentureCoinist pointed out that the call for crypto regulations only surfaces when there is a market slump. He mentioned how the government was already regulating the sector through tax laws, compulsory KYC updates, and geo-limiting leveraged products.

Crypto Still Has Supporters

The regulatory uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrencies is not a problem for Asian giant China. In a fresh burst of sanctions, Chinese regulatory agencies have called for the end of crypto payments in the country. This is following renewed efforts to stop Bitcoin mining in its Inner Mongolia region.

However, crypto is still supported by several countries. Australia and Canada are two crypto-friendly countries that have welcomed the industry with open arms.

Australia’s Financial Services Minister even stated recently that the government wasn’t considering a crypto ban in the country.

Canada has enabled institutional investments in the digital asset space through the approval of Bitcoin and Ethereum exchange-traded funds (ETFs). So far, the region boasts of eight crypto ETFs in the country.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Both Coinbase.com and Pro Now Support USDT, “Making Arbitrage Across Exchanges Faster”

Both Coinbase.com and Pro Now Support USDT, “Making Arbitrage Across Exchanges Faster”

For now, Coinbase only supports ERC20 USDT. The total USDT market supply meanwhile surges past 52 billion, up 147% so far this year.

  • Coinbase Pro is officially starting the trading of USDT.
  • The exchange is providing support for six pairs viz. BTC-USDT, ETH-USDT, USDT-EUR, USDT-GBP, USDT-USD, and USDT-USDC.
  • Along with this came the announcement that Coinbase.com is now also supporting USDT.

On Monday, the exchange said that the popular stablecoin will now be available on the main Coinbase platform along with its iOS and Android apps.

“Coinbase customers can now buy, sell, convert, send, receive, or store USDT,” said the exchange. USDT is available in all the supported regions except for New York State.

At this time, the exchange only supports ERC20 USDT running on the Ethereum blockchain, clarified Coinbase as USDT is issued on several blockchains including Tron, EOS, Liquid, Algorand, Solana, and other blockchains.

As of writing, nearly $27 billion USDT is issued on the Tron blockchain compared to almost $26 billion on Ethereum, as per the Tether website.

The total supply of the dominant stablecoin in the market has currently climbed past $52 billion, up 147% so far this year, as per CoinGecko.

According to Paolo Ardoino, the CTO of crypto exchange Bitfinex and its sister company Tether, the largest crypto exchange in the US supporting USDT is of importance because of arbitrage.

“Traders arb across multiple exchanges,” and speed of transfer and low friction are key to that, he noted.

Launched in 2014, Tether was created exactly for this use case, making arbitrage across exchanges faster, he said. Now, after seven years, “all exchanges will be all tethered by a common, high liquidity stablecoin.”

While the dominance of USDT is gradually decreasing in the market as more and more competitors like USDC and BUSD gain traction, Ardoino points out that it is still 4x the second biggest stablecoin USDT with a market cap of just under $15 billion, up 277% YTD. He added,

“Tether and Bitfinex are setting up a massive strategy (including spin-offs and investments) that will open mind-blowing opportunities for the next decade, and this might well be an understatement.”

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Author: AnTy

As Adoption Sets In, 60% of Crypto Investors Are Storing Funds On Exchanges: Binance

As Adoption Sets In, 60% of Crypto Investors Are Storing Funds On Exchanges: Binance

Binance’s latest report shows that most crypto owners are hodlers. The prevalence of Bitcoin hodlers could also lead to a liquidity crunch as traders’ demand rises.

The cryptocurrency market is getting more diverse. Many have had different preferences and reasons to stay in the market, with different facets and sub-industries available.

In a new report, top crypto exchange Binance shared details of the market’s status and how investors see digital assets in general.

Hodl, Hodl, Hodl

This week, the top exchange shared its 2021 Global Crypto User Index, a report showing crypto users’ perception of digital assets across the board. The report outlined a survey conducted between September 15 and October 25, 2020. Binance took responses from 61,000 crypto users across 178 countries and regions.

Most prominent in the report is the distribution of crypto users by reason. As Binance noted, the vast majority of crypto users are “hodlers.” Hodlers is a crypto term used to describe investors who purchase digital assets to keep long term. The poll shows that 39 percent of respondents are hodlers, followed by 28 percent who claimed to be keeping their cryptos to buy other cryptos.

22 percent of respondents said that they primarily use their digital assets for lending and staking, the latter of which has been prevalent in the past year. Only 11 percent of investors claimed that they use their cryptocurrencies for payments, showing that the asset class has yet to fulfill its potential as a viable payment method.

Solidifying Fears of a Liquidity Crisis

The prevalence of hodlers in the industry shows that a lot of investors are using their assets as a store of value. While many in the traditional finance space have criticized digital assets for their volatility, assets like Bitcoin have consistently delivered higher returns than their competitors.

However, having more hodlers in the industry also reinforces the fears of a possible liquidity crisis. Day traders have been left to fend for themselves, with Bitcoin in short supply. Earlier this month, Glassnode reported that 78 percent of the Bitcoin available in circulation is illiquid, with only 4.2 million tokens changing hands. Mining rig manufacturers are also working extra to push out new hardware to mine new bitcoins.

Last week, Reuters reported that mining companies had been running out of inventory as miners are working double-time to meet the increasing demand for Bitcoin. Bitmain, the industry’s top mining rig manufacturer, has maxed its production capacity and won’t have any inventory until August.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Crypto Industry Capitalizing on Wall Street’s Losses Big Time, And Getting Rewarded

Crypto trading platforms see new user signups and increased traffic while exchanges like Bittrex and FTX list the stocks delisted on Robinhood. Blockfolio meanwhile announced both crypto and stocks trading with “no fees.”

As WallStreetBets and Wall Street suits’ battle intensifies, the crypto industry reaps the benefits while providing the perfect solution for retail traders.

Cryptocurrency trading platforms are enjoying a jump in traffic and user signups since Robinhood suspended trading on highly volatile assets, resulting from the platform having a cash crunch.

“All the new users rushing in… teething issues,” tweeted Changpeng Zhao, “CZ,” the CEO of Binance, addressing users experiencing issues with trading, deposits, and withdrawals.

Coinbase also saw its ranking on the App store jump about 45 spots suggesting increased retail activity. Voyager Digital meanwhile reported “100 new accounts a minute.” Others are reporting similar issues — heightened usage as the stocks traders jump on to the cryptocurrencies.

One of the biggest recipients of this interest was the meme coin Dogecoin (DOGE) that saw its value rising a whopping 1,128% to as high as $0.860. Currently trading around $0.047, the coin was recording more than double the volume at $28.4 bln than Bitcoin’s $13.78 bln earlier in the day. These gains helped DOGE become a $5.92 billion market cap cryptocurrency and climb the 11th place.

As we reported, WallStreetBets can pump this coin to $1. But before they could go all in, Robinhood suspended buys on every crypto asset. The zero commission trading platform halted trading on the cryptos — supported digital assets are Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin SV (BSV), Dogecoin (DOGE), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), and Litecoin (LTC) — along with GME, AMC, and others, which got it all started.

This has pushed traditional users towards the crypto market. Crypto exchanges have already been capitalizing on this, with FTX being the first one to do so. As always, the derivatives platform jumped on this opportunity by listing GME, AMC, and BB. The exchange took it further and introduced a special WSB index that included GME, AMC, SLV, BB, NOK, DOGE, and its native token, FTT.

It just didn’t stop there; FTX is ready to eat all this by announcing crypto and stocks trading with “no fees” on Blockfolio, which FTX acquired in a $150 million deal about six months back. The app has more than 6 million users, as per the official website.

Cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex also joined in as it announced, “We’ll list every single stock that RobinhoodApp delists as a tokenized stock. Blockchain is the real way we democratize the financial system together.”

But this is just the beginning, and the market expects to see a herd of new investors joining the decentralized wave.

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Author: AnTy

Blockchain.com to Follow Other Exchanges; Freezing XRP Trading on January 14th

Blockchain.com to Follow Other Exchanges; Freezing XRP Trading on January 14th

Blockchain.com is the latest crypto exchange to halt XRP trading according to an announcement by the firm on January 4. This crypto exchange service provider joins a list of other exchanges that have taken a similar stance since the SEC filed a lawsuit against XRP’s parent company, Ripple.

The statement highlights that Blockchain.com will halt XRP trading within its platform from January 14 at 11:59 pm GMT. It goes on to clarify that XRP traders will retain access to their coins, as well as the ability to send them out, but the exchange will no longer facilitate XRP deposits.

Blockchain.com also made it clear that the action against XRP is a result of the ongoing lawsuit against Ripple, where the SEC claims that it raised $1.3 billion through an unregistered ICO. In essence, the regulator views XRP as an unregistered security.

Ripple’s woes have seen the price of XRP plummet despite the ongoing bull run; in fact, it slid down from 3rd position in market cap to stand at 5th as of press time. Popular exchanges that have already taken action to freeze XRP include Bittrex, Binance U.S, eToro, and Coinbase.

Meanwhile, there is another bandwagon of exchanges that are taking a wait-and-see approach. One of them is Uphold which recently issued its statement clarifying that it will continue to list XRP unless a court decision favors the SEC.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

GBTC has Greater Market Penetration than the Most Popular S&P 500 ETF

Last week, Bitcoin hit a new high on several cryptocurrency exchanges, but it has been stuck in a range since then.

At the time of writing, BTC/USD has been trading around $19,000 with $1.86 billion in trading volume.

However, the digital asset is still up over 167% run-up YTD and made an all-time high weekly close over the weekend.

As we have been reporting, unlike the retail-driven bull run of 2017, 2020 is looking more institutional driven where the financial industry is playing a bigger role.

“The multitude of regulated crypto exchanges and custodians has eliminated the ‘career risk’ for institutional investors,” PwC’s Hong Kong-based Global Crypto Leader Henri Arslanian said in an interview with Bloomberg.

“In 2017, there was retail FOMO. The question is whether we will see institutional FOMO in 2021.”

GBTC’s the Way to Go

According to JPMorgan Chase strategist, Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) points to the institutional demand, taking the crypto market beyond millennials’ retail demand.

GBTC’s “exponential” growth, which has swollen to over $10 million from $2 billion in Dec. last year, suggests that institutional investors like family offices and asset managers played a bigger role in the recent rally, a team of JPM strategies led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou wrote in a note.

GBTC is currently trading at a 27.52% premium to the price of Bitcoin.

The firm saw about $720 million of inflows in the third quarter, 81% of which came from hedge funds. According to Michael Sonnenshein, managing director of Grayscale Investments, the size of investment allocations is also growing.

GBTC actually stands out as a market leader in terms of market penetration, as per TradeBlock. GBTC’s AUM is just shy of 3% of the total BTC market cap, which is much larger than other investment trusts and ETFs in different markets. GBTC is followed by the most popular S&P 500 ETF, SPY, at 1.25% market penetration.

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Last month, Guggenheim Partners reserved the right for its $5.3 billion fund to invest in Bitcoin via GBTC.

“Institutional investors are keen on portfolio construction in the wake of Covid, and the ways they need to reposition themselves given how governments have injected stimulus into the system,” said Sonnenshein.

Compared to $52 trillion funds managed by institutional investors, the Bitcoin market at $355 billion and the crypto market at $570 billion are still very small.

But as legendary investor Paul Tudor Jones himself said, because of this gap between Bitcoin and the market of equity, gold, and other assets, the digital asset has immense potential for growth and upside.

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Author: AnTy

Dutch Crypto Exchanges Want a Screenshot of Your Wallet to Prove the Legitimate Ownership of BTC

Bitcoin exchanges in The Netherlands are taking additional verification measures regarding BTC addresses in reference to the Dutch Central Bank (DNB)’s Sanction Act.

One such exchange Bitonic announced on Monday that it is now “forced” by the DNB to provide additional details regarding the intention behind BTC purchases and the kind of wallet you are using. As such, Bitonic is now,

“Obligated to verify that you are the legitimate owner of the given bitcoin address by requesting you to upload a screenshot from your wallet, or by signing a message.”

As per the Sanction Act, released in Nov. 2019, no funds are to be made available to the individuals and entities that are on the Dutch and EU sanction list by the crypto service providers.

In the event of an actual hit in a sanctions list, the institution needs to notify DNB and either freeze any assets, block the transaction, or do both.

The exchange is against the measure and has pleaded with Bitonic to drop the requirement as it is ineffective and disproportionate. Bitonic is inviting its customers to send their complaints to [email protected] as an “opportunity to formally object to these additional measures and the registration of this data.”

According to the exchange, the Netherlands is currently the only country in the European Union to demand such “far-reaching measures.”

Reportedly, Switzerland also mandates such information from the cryptocurrency exchanges.

Earlier this month, 39 crypto companies, including exchanges and custodial wallet providers, applied for registration with the Dutch central bank to provide crypto services.

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Author: AnTy

BitMex Onboards Eventus Systems For Trade Surveillance & Risk Management

BitMEX, one of Bitcoin’s top crypto exchanges, has partnered with the blockchain compliance centered firm Eventus Systems to make its platform AML compliant. Eventus Systems would also help in trade surveillance and risk management.

The partnership enables the crypto exchange step to become more compliant, keep an eye on fraudulent transactions, and monitor any unauthorized trading activity.

Malcolm Wright, chief compliance officer at 100x Group, BitMEX’s parent company, commented on their association with Eventus Systems and how it would help the digital asset exchange, he said,

“The selection of Eventus to support our critical trade surveillance and AML functions is an important part of our plans to mature our compliance capabilities, with a vision of leading the industry on best practice crypto-asset compliance.”

BitMEX trying to Mend its Ways After CFTC Charges

BitMEX exchange was recently in hot water after the financial watchdog CFTC filed a civil lawsuit against the exchange for money laundering and illegally operating in the US, just one month ago.

The exchange also has dealt with the U.S. Attorney for the District of New York filing of a criminal indictment against the owners Arthur Hayes, Ben Delo, and Samuel Reed for violating the Bank Secrecy Act. The feds went on arrest the BitMEX CTO Samuel Reed.

While the BitMEX exchange is acting fast to mend its issues, it is yet to be seen whether it can bounce back to its glory days after several civil lawsuits and the indictment against the owners.

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Author: Silvia A