Libra seems to be the new cuss word in Washington D.C.
After unveiling Libra and setting up the association to oversee its governance in Switzerland, Facebook probably thought they’d be taking more flights across the Atlantic. However, it looks like the layover in the US Captial is longer than expected.
On July 16, David Marcus, lead of the Libra project and VP of Messaging Products at Facebook, sat before the US Senate Banking Committee to discuss Facebook’s cryptocurrency project, and it wasn’t pretty. Senators from both parties unified with pressing questions about the privacy, security, and global concerns associated with Libra.
This is certainly not the first rodeo for Facebook executives in front of US Congressmen. But, the way the latest hearing went, it certainly won’t be the last.
Senators likened Facebook’s plan of entering the payments realm to a toddler burning the house down, calling Libra a “delusional” goal, and revisiting Facebook’s privacy problems. Arson comments and snide remarks aside, there were genuine concerns that the wide reach of the social media giant, coupled with its entry into the payments realm via a digital asset, would be a sovereign problem and not a case of a private company merely expanding its operations.
Senator Sherrod Brown, who during the Fed Chairman’s appearance before the House Finance Committee on Libra mulled big tech’s efforts to rival big banks, questioned the trust customers had in Facebook after its previous debacles and PR disasters. He opened his address by stating, “Facebook is dangerous,” and called out the social media company.
“Do you really think people should trust Facebook with their hard-earned money?…I just think that is delusional.”
He spoke out against not just Facebook’s payment plans, but also its nefarious advertisement algorithm, its ability to betray journalistic principles and create a facade of news stories. Brown also spoke of the Menlo Park company “manipulating our emotions.” The business model of Facebook, according to Sen. Brown, is to ‘intensify hate’ by the dichotomy of connecting people and making a buck. In short, the motto of Facebook is “Move Fast and Break Thing.”
Senator Brown added,
“We’d be crazy to give them a chance to experiment with people’s bank accounts, to use powerful tools they don’t understand like monetary policy to jeopardize hard-working Americans ability to provide for their family. This is a recipe for more corporate power over markets and consumers.”
Other Senators also reigned down on Marcus, visibly angry about last year’s privacy issues. Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mike Crapo, questioned the 2 billion strong “reach and influence” Facebook has, equating this to a global cause for concern. However, he appreciated Facebook’s endeavor to build a credit system that was cheaper and faster, despite criticizing the means.
The concept of cryptocurrencies coupled with a private company of Facebook’s reputation has made the Senators even more displeased. Senator Thom Tillis said that digital assets are still in the “wild wild west” phase due to a lack of regulations, while still maintaining that Libra could be a “good idea for us to explore.”
Other Senators including Senator Pat Toomey and Senator Mark Warner lauded the idea of blockchain-based payment system, adding that the regulatory backlash against Facebook and Project Libra was a bit “premature” and “misguided,” to some extent.
Throughout the accusations, Marcus maintained a pro-regulatory stance and added that Facebook would work with any governing body, both at home and overseas, to ensure that everything is by the book. Libra will not see the light of day, unless the “regulatory concerns” are addressed, stated Marcus after the hearing.
His post-hearing tweet reiterated the above sentiment,
The conversation was thoughtful and highlighted important issues we, and the @Libra_ Founding Members, will need to address. I want to reiterate here what I said before the Committee: We will take the time to get this right.
— David Marcus (@davidmarcus) July 16, 2019
Marcus is certainly adhering to the lawmakers’ repeated concerns; from the Fed Chair, to POTUS, to the Treasury Secretary and now the Committee, the Libra main-man seems to have his hands full at the moment. With the Senate hearing done, Marcus will sit before the US Financial Services Committee soon. And by the looks of things, his stint in Washington D.C. will go on for a while now. If I were Marcus, I wouldn’t book my flight to California just yet.
Crypto Tidbits: Bakkt’s Bitcoin Futures, Coinbase & Xapo, IRS Cryptocurrency Crackdown
Another week, another of Crypto Tidbits. While this week was crazy bearish for the Bitcoin price, the fundamental developments seen made up for the market collapse. Bakkt revealed that it will be finally launching its Bitcoin futures product; Coinbase made a large acquisition of a facet of Xapo; and Binance revealed that it will be taking its formal step into the U.S. market in the coming months.
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, however. A massive cryptocurrency scam trended on Crypto Twitter and a number of verdicts on Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) were put off once again.
Related Reading: Crypto Tidbits: Bitcoin Mining by Blockstream, Ripple Investment Plans, Binance US Unveils Altcoin Lineup
Bitcoin & Crypto Tidbits
- Bakkt Cleared by NDFS, Will Launch Bitcoin Futures in September: That’s right folks, Bakkt is finally ready to (fully) launch its Bitcoin futures contract to the world. Announced via a surprising blog post on Friday, the cryptocurrency exchange, which has been backed by players like the New York Stock Exchange, Microsoft Ventures, and Starbucks, has received NYDFS and CFTC — the two financial regulators involved in such cryptocurrency vehicles — clearance to offer its physically-deliverable Bitcoin futures to clients. The prominent startup is eyeing a September 23rd launch date. Analysts have stated that the product is likely to see mass adoption from the get-go, and might be the catalyst that slingshots the industry into its next round of rapid growth.
- IRS Continues Crypto Crackdown… And It’s Not Done Yet: The Internal Revenue Service of the U.S. has continued its crackdown on American crypto investors, recently issuing yet another round of letters. The letters, according to CoinDesk, were sent to those that the IRS believes are skirting taxes on cryptocurrency trades. This comes shortly after the tax agency sent a preliminary warning to thousands of Coinbase users. A slide deck leaked on Twitter suggested that the IRS is likely to only expand its cryptocurrency-related collection efforts.
- PlusToken Scam Trends on Twitter, Causes Mass Panic in Bitcoin Markets: This week, prominent cryptocurrency venture capitalist Dovey Wan issued dozens of tweets about a scam called “Plus Token”. As this scam originated and operated in Asia, it caught a large portion of Crypto Twitter by surprise, despite the fact that the scheme had been going on for just around a year. Wan claimed that while the ringleaders of the $3 billion scam had been caught, blockchain evidence suggested that PlusToken’s wallets, which contains hundreds of thousands of Bitcoin and Ethereum, was sending capital to exchanges. This result in fears that the market was going to dump.
- Institutions Are Foraying Into Crypto: According to a recent tweet from Brian Armstrong, the chief executive of Coinbase, there is no question that institutions are starting to make bonafide forays into “crypto”. Citing data from his firm’s deposits, there is around $200 million to $400 million worth of cryptocurrencies deposited into Coinbase’s coffers each week from “institutional customers”.
- Coinbase Picks up Xapo’s Institutional Custody Division: According to Fortune, Coinbase has acquired Xapo’s institutional custody business. for $55 million, outbidding Wall Street’s Fidelity Investments It isn’t clear if any of Xapo’s employees or executives will be jumping ship. But, it has been confirmed by a source that a “majority of Xapo’s largest clients” will be transferring their assets to Coinbase’s custody unit, which now owns over 514,000 BTC — wow. It is important to note that with this deal, Xapo isn’t leaving the crypto custodian business. Far from, in fact. Speaking with Fortune, Casares has stated that it will still have control over its famous Swiss vault, which he claims will be used to store Bitcoin on behalf of Xapo’s retail clients.
- Binance to Launch U.S. Branch: Speaking to Cheddar, Binance’s Changpeng Zhao revealed that his company will likely be launching the U.S. branch of its service, which was launched to combat regulatory concerns, by November.
- NBA’s Dallas Mavericks Now Accepts Bitcoin: Despite the fact that it may be just a PR stunt, the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, owned by Mark Cuban, will now be accepting Bitcoin as a method of payment for game tickets and merchandise. Announced via a press release on August 13th, the Dallas Mavericks has become the second team in the NBA to directly accept Bitcoin. Per the release and tweets posted by those involved in this sudden move, BitPay will be the payment processor in this move.
- Ciphertrace Finds Cryptocurrency Crime is Still a Massive Industry: According to a recent report from industry analytics firm Ciphertrace, bad actors online have managed to make billions through digital asset-related crime in 2019 alone. The report, which is titled “Q2 2019 Cryptocurrency Anti-Money Laundering Report”, found that aggregate losses incurred by investors and firms due to cryptocurrency crime has reached $4.3 billion in the first half of 2019. 5% of the sum was sourced from hacking. Around 20% of the illicit gains were a result of misappropriated funds. And these rest of the gains were stolen through exit scams, like the aforementioned Plus Token.
- Bitcoin ETF Proposals Delayed… Again: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has delayed its verdict on proposals in this class for the umpteenth time. On Monday, it simultaneously issued a delay verdict on three Bitcoin-backed funds from Bitwise Asset Management, VanEck and SolidX, and Wilshire Phoenix.
Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Binance Coin Price Prediction and Analysis for August 17th: BTC, BCH, and BNB
On an intraday chart, the price of BTC/USD pair has further dipped from the previous price of 10473.00 and is currently changing hands at $9917.57 that translated to an intraday dip of 5.3%. The bulls seemed to have lacked the means or strategy to pull up the market momentum. This was reflected by the 21 day MA that hovered above the 7 day MA over the last 24hrs.
The RSI was also seen trading below the oversold territory that signaled a buy sign. This also confirmed sellers have the upper hand. At around 06:00 traders brought the momentum back up as reflected by the RSI indicator that is currently heading north indicating an increase in buyouts.
BITCOIN PRICE PREDICTION (BTC/USD)
Currently, most indicators signal price recovery shortly. The parabolic indicator is presently below the pair’s price that indicates a buy signal. The RSI indicator has also gained momentum and is tending Northway that signal a bullish outlook. New target should be set at $10400.0
BITCOIN CASH PRICE ANALYSIS (BCH/USD)
BCH/USD has also exhibited a bearish momentum over the last 24hrs. BCH has down surged by 14.4% where it sharply faced a price fall from yesterday’s price of $342.6 to currently changing hands at $293.1. The downward move has been bolstered by the 21 day MA that gravitated above the 7 day MA throughout the intraday, which also signaled an increase in sell-offs.
The RSI indicator was also seen below the oversold territory that gives traders a negative sign. The downwards pressure has led to $5.581 billion by market capitalization with a circulating supply of 17.95 million coins.
BITCOIN CASH PRICE PREDICTION (BCH/USD)
A further downtrend is likely since the parabolic SAR is currently above the price and the price is above the moving averages. Conversely, if the price breaches the moving averages, it can shift up to 340.00 level.
BINANCE COIN PRICE ANALYSIS (BNB/USD)
BNB/USD pair has also lost by 7.2% in the last 24hrs; the pair’s price started the sell-off trading at $28.5126 and is now trading at $26.4404. The bears seemed to have the upper hand since both moving averages are sloping downwards.
However, the traders seemed to remain on the sidelines since they are waiting for a reliable sell setup to form. The RSI indicator that is currently heading north confirmed this. An upsurge above $27.4103 is likely to be seen.
BINANCE COIN PRICE PREDICTION (BNB/USD)
At the moment, all the indicators point at a more bearish outlook since the 21 day MA is still above the 7 day MA. Parabolic SAR is also above the candles that is a sell sign. However, if the price breaks above the 21 day MA, traders should go long and take profit at $28.0000.+
Crypto Whales Are Buying the Dip on Coinbase, Says Crypto Analyst
A majority of investors with large Bitcoin holdings are buying the dip instead of selling, according to new data from Coinbase.
Crypto researcher Larry Cermak highlighted the data on Twitter, which is available via Coinbase’s new trading signals initiative.
The signals, launched last month, are designed to offer fresh insight on trading activity and how Coinbase users are reacting to the markets.
The “top holder activity” signal analyzes the biggest holders of a given crypto asset on Coinbase, revealing how many users in the group have bought or sold their positions in the last 24 hours.
Coinbase is also showing average hold times, which is the median number of days an asset stays in a Coinbase customer’s account before it’s sold or sent to another address or wallet. A new popularity signal shows how many customers hold each cryptocurrency.
The last signal is a price correlation metric designed to give traders a look at whether the prices of certain crypto assets are correlated with one another.
Meanwhile, the crypto Fear & Greed Index, a measure of how fearful or confident Bitcoin traders might be, has recently dropped.
On Wednesday, the index fell to a 245-day low last seen when Bitcoin plummeted to around $3,200 in mid-December 2018.
The index ranges from 0 to 100, with the bottom suggesting that there’s “extreme fear” in the crypto market, which signals that the market could be nearing a bottom. The top suggests that investors are “greedy” indicating the crypto market could be overbought.