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US Treasury Department Blocks Crypto Addresses of Chinese Fentanyl “Kingpins”

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) have named several Chinese nationals, “as significant foreign narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act).”

OFAC is also, “identifying Bitcoin addresses associated with these two drug traffickers to maximize disruption of their financial dealings.”

It should be noted, however, that Bitcoin addresses can be easily changed.

According to Treasure Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Sigal Mandelker, Fujing Zheng, his drug-trafficking organization, Chinese company Qinsheng Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., his father Guanghua Zheng and associate Xiaobing Yan, “run an international drug trafficking operation that manufactures and sells lethal narcotics, directly contributing to the crisis of opioid addiction, overdoses, and death in the United States.”

Mandelkar adds:

“Zheng and Yan have shipped hundreds of packages of synthetic opioids to the U.S., targeting customers through online advertising and sales, and using commercial mail carriers to smuggle their drugs into the United States.”

In August 2018, Fujing Zheng and his father Guanghua were indicted in Cleveland, Ohio and charged with operating a conspiracy that manufacturing and shipping, “deadly fentanyl analogues, cathinones, and cannabinoids to at least 37 U.S. states and 25 countries.”

Besides distributing “hundreds of controlled substances,” including fentanyl analogues carfentanil, acetyl fentanyl, and furanyl fentanyl, the men also allegedly created counterfeit cancer pills, “that replaced the active cancer-fighting ingredient with dangerous synthetic drugs.”

The men, “…laundered…(their) drug proceeds in part by using digital currency such as bitcoin, transmitted drug proceeds into and out of bank accounts in China and Hong Kong, and bypassed currency restrictions and reporting requirements.”

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50-100 times stronger than heroin. Even non-opioid street drugs like cocaine have been found tainted with fentanyl in recent years.

Fentanyl contamination and unknown consumption of excessive amounts have caused rashes of overdoses in regions where these substances are distributed.

The synthetic opioid crisis has been worsened by physician’s sometimes liberal prescribing of opioid pain medications. Fentanyl is highly addictive, and once cut off from a prescribed source of the drug, addicted people often turn to the street to maintain their habits.

FinCEN has concurrently issued an advisory, “to alert financial institutions to financial schemes related to the trafficking of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.”

According to FinCEN Director Kenneth A. Blanco.  We are making the financial sector aware of tactics and typologies behind illicit schemes to launder the proceeds of these fatal drug sales, including transactions using digital currency and foreign bank accounts.

By: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com

Crypto

TradeStation Crypto Gets Approval for US Expansion

Crypto brokerage firm, TradeStation Crypto now covers more states in the United States.

TradeStation Crypto, a cryptocurrency brokerage firm announced the expansion of its services to two new states in the United States.

According to reports, TradeStation Crypto expansion to South Dakota, and Alaska increases the grand total to nineteen different states within the United States.

Therefore, the residents of South Dakota and Alaska now get the opportunity to apply for an account to trade cryptocurrencies.

Quoting the official post: “TradeStation Crypto, a subsidiary of TradeStation Group, Inc., is pleased to announce that residents of South Dakota and Alaska may now apply for a TradeStation Crypto account to trade cryptocurrencies.”

Besides, cryptocurrencies like traders in Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH). As well as, Litecoin (LTC), and XRP becomes available for interested traders. Also, the brokerage firm revealed plans to add more cryptocurrencies to the platform in the future.

James Putra, Director of Product Strategy at TradeStation Crypto commented on the development.

He said: “We’re excited that traders in South Dakota, Alaska and our long list of other states now get another way to participate in the cryptocurrency markets through a trusted and familiar brand.”

Other benefits

Notably, the platform claims they’re the first crypto offering that uses an online brokerage model that self-directed traders expect for other asset classes. Instead of being a crypto exchange, the platform reportedly aggregates multiple pools of liquidity in a consolidated market data feed combined with an intelligent order-routing system. Therefore, giving customers better visibility and trade execution.

Further emphasizing their progress, James Putra said: “Last month we announced our crypto offering availability for traders across Illinois. As well as, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin.”

About TradeStation Crypto

The platform is a subsidiary of TradeStation Group, Inc. commenced operations last year. According to reports, the US-based firm offers cryptocurrency brokerage services for self-directed online traders.

Last month, TradeStation Crypto announced its expansion to four new US states. They include Washington, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, and Illinois.

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Crypto Today: Bitcoin and its peers are subject to a reversal

Here’s what you need to know on Friday

Markets

BTC/USD is currently trading at $9716 (+1.50%), remaining at risk underneath the $10,000 price mark. 

ETH/USD is currently trading at $266 (+4.50%), critical support at $250-40 remains intact, as part of the double top, the neckline area. 

XRP/USD is currently trading at $0.2760 (+2.50%), vulnerabilities remain underneath $0.3000. 

Among the 100 most important cryptocurrencies, the best of the day are ALGO $0.45345 (+22.55%), LRC $0.047042 (+17.49%) AION $0.134455 (+13.75%) The day’s losers are MANA $0.055078 (-11.42%), ABBC $0.118961 (-9.30%), LSK $1.53 (-5.25%).

Chart of the day: BCH/USD weekly chart (Evening star formation proving to be problematic) 

Market

IOTA is continuing to release new information in response to a Feb.12 hack on its official wallet. 

According to a status update, the IOTA Foundation strongly recommends users of the Trinity Wallet to immediately change their passwords and use the seed migration tool to protect their assets. Trinity users who opened or updated their wallets between December 17th, 2019 and February 18th, 2020 may be vulnerable.

The Cardano (ADA) distributed ledger technology (DLT) project has successfully carried out the Ouroboros Byzantine Fault Tolerance (OBFT) hard fork, a huge milestone that lays a solid foundation for the launch of Shelley, according to a tweet on February 20, 2020.

Regulation

The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) claims that it has never approved major cryptocurrency exchange Binance to operate in the country. The MFSA issued a public statement, stating that Binance “is not authorized by the MFSA to operate in the cryptocurrency sphere.” The agency outlined that recent media reports referred to Binance incorrectly as a “Malta-based cryptocurrency firm,” while the exchange “may not fall within the realm of regulatory oversight.”

Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) has updated its blacklist of cryptocurrency-related websites associated with fraudulent activity. The FSMA made the update following a number of complaints from Belgium-based users who dealt with fraudulent offers of investment in digital currencies, according to a Feb. 21 announcement. After the latest revision, the FSMA’s list now includes a total of 141 websites offering cryptocurrency-related services.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) conducted a training course on combating dark web-facilitated crime. Law enforcement representatives from Central Asian countries were taught how the darkweb and cryptocurrencies function, in order to better combat drug-related crime.

Industry 

Fidelity International has invested $14 million in Hong Kong-listed digital asset firm BC Group. The funding form the arm of US asset manager Fidelity Investments, which claims to have 23 million retail accounts, is part of a $36 million round that the public technology startup raised earlier this month in a share placement.

Quote of the day

Bitcoin is actually digital real estate, but i don’t have time to try to convince you, sorry

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Top 3 Price Prediction Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple: Consolidation process underway

  • The main technical indicators are retracing and confirming a consolidation in the short term.
  • Tom Lee anticipates a parabolic rise in price when Bitcoin overcomes the current phase of distrust.
  • Market sentiment collapses and enters a “fear” zone.

The Crypto board continues to be immersed in an emotional leg-breaking, consistently punishing the emotional state of the traders with its continuous changes of direction.

Today the tone is slightly positive, and the Top 3 components regain the levels of support lost yesterday.

Tom Lee, the co-founder of Fundstrat, has stated at the Coingeek 2020 in London that when the Bitcoin reaches a critical size, it will experience an upward momentum similar to that experienced by Tesla in recent months.

Lee admitted that the current market is still tiny:

“The percentage of cryptography of traditional liquid assets is 0.1%. It’s much smaller than people think,” he said, adding, “Until crypto gets bigger, it’s largely a retail market. What happens when institutions start buying crypto? Well, FOMO is going to take action.

Later in his speech, he raised the parallel with what happened with the actions of the automobile company founded by Elon Musk:

“In four months, the institutions went from an underweight Tesla to a market exposure that is 0.7% Tesla exposure; they added a market cap of $140 billion. The day the institutions decide they want to be cryptographic in terms of market weight, they will see the same kind of parabolic movement, almost in an instant”.

Looking at statistics from alternative.me, the fear and greed index is currently at 44, the same as yesterday, indicating that the crypto market is still in “fear” mode. If trading above the $9000/BTC mark the market is afraid, I can’t even imagine at what price level the emotional state would change to “euphoria”.


ETH/BTC Daily Chart

The ETH/BTC pair is currently trading at the price level of 0.02705. Technically, it is significant that consolidation is occurring above 0.026.

Above the current price, the first resistance level is at 0.0275, then the second at 0.029 and the third one at 0.030.

Below the current price, the first support level is at 0.0265, then the second at 0.025 and the third one at 0.023.

The MACD on the daily chart is sloping towards the quick average and threatens a bearish cross over the weekend. The opposite scenario is a further upward rebound.

The DMI on the daily chart shows the bulls dominating the ETH/BTC pair, although it maintains the bearish profile of the last few days. Bears are increasing their trend force a bit, but are still far from being able to threaten the dominance of the buying side.


BTC/USD Daily Chart

BTC/USD is currently trading at the price level of $9753, above the price congestion support level by $9625.

Above the current price, the first resistance level is at $10600, then the second at $11250 and the third one at $13862.

Below the current price, the first support level is at $9150, then the second at $8750 and the third one at $8400.

The MACD on the daily chart continues the downward trend but does not increase the gap between the lines or the slope. The setup suggests that the bearish consolidation continues.

The DMI on the daily chart shows absolute indecision on both sides of the market: both bulls and bears ties at the 20 level of the indicator.

ETH/USD Daily Chart

ETH/USD is trading at the $263.7 price level, and despite today’s rise, it fails to regain the first resistance level at $265.

Above the current price, the first resistance level is at $290, then the second at $306 and the third one at $315

Below the current price, the first support level is at $250, then the second at $238 and the third one at $230.

The MACD on the daily chart shows a recent bearish cross. If it develops as it did for the BTC/USD, the result will be a consolidation move in a downward direction.

The DMI on the daily chart shows the bulls losing strength continuously. The bears are increasing their power at the same rate as the buying side is losing it.

XRP/USD Daily Chart

The XRP/USD pair is currently trading at the price level of $0.2759.

Above the current price, the first resistance level is at $0.285, then the second at $0.29 and the third one at $0.30.

Below the current price, the first support level is at $0.268, then the second at $0.255 and the third one at $0.24.

The MACD on the daily chart shows the most aggressive bearish cross profile among the Top 3. This setup is a clear reflection of the volatility that exists in the price of the XRP/USD pair.

The DMI on the daily chart shows that bulls and bears are already very close to the shock point. From this setup, we can expect an increase in volatility due to uncertainty.

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