- Bitcoin is trading in a tight range under $3,600.
- Litecoin bulls give way amid continued profit-taking.
Cryptocurrency market is a mixed picture on Thursday. The total value of digital assets in circulation stays above $121B against $122.8B the same time on Wednesday.
All top-10 coins are in red except for Tether. Litecon and EOS are among the biggest losers, while Bitcoin and Ethereum are the best from the worst as the two largest coins are mostly unchanged since this time on Wednesday.
Bitcoin struggles at $3,600
BTC/USD is still under $3,600 handle despite numerous attempts to break higher. The longer the coin sits below this area, the higher the chance for another leg down. The strong support lies with $3,500. Most likely, this area will stop the sell-off and trigger the recovery. On the upside, we need a sustainable move above $3,650 to proceed to a recent high of $3,707.
Ethereum dips below $123.00
ETH/USD dropped under $123.00 handle during Asian hours, which bodes ill with further recovery ideas. We will need to see it back soon; otherwise, $121.00-$120.80 support area will come into view. On the upside, the ultimate target is $125.50. However, it seems to be out of reach currently.
Litecoin gives back ground
LTC/USD is one of the biggest losses. The coin is down over 5.5% on a day-over-day basis to trade at $41.00 at the time of writing. Litecoin average daily trading volumes exceeds $1B, which is nearly twice as high as the long-term average.
Japan Wants to Rival SWIFT With a Cryptocurrency Network
Japan is a prominent country for blockchain and cryptocurrency activity. So much even that government officials are building a new type of infrastructure. It is labeled as the “SWIFT of cryptocurrency”, although living up to those expectations won’t be easy. This new network will be used on an international scale and aims to thwart money laundering.
JAPAN DOUBLES DOWN
Over the past few years, Japan has become a key region for cryptocurrencies. It is one of the few countries to openly embrace this form of money and legitimize it. Several of the country’s biggest stores accept Bitcoin payments directly as well. This further goes to show Japan firmly believes Bitcoin is here to stay. Regarding altcoins, the situation is a bit less clear. Alternative markets are always hit-and-miss in every part of the world.
To improve upon the existing situation, a new project is under development. The Japanese government confirmed it aims to build an international network for cryptocurrencies. This network is designed to mimic SWIFT in terms of cross-border partnerships and access. However, it will seemingly have little or nothing to do with traditional banks in that sense. It is evident that this new project will be very different from what the world has seen to date.
Based on the little information provided to us, it seems the goal is to develop this project in conjunction with other countries. Which countries those would be, has not been communicated at this time. The Financial Action Task Force of Japan will set up a team dedicated to monitoring the development of this new network.
How all of this infrastructure is designed to operate, remains a big mystery. Not too many details are known at this time. We do know the FATF approved a plan to establish a new network in June of 2019. At that time, there were rumors regarding the involvement of cryptocurrencies. Those rumors have now been confirmed. By claiming this network will rival SWIFT, high expectations are associated with it. Delivering on those expectations will not be easy by any means.
LEGITIMIZING CRYPTOCURRENCY ONE AND FOR ALL
One thing is adamantly clear. Japan wants to push global cryptocurrency adoption to a new level. The main focus lies on bringing more security to this nascent industry. By actively addressing money laundering concerns, a crucial first step is taken in the right direction. Japanese officials also hope this network will stimulate economic growth in the country and beyond.
Regulation and cryptocurrency make for an interesting combination. A lot of Bitcoin enthusiasts aim to keep these apart as much as possible. Others see merit in regulating this industry. How this SWIFT rival will factor into all of this, is a guessing game at best. It is certainly something worth keeping an eye on in the years to come.
Chainalysis Reveals Real-Time Suspicious Cryptocurrency Transaction Alerts
Leading blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis has just revealed new tools to help cryptocurrency companies stay compliant with regulators. The firm’s existing “Know Your Transaction” (KYT) platform will now provide real-time alerts to companies using it.
The alerts will give the company accepting payment with a reading of how likely Chainalysis deems to the funds to have been involved in money laundering or other financial crimes. The service will be available for all fifteen cryptocurrencies currently supported by the blockchain investigation company.
Chainalysis Expands KYT Platform for Cryptocurrency Companies
According to a report in financial news publication HedgeWeek, the blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis has just launched new tools to help cryptocurrency companies remain compliant in an ever-changing regulatory environment.
The latest weapon in the company’s arsenal aimed at reducing the risks of companies handling funds involved with money laundering is a real-time alert system to Chainalysis’s Know Your Transaction service. The firm believes that the upgrade will substantially reduce the risk of a cryptocurrency-related service accidentally facilitating financial crimes.
One of the biggest concerns of companies like Chainalysis is the heightened risk of money laundering enabled by cryptocurrency.
According to John Dempsey, the vice president of product at Chainalysis, the new service is a response to the intensifying regulatory scrutiny towards the industry in recent years. He stated of the upgrade:
“Every minute counts when managing exposure to sanctioned entities, hacked funds, darknet markets, and other illicit activities, which is why Chainalysis is investing in fast, actionable alerts to help our customers mitigate risk across cryptocurrencies.”
The new suspicious transaction alerts will provide companies with an assessment of each transaction they receive. It will categorise them as either Severe, High, Medium, or Low risk based on various metrics.
The idea is that companies transacting frequently with cryptocurrency will be able to inspect each transaction they receive for the likelihood that it was involved in some financial crime. They can then take action if necessary. This might involve banning the user from the service and/or rejecting the transaction.
As you might expect, the tool has been welcomed by cryptocurrency exchange operators, themselves victims of perhaps the most regulatory scrutiny both today and likely going forward too. Gemini’s Chief Compliance Officer, Michael Breu, stated the following of the update to the KYT platform:
“Tools like KYT alerts, which provide real time and ongoing blockchain analysis, coupled with Gemini’s own compliance policies, help us meet our regulatory obligations.”
Such tools may well prove useful in examples in policing against cryptocurrency-related fraud like the recent PlusToken scam. In this example, the company duped thousands of investors to send more than 1,000 BTC to wallets under their control. Those investigating the case believe the funds are making their way to popular exchanges way in blocks of around 50 or 100 BTC per occasion.
Chainalysis is one of the leading companies dedicated to investigating blockchain-enabled crimes. The company has worked with several influential government agencies around the world to improve law enforcement’s efforts to bring criminals using cryptocurrency to justice. It also provides frequent reports about the state of Bitcoin ownership, and is often the source of the consistently-reported “X number of Bitcoins are lost for good” statistics.
Trump Administration’s Mike Pompeo Wants to Regulate Crypto Transactions
The Trump Administration and the world’s regulators don’t seem to want to give the crypto industry any breathing room.
Speaking with CNBC’s “Squawk Box” panel on Tuesday, Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State, doubled down on the narrative that digital asset transactions should be more heavily enforced.
Regulate Crypto Like SWIFT
With cryptocurrencies becoming more and more relevant on the global stage, CNBC’s resident Bitcoin bull, Joe Kernen, took a chance on Tuesday to bring up cryptocurrencies in an interview with Mike Pompeo.
Surprisingly, Pompeo played along, but nonetheless asserted that he didn’t want to create a “viral moment” or “meme” by taking a certain stance on this budding technology.
Pompeo argued that the anonymous/pseudonymous transactions that cryptocurrencies can enable do pose a security threat or “risk” to America and its allies. To back his point, the Secretary of State cited the 9/11 attacks, which is something that Congressman Brad Sherman did to bash Libra last month:
“We know this from 9/11 and terror activity that took place in the 15 years preceding that where we didn’t have good tracking, we didn’t have the capacity to understand money flows and who was moving money.”
To mitigate a redux of 9/11 enabled through financial technologies, Pompeo proposed that “electronic financial transactions” should be regulated by the same laws that a global platform like SWIFT is subject to.
While he admitted that it would be difficult to do so, he accentuated that the world is much less secure without proper regulation over a cashless world. In fact, Pompeo argued that regulatory oversight over fiat finance has “helped keep the entire world secure and to fight terrorism and other nefarious activity.”
In his statement, the Trump advisor staved off from mentioning certain fintech platforms or even cryptocurrencies, but the comment was made in direct response to an inquiry from Kernen.
Pompeo’s statements on the cryptocurrency industry come shortly after other prominent members of the Trump administration have commented on digital assets.
As reported by Blockonomi previously, President Donald Trump himself claimed that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin can “facilitate” illicit activity and that Libra should abide by traditional banking laws.
And Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has claimed that he and other regulators “will not allow digital asset service providers to operate in the shadows and will not tolerate the use of the cryptocurrencies in support of illicit activities.” Mnuchin also echoed Pompeo’s line, stating:
“The United States Treasury has been very clear to Facebook, to Bitcoin users, and to other providers of digital financial services that they must implement the same [rules] as traditional financial institutions. The rules governing money-service providers apply to physical and electronic transactions alike.”
Regulatory Oversight Already Happening
While Mnuchin and Pompeo are making it sound like this industry is entirely unregulated, this is far from the truth. The IRS, for instance, has recently begun a crackdown on cryptocurrency investors.
Also, the U.S. is part of a new consortium being established to track the users of Bitcoin and other public blockchains. The U.S. recently joined its fellow G7 members, Australia, Singapore, amongst other nations to create a platform that will collect and share the personal information of those using cryptocurrencies. An excerpt from the Nikkei Asian Review article unveiling this venture reads:
“The goal is to prevent funds from being laundered, going to terrorist organizations or otherwise being put to illicit use.”
It wasn’t revealed how the new project, which remains unnamed, would farm data from users of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Regardless, the collective is currently aiming to have a plan in place by 2020, and to have launched the project a few years later.