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Silk Road Seller Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering $19 Million With Bitcoin

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A former narcotics trafficker pled guilty to charges that he laundered $19 million in profit through Silk Road.

Prosecutors with the Southern District of New York announced a plea deal with Hugh Brian Haney on Thursday, adding another postscript to the infamous dark web marketplace’s history. According to a press release, Haney was accused of laundering close to $20 million using bitcoin in early 2018.

Silk Road was among the dark web’s earliest drug marketplaces and a haven for its bitcoin-accepting vendors until its operator, Ross Ulbricht, was arrested in October 2013 and the site was shut down. Ulbricht is currently serving a life sentence on charges of narcotics distribution, computer hacking and conspiracy. 

Haney was one of the sellers who used the marketplace. According to the prosecutors, Haney was a “high-ranking member” of a narcotics outfit known as Pharmville, and is said to have received nearly 4,000 bitcoin from Silk Road-linked

accounts through February 2012. According to the complaint, he trafficked in fentanyl, oxycontin and other narcotic sales.

“Hugh Haney used Silk Road as a means to sell drugs to people all over the world,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement. “Then he laundered more than $19 million in profits through cryptocurrency.”

He was caught after liquidating his remaining bitcoins on an exchange for $19,147,053 in January and February 2018. The unnamed company froze his account and launched an internal investigation that ultimately led to a search warrant. Haney was arrested in July 2019.

Initially, Haney claimed his bitcoin came from a mining operation. But investigators used “blockchain analysis software” to show the funds came from Silk Road, according to the July complaint.

According to his plea deal, Haney pled guilty to one count of concealing money laundering and one count of engaging in a financial transaction in criminally derived property. He is set to be sentenced in February 2020.

Source.coindesk

Bitcoin

Bitcoin Price Analysis: BTC/USD failure to break $9,000 resistance could open the Pandora box

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  • Bitcoin Friday’s recovery stalls at $9,000, allowing for correction.
  • Bitcoin buyers must defend the short term support at $8,800 in order to avoid further dips to $8,500.

Following an event-filled week, Bitcoin alongside other digital assets is in a correction. On Friday, Bitcoin resurfaced above $8,900, further cementing the bulls’ position on the market. They pulled the price higher, where Bitcoin came into contact with the $9,000 psychological level. However, the momentum lost steam allowing the bears to make an entrance pushing Bitcoin below the short term support at $8,900.

At the time of writing,

Bitcoin is trading $8,836 in the wake of a subtle -0.67% correction on the day. The ongoing downward momentum is likely to test the immediate support at $8,800. Similarly, the Relative Strength Index (RSI) suggests that the bears are taking over. If the RSI continues to dive, Bitcoin could retest the recent support at $8,500.

The long term picture hints hard times ahead for Bitcoin, especially with the formation of a rising wedge pattern. If the pattern’s support fails to hold, energized reversal could push Bitcoin back into the $7,000 range. For now, the best the buyers can do is to sustain the price above $8,800 and ensure they don’t lose focus of the resistance at $9,000.

BTC/USD 4-hour chart

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Bitcoin volume, volatility finally find momentum after December lows

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Bitcoin is remembering to be volatile again!

The real trading volume for Bitcoin is back up to its November 2019 levels after its price broke out of the lows seen during the holiday season. Thanks, in good measure, to the volatile few weeks the cryptocurrency is having.

According to the latest report by Arcane Research, Bitcoin, earlier this week, recorded its highest 7-day average trading volume for the past 3 months. The average trading volume for the past week was in the range of $800 million – $900 million, a significant high considering the fact that December’s trading volume went below $500 million due to Bitcoin’s relatively stable price.

Source: Bitcoin Real Volume, Arcane Research

On 14 January, Tuesday, as Bitcoin began the day with a 4 percent pump in under two hours, breaking $8,500 for the first time since mid-November, the real trading volume notched an unprecedented $1.7 billion.

Here, it should be noted that the report measures real trading volume, according to Bitwise real 10. In March 2019, Bitwise Asset Management had released a report where it categorized 10 exchanges that reported “real volume.” The exchanges were Binance, Coinbase, Gemini, Poloniex, Bittrex, Bitstamp,

bitFlyer, Bitfinex, Bitfinex, and itBit. In this report, however, itBit’s data has been excluded.

When volume spurts, volatility is not far behind.

Source: Bitcoin 30-day Volatility, Arcane Research

Bitcoin’s 30-day volatility is back up to November levels, according to the report. Now hovering at around 3.5 percent, the volatility has been steadily increasing since the beginning of the month.

After Bitcoin’s massive 10 percent single-day gain on 19 December, a surge that took it from $6,600 to over $7,200, the volatility had been in a slump. During the Christmas-New Year period, Bitcoin’s price was locked in and stayed around $7,500, pulling the volatility to as low as 2 percent.

Both volume and volatility have now turned around, making massive gains as the price continues to test the $9,000 ceiling. The Bitcoin market is, however, fickle and sensitive to various elements. For instance, Bitcoin’s biggest daily gain of 2019 came a day after it entered its Death Cross, a trading term meant to signal a bearish period. Hence, this increase in volatility and volume should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Arcane is not quite pessimistic. The report stated that “this time is different,” adding that the increasing volume and volatility are collectively an “upwards trend.”

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BITCOIN DOMINANCE DOES NOT SIGNAL ALTCOIN SEASON, HERE’S WHY

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The number designating the dominance of Bitcoin (BTC) may be a faulty metric, especially when estimating the potential of altcoins. Instead, the metric has been proposed as a way to gauge the market direction.


BITCOIN DOMINANCE IS A FLAWED METRIC

The size of the BTC market capitalization has been criticized as flawed, as not all coins in circulation can be sold at the market price for the moment. However, the number is viewed as a gauge to the sentiment about the chances of BTC or altcoins to rally.

What skews the metric is the fact that smaller altcoins and new projects tend to rally, rising to higher valuations. But those valuations don’t mean in any way that Bitcoin has been challenged in terms of technology or adoption. In fact, a rising market cap share may simply mean an asset or a set of assets is going through a pump.

Currently, bitcoin market cap dominance is at 66.1%; a long way off its peak. The metric shows the price recovery of bitcoin, since a drop of dominance to around 33% in December 2018. In the past few months, the ratio of valuations between bitcoin and altcoins has remained relatively unchanged.

ALTCOINS SUSTAINED
DEEPER LOSSES, TRADERS STILL AVOIDANT

BTC dominance also refers to an older market cycle, where bitcoin flowed into altcoins to cause pumps, then profits were taken out. This led to many altcoins achieving peaks in Satoshi terms. But this cycle has not repeated during the two years of the bear market for altcoins.10 BTC & 20,000 Free Spins for every player in mBitcasino’s Winter Cryptoland Adventure!

Instead, BTC has established new forms of speculation, as traders were too frightened to venture into illiquid altcoins. Instead, direct speculation on BTC prices is happening on futures markets, and moving between bitcoin positions and stablecoins.

Altcoins and tokens also showed that losses of 99% of value, followed by continuing deep losses, are not unusual for smaller, less liquid assets. At the same time, bitcoin has fluctuated, though still remaining a solid store of value. BTC lost about 80% of its value from peak to bear-market bottom, still a smaller loss in comparison to most altcoins.

However, there still appear predictions based on altcoin market cap dominance – as the markets still await another altcoin season cycle.

But movements in market cap dominance are an uncertain metric for both new altcoins, and for older assets that attempt to rally on their own terms.

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