Donald J. Trump tweeted Thursday that he is “not a fan” of cryptocurrencies, saying they were “not money” and referencing their price volatility relative to the dollar in his first public comments on crypto since becoming president of the United States.
Trump also criticized Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project in subsequent tweets, saying it “will have little standing or dependability” and suggesting U.S. regulators would subject the social media giant to regulation:
“If Facebook and other companies want to become a bank, they must seek a new Banking Charter and become subject to all Banking Regulations, just like other Banks, both National […] and International.”
(Facebook subsidiary Calibra, which is supposed to develop an open-source wallet for the cryptocurrency, has registered as a money services business with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.)
Trump has criticized Facebook in the past for its actions in banning right-wing figureheads, alongside other social media outlets. To date, however, he has not discussed Facebook’s cryptocurrency plans. The company first publicly released its white paper and supporting documentation for Libra last month.
The 45th president held a “social media summit” earlier on Thursday, addressing these concerns.
Regulators and lawmakers across the U.S. have taken notice of Libra, with both the U.S. Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee scheduling hearings next week with Facebook’s blockchain lead David Marcus.
The Senate committee in particular has previously expressed concerns about Facebook’s track record with user data and privacy, writing an open letter to the company in May. Marcus responded to the letter earlier this week, telling the lawmakers that Facebook would not itself collect any personal financial credentials.
On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell also said that Libra should not be allowed to move forward unless and until the company addresses anti-money laundering and know-your-customer concerns, among other issues.
Financial stability is also a factor that Powell addressed, with lawmakers in both houses questioning the fact that Facebook has set up an entity in Switzerland affiliated with the project.
Facebook declined to comment on Trump’s comments.
In his tweets Thursday, Trump took aim at the potential for using cryptocurrencies in illegal activities, citing drug trafficking in particular.
“Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity,” he said.
In a final tweet, he added:
“We have only one real currency in the USA, and it is stronger than ever, both dependable and reliable. It is by far the most dominant currency anywhere in the World, and it will always stay that way. It is called the United States Dollar!”
While Trump himself had yet to weigh in on cryptocurrencies prior to Thursday, his Treasury Secretary has been a strong proponent of greater cryptocurrency regulations.
Steven Mnuchin has been calling for greater crypto regulation since the beginning of 2018, calling on the G20 to take up the issue during an (at the time) upcoming meeting in March.
This year, the Financial Action Task Force published guidance for central banks, calling for stringent know-your-customer information collection practices. The U.S. Treasury Department held the FATF presidency until the end of June.
“We will not allow cryptocurrency to become the equivalent of secret numbered accounts [and] we will allow for proper use, but we will not tolerate the continued use for illicit activities,” Mnuchin said in remarks prior to the rules’ publication.
In contrast, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney has previously called for a more lenient regulatory framework, saying, “if we over-regulate and discourage people from entering the marketplace, that has bad consequences.”
LibertyX Surpasses 1,000 Bitcoin ATMs Across the US
LibertyX, the company that launched the first U.S. bitcoin ATM, will expand into 90 retail locations in Arizona and Nevada, according to a statement made Wednesday.
With this move LibertyX now operates more than 1,000 so-called bitcoin ATMs across the country. The latest additions are set up in AMPM, ARCO and Chevron gas stations, as well as select Family Dollar stores.
A partnership with Desert ATM, a non-bank ATM service provider, will enable street-level access bitcoin through user’s debit cards. Chris Yim, CEO of LibertyX, said the convenience and simplicity of bitcoin ATMs removes some of the hurdles to onboarding consumers to cryptocurrencies.
Related: Bitcoin Bounce Capped by $10K Price Resistance
This is not the first milestone the company has passed. In 2014, the company launched the first crypto ATM in America in Boston’s South Station. In 2016, it hired the first bitcoin cashier. In 2019, it became the first to enable debit card transactions on traditional, non-bank ATMs, without a hardware upgrade.
“It was a natural evolution of what we started almost 5 years ago,” said Yim, speaking about the most recent advancement. “Our goal is to make bitcoin available on every block in America.”
While LibertyX offered in-person cashier services in the southwest before, this move is the first time the company is integrating with Genmega machines in Arizona and Nevada.
Genmega operates “approximately half” of the non-bank retail ATMs that would be compatible with the crypto-transaction enabling software upgrade LibertyX designed. “There are over 100,000 non-bank ATMs in the US and we hope consumers can buy LibertyX bitcoin from all of them,” Yim said.
Related: Sexual Misconduct Allegations Emerge Against Bitcoin Coder Peter Todd
Transaction limits are set at $3,000 worth of bitcoin per day, for customers that pass the KYC requirements.
In the past, Desert ATM had attempted to operate their own crypto machines, but found LibertyX had the experience to roll out the feature effectively, according to the company announcement.
“We’re thrilled with the demand and enthusiasm we’ve seen from ATM operators who have been dying for a scalable, compliant, and capital-efficient bitcoin solution,” said Yim, in a statement. “There are not many crypto companies still around from 2014 and we are proud not only to have survived, but thrived over the years. We have grown from that 1 ATM in Boston’s South Station in 2014 to thousands of retail locations nationwide today.
In June, bitcoin ATM competitor DigitalMint expanded to 20 locations in Arizona and Nevada.
Bitcoin ATM photo via CoinDesk archives
Short of Target: Bitcoin’s $1K Rally Still Leaves Bear Bias Intact
- Bitcoin’s short-term outlook will remain bearish as long as prices remain below $11,080 resistance. A break above that level would invalidate bearish lower-highs setup.
- The bulls may have a tough time forcing a break above $11,080 amid news of BitMEX exchange facing a regulatory probe and talks of harsher crypto regulation.
- Prices could drop below $10,000 in the next 24 hours with daily chart indicators continuing to report bearish bias.
- A weekly close (Sunday, UTC) above $12,000 is needed to revive the bullish view.
Bitcoin (BTC) has rallied sharply in the last 24 hours, but the outlook remains bearish with prices holding below key resistance around $11,080.
The premier cryptocurrency jumped from $9,200 to $10,400 in just 40 minutes during the U.S. session yesterday, contradicting the case for a drop below $9,097 put forward by multiple rejections at $10,000 in the Asian trading hours.
Price rose further to $10,800 at 23:45 UTC, but closed at $10,648, leaving the crucial resistances of $10,759 (monthly opening price) and $10,850 (daily chart resistance) intact, as tweeted by popular analyst Josh Rager.
Rager wants to see BTC climb $10,850 before calling bullish revival. While that argument has merit, a much stronger confirmation of the bullish breakout would be a high volume move above $11,080.
That would invalidate the bearish lower highs pattern created during the sell-off from $13,200 to $9,049, as seen in the chart below.
Bearish lower highs
As of writing, BTC is changing hands at $10,330 on Bitstamp, having clocked highs above $10,770 at 08:00 UTC.
The cryptocurrency has come under pressure in the last hour or so amid news that the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is probing BitMEX, which offers trading of cryptocurrencies with up to 100-times leverage and products such as futures and swaps, over whether it allowed Americans to use its platform.
The latest CFTC probe could heighten regulation fears that have gripped markets over the last few days, making it difficult for BTC bulls to force a break above $11,070.
Technical charts are also calling a break below $10,000.
4-hour and daily charts
BTC is feeling the pull of gravity, having faced multiple rejections at the 50-candle MA on the 4-hour chart (above left) in the last 18 hours.
With bitcoin’s fall back to $10,300, the bearish crossover of the 50- and 200-candle MAs has gained credence.
Further, the relative strength index (RSI) on the daily chart continues to report bearish conditions with a below-50 print.
The Chaikin money flow index, which takes into account both prices and trading volumes, fell to 0.07 yesterday from 0.08, even though prices rose above $10,000. That divergence (marked by arrow) indicates the buying pressure weakened with the price rise and puts a question mark on the sustainability of the gains seen in the last 24 hours.
The 5- and 10-candle MAs have produced a bearish crossover and prices faced rejection at the descending 5-candle MA earlier today.
Further, the moving average convergence divergence (MACD) has turned bearish for the first time since December 2018, as discussed earlier this week.
All-in-all, BTC risks falling below $10,000 in the next 24 hours. On the downside, strong support is located at $9,097 (May 30 high). A violation there would expose the 100-day MA lined up near $8,100.
On the higher side, a high-volume break above $11,080 would invalidate the bearish setup.
That said, a weekly close (Sunday, UTC) above $12,000 is needed to confirm bull revival due to the fact that BTC has failed to close above that psychological level for three weeks in a row – a sign of buyer exhaustion noted earlier this week.
Disclosure: The author holds no cryptocurrency assets at the time of writing.
Bitcoin image via Shutterstock; charts by Trading View
What the CFTC investigating BitMEX could mean for bitcoin and crypto market
The Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has started an investigation into BitMEX, the largest margin trading platform in the crypto market, according to a Bloomberg report.
BitMEX, along with other major margin trading platforms, have not allowed U.S. customers to trade derivatives on the platform to avoid scrutiny from U.S. regulators.
The unexpected move of the CFTC comes after the remarks of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and his warning against increased efforts to tighten policies around the crypto sector.
Going after the biggest fish in the pond
Last month, BitMEX achieved $16 billion in daily volume across its derivatives products including the widely utilized bitcoin contract when the price of bitcoin peaked at $14,000.
Primarily due to the popularity of its bitcoin contracts, BitMEX has secured its dominance over the crypto market throughout the past several years.
However, the CFTC is said to be exploring whether BitMEX has facilitated trades for U.S. customers over the years and whether U.S. customers have been able to bypass restrictions set by the exchange by using virtual private networks or VPN.
A BitMEX spokeswoman told Bloomberg that the company cannot comment on investigations by government agencies. The spokeswoman said:
“HDR Global Trading Limited, owner of BitMEX, as a matter of company policy, does not comment on any media reports about inquiries or investigations by government agencies or regulators and we have no comment on this report.”
Why is CFTC going after the biggest bitcoin margin trading platform?
Earlier this week, during an official White House briefing, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin stated that with the establishment of the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s Working Group on Digital Assets, various financial agencies including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), CFTC, and FinCEN will vamp up efforts to tighten their oversight on the market.
Secretary Mnuchin said at the time:
“The United States has been at the forefront of regulating entities that provide cryptocurrency. We 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. Treasury has been very clear to Facebook, to bitcoin users and other providers of digital financial services that they must implement the same anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism, known AMLCFT safeguards as traditional financial institutions.”
Secretary Mnuchin added that crypto money transmitters will be subject to the same standards and regulations as every other U.S. bank, indicating that FinCEN is likely to enforce existing regulations on crypto-related entities at full capacity.
The CFTC’s investigation into BitMEX, the decision of Binance to replace crypto-to-crypto trading in the U.S. with a fully regulated exchange called Binance US, and the geopolitical ban on certain cryptocurrencies by Poloniex and Bittrex indicate that companies are increasingly expecting stricter oversight in the near term.
In the short term, the BitMEX investigation could pose a negative effect on the crypto market especially due to the timing, which comes immediately after the release of the remarks of Treasury Secretary Mnuchin.