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Bitcoin Trading Volume Show Signs of a Maturing Market

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The bounce is in. Though we have no way of knowing whether it’s completely over, the charts are looking pretty positive to me, as I had the pleasure of pointing out today on the popular crypto show Crypto Banter with CNBC’s Ran Neuner. Make sure to catch the recording here.

The most astonishing thing that we witnessed in yesterday’s astounding trading session wasn’t even the price movement. After all, a 30% correction is quite normal for a bitcoin bull market. It was the volumes.

BTC

Over at the CME Group, they’re also seeing record-breaking numbers. As they reported recently, the average daily volume for their XBT bitcoin futures reached an astonishing record high in December of 11,179 contracts, a number that has been smashed on nearly every trading day so far this year, with yesterday’s volumes clocking in at 27,690 contracts.

Bitcoin volume

As we mentioned in yesterday’s BMJ Newsletter, on-chain transactions are growing steadily, yet the network remains gloriously uncongested. Volumes at Greyscale, where many of the new institutional players have been accumulating, are also off the charts.

There is one exception to the volume madness though, which seems a bit peculiar given recent news events. …

Bakkt to the past

Alright, so here’s yesterday’s press release. Let’s dive right in….

bakkt

Back during the 2019 crypto bull market, there was a time when any mention of Bakkt in the news could move prices.

Their launch was one of the most anticipated events of the time for many crypto traders, second only to that of Libra.

It was to be Wall Street’s perfect bitcoin solution, a custody warehouse, fully regulated and integrated for institutional investors to pile in. The only thing is, it didn’t quite work out that way.

Then-CEO Kelly Loeffler left the company shortly after their lackluster launch, departing for a now nationally famous career in politics, and is currently under investigation for insider trading, among other alleged clandestine activities.

In short, she is under the microscope for using her position of power to promote the agenda of her husband’s firm above the good of the people.

Wait, let’s back up. …

What made the Bakkt launch such a flop was the volumes. For all the hype, they really should have been well-positioned to take the lion’s share of market activity from the current bull run.

Yet, yesterday when volumes were through the roof throughout the industry, daily turnover at Bakkt came in at a measly $35 million, which is just 0.12% of the Messari figure above.

So, now they have a new CEO and a new consumer friendly app in the works, a new partnership with a promising special purpose acquisition vehicle and an enterprise value of $2.1 billion.

Unlike Coinbase, which has managed to capture significant market share and has a (mostly) working app, Bakkt is not a stock that I’d personally be rushing to own, at least not until they’ve proven their ability to captivate this challenging market.

Self-driving banks

Back in 2018, there were a few attempts from yours truly to penetrate the notoriously un-crypto-friendly Financial Times, with very limited success.

At the time, I recall writing an op-ed for them describing my experience at eToro during the great bull run, but of course it was promptly rejected.

These type of news outlets generally prefer things that were written by more important people, heads of state and those who hold other prominent positions…people like Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks, for example.

So, here’s an amazing article that graced the FT’s pages today written by the Crypto Comptroller himself. …

Financial times

Source: https://www.bitcoinmarketjournal.com/bitcoin-trading-volume-show-signs-of-a-maturing-market/

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Following Coinbase And Bakkt: Winklevoss’ Gemini Reportedly Considers Going Public

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Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss are reportedly exploring the option of making their cryptocurrency exchange Gemini public. The brothers could follow the steps of other US-based digital asset-related companies with similar intentions, such as Coinbase and Bakkt.

Gemini To Go Public?

Bloomberg reported today that the founders of the US-based crypto exchange Gemini are open to the idea of going public.

“We are definitely considering it and making sure that we have that option. We are watching the market, and we are also having internal discussions on whether it makes sense for us at this point in time. We are certainly open to it.” – said Cameron.

Gemini, based in New York City, employs over 350 people. The exchange obtained a trust charter from the New York State Department of Financial Services shortly after its establishment and is licensed as a money transmitter in multiple US states.

Making a company public has been a hot topic within the cryptocurrency industry lately. Firstly, the largest US exchange Coinbase announced such plans with an estimated value of nearly $30 billion.

More recently, Bakkt, the Bitcoin futures trading platform owned by the Intercontinental Exchange, stated similar plans after a merger with a special acquisition company. Bakkt’s estimated enterprise value is at approximately $2.1 billion.

Gemini Releases A Credit Card With Crypto Rewards

The exchange also announced that it will launch a credit card that will provide users with cryptocurrency rewards. Dubbed Gemini Credit Card, it will enable up to 3% back in bitcoin and other digital assets. The rewards will be automatically deposited into the cardholder’s Gemini account.

The card comes after Gemini acquired Blockrize – a company specializing in building such products. The distribution will start later in the year, and the statement informed that there’s already a substantial waitlist with over 10,000 people requesting early access.

The card will work like traditional ones and will be available to US residents in every state while also accepted in merchants that accept regular cards.

“The Gemini Credit Card will make it easier for any consumer to invest in bitcoin and other cryptos without changing their existing behavior. Rather than deciding how and when to buy crypto, customers can do so when making their everyday purchases. We are excited to welcome the Blockrize team to Gemini and work together to continue to mainstream crypto.” – commented Tyler Winklevoss.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/following-coinbase-and-bakkt-winklevoss-gemini-reportedly-considers-going-public/

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FinCEN Extends Comment Window on Proposed Crypto Regulations

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With the initial deadline for comments long expired, FinCEN has decided to extend the comment period for its proposed controversial crypto regulation for an additional 15 days.

FinCen Sets New Deadline

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), an office of the U.S. Department of Treasury, announced the news of the extension via a press release on Thursday (Jan. 14, 2021). FinCEN’s earlier deadline was set on January 4, 2021.

Following the different requests for extension, it appears that FinCEN would not be hasty to implement the proposed regulation. The extension is beneficial for the industry, as affected entities can have time to analyze the proposal. Since the initial comment period, the bureau has received thousands of comments and is ready to receive more feedback.

An excerpt from the press release reads:

“FinCEN is providing an additional 15 days for comments on the proposed reporting requirements regarding information on CVC or LTDA transactions greater than $10,000[…] that involve unhosted wallets or wallets hosted in jurisdictions identified by FinCEN. FinCEN is providing an additional 45 days for comments on the proposed requirements that banks and MSBs report certain information regarding counterparties to transactions by their hosted wallet customers, and on the proposed recordkeeping requirements.”

The Proposed Regulations

FinCEN’s proposed crypto regulation required that cryptocurrency exchanges would keep records and verify “the identity of their customers if a counterparty uses an unhosted or otherwise covered wallet and the transaction is greater than $3,000.” Also, exchanges are expected to submit to FinCEN transactions that exceed $10,000.

However, the proposal saw pushback from the crypto community, with many saying that the rule was harmful to the industry. Companies like Jack Dorsey’s Square and Andreessen Horowitz opposed the rules, with Square noting that it could create unnecessary friction between crypto users and regulated entities.

Other comments noted that the original 15-days comment period was too short. As reported by CryptoPotato, days after FinCEN released its planned regulatory policy, U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase asked for an extension of the comment period.

According to Coinbase, the comment time frame was rushed and asked the bureau to instead consider a 60-day time frame. Also calling for an extension was a U.S. Senator and several members of Congress. The lawmakers also asked for an extension between 15-60 days to give concerned parties time to evaluate the proposed rule.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/fincen-extends-comment-window-on-proposed-crypto-regulations/

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Bulgarian Crypto Exchange Owner Sentenced To 10 Years in Prison for Laundering $5 Million

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A Bulgarian national was sentenced to serve ten years in prison after a major crypto-related fraud. Not long ago, the man was convicted in a transnational multimillion-dollar scheme to defraud over 900 American citizens.

An Auction Fraud That Victimized over 900 Americans

According to an official announcement by the United States Department of Justice, Rossen G. Yossifov, a 53-year-old man, had defrauded hundreds of American citizens during a well-masterminded illegal endeavor.

He managed and promoted the so-called RG Coins – a cryptocurrency exchange headquartered in Sofia, Bulgaria. Now, the US court has sentenced him for conspiracy to commit a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) offense plus a conspiracy to commit money laundering.

During the crime, Iossifov and his Romanian co-conspirators, part of the Alexandria Online Auction Fraud (AOAF) Network, engaged a large-scale online fraud. They organized a false auction that victimized at least 900 Americans during its course.

As CryptoPotato reported, Iossifov was officially charged with participating and dictating the international fraud a few months ago. 

Providing Favorable Crypto Exchange Rates To Victims

According to initial court documents, the scammers made everything seem legit, providing invoices with trademarks of reputable firms to their victims.

One of the primary ways to lure people into the scam was that the conspirators designed their scheme to cater to criminal enterprises by providing better exchange rates to the AOAF Network members.

The Romania-based fraudsters posted false advertisements to popularize online auctions for expensive goods and vehicles that did not exist. They had also established call centers to offer customer support to advise client questions and “alleviate concerns over the advertisements.”

When convinced, victims had to fulfill a payment. Domestic associates of the criminals would accept the money, convert them into cryptocurrency, and transfer them to foreign-based money launderers. As per the announcement, Iossifov was the final gear that facilitated the last stage of the scheme.

Some of the trial’s evidence revealed that, in less than three years, Iossifov had laundered nearly $5 million in cryptocurrency for just four of his partners.

“This represented over $7 million in funds defrauded from American victims. In return, Iossifov made over $184,000 in proceeds from these transactions”, read the official court publication.

Apart from Iossifov and the five co-operators, so far, 17 more members of the Romanian crime network will face court for their role in this scheme. Seven others have already faced sentences with verdicts between 30 to 96 months. Three of the members of the scam are fugitives.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/bulgarian-crypto-exchange-owner-sentenced-to-10-years-in-prison-for-laundering-5-million/

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