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The CFTC Fines Kraken $1.25M for Offering Unregulated Margin Trading

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U.S. crypto exchange Kraken has been hit with a hefty fine by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for illegal crypto products.

According to a CFTC statement on Sept. 28, Kraken allowed U.S. customers to access products that were supposed to be prohibited for them.

The order requires Kraken to pay a $1.25 million civil monetary penalty and to “cease and desist from further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act.”

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The exchange, founded in 2011, allowed its U.S. customers to trade with margin products between June 2020 and July 2021. It was also accused of failing to register as a futures commission merchant (FCM).

No Margin for Americans

CFTC acting enforcement director, Vincent McGonagle, said that to offer such products, the company must register with regulators.

“Margined, leveraged or financed digital asset trading offered to retail U.S. customers must occur on properly registered and regulated exchanges in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations,”

He added that the action is part of the CFTC’s broader effort to protect U.S. customers. Margined retail commodity transactions in digital assets are frowned upon by regulators due to the amplified risks of liquidation.

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Kraken served as the sole margin provider and had custody of all assets purchased using margin for the duration of the customer’s open margined position, the order stated.

It added that traders could not withdraw assets on margin for 28 days as Kraken held on to them. Additionally, the exchange could “initiate a forced liquidation if the value of the collateral dipped below a certain threshold percentage of the total outstanding margin.”

Kraken settled the CFTC’s claims without admitting or denying them, and the agency noted the firm’s cooperation. In a statement, Kraken said it was committed to working with regulators to ensure rules for crypto assets create a level-playing field for traders globally.

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CFTC Image. Source: Yahoo

Regulation Warning

In April this year, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell warned that the crypto industry would likely be subject to heavier regulations in the U.S.

Speaking to CNBC at the time regarding regulation, he said, “I hope that the U.S. and international regulators don’t take too much of a narrow view on this. Some other countries, China especially, are taking crypto very seriously and taking a very long-term view.”

In May, Kraken was ordered by a Californian court to provide information to the Internal Revenue Service on users who executed crypto trades for $20,000 or more between 2016 and 2020.

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Kraken Announces Support for Shiba Inu (SHIB)

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The cute Shiba Inu puppy bit the bloodthirsty Kraken and infected it with bullishness.

Kraken, the eighth largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world according to Coingecko, announced today that it would start supporting the trading of Shiba Inu (SHIB), a Dogecoin-inspired cryptocurrency that has gained a lot of popularity after the boom of the meme tokens during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Trade Shiba Inu On Kraken… NOW!

The exchange doesn’t want to wait another second for its users to start messing around with the token, and its Twitter announcement makes that clear, in all caps, exclamation points and all:

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Kraken knows how to read its userbase. The decision to include Shiba Inu has probably been the Platform’s most popular listing. The announcement got 41.2K likes in a single day and just over 16.4K Retweets.

This makes it the second most popular tweet of the crypto exchange, only beaten by a challenge in which the Community Management team pledged to list Shiba Inu if their tweet got over, erm, 2,000 likes.

Following the tweet’s success, the exchange kept its word – at least in part. The team assured that they would take the interaction into account, although they warned that listing processes are lengthy.

They didn’t list it right away, but today’s announcement shows that they didn’t fail the community either. According to an official blog post, Kraken and Kraken Terminal will be available for Shiba Inu, but futures and Margin Trading will not.

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It will be traded only against USD and EUR.

$SHIB Rebounds, But Is That Enough?

The price of Shiba Inu reacted strongly, also driven by a Bitcoin rally.

SHIB rose more than 15% on the daily candlestick, going from $0.00004522 to a high of $0.00004573, breaking past the EMA 20 resistance that marked the top of a downtrend that started after its ATH on October 28 and was confirmed on the charts on November 16.

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Currently, Shiba Inu is trying to consolidate a trend reversal and aim for possible recovery. And, today’s candlestick —currently on formation— seems to point to a little bullish sentiment among traders.

Price of Shiba Inu. 24h candlesticks. Image: Tradingview
Price of Shiba Inu. 24h candlesticks. Image: Tradingview

By the time of writing this article, Shiba Inu has a price of $0.00004894, which is already 8% up since the opening of the daily candlestick.

However, the real activity begins in a few hours as Kraken gets more liquidity in the token. Resistance is also getting flatter and flatter, indicating a slowdown in the token’s decline, which is usually a good sign for holders.

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Kraken Exec drops Shiba Inu [SHIB] listing hint; Deletes tweet later

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Shiba Inu [SHIB] saw some high-profile listing announcements this month. But whether Kraken is seriously considering adding support for the meme-coin, is still up for speculation.

Brian Hoffman, who happens to be the Product Lead of Kraken today hinted that it may finally list the Shiba Inu [SHIB]. While the exec did not outrightly say that, Hoffman did tweet that he was “feeling good about this upcoming week.” It also had a GIF featuring a Shiba Inu dog. The now-deleted tweet looks something like this-

Kraken Exec drops Shiba Inu [SHIB] listing hint; Deletes tweet later

This isn’t the first time Kraken had teased about listing SHIB. Kraken had said that it would list the token if its tweet gets 2K likes. Despite 20k likes, the exchange is yet to deliver its promise.

Following the backlash, the exchange revealed that it had started the review process required to list SHIB. Its tweet to the SHIB Army two days later read,

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“SHIB Army we’ve heard you loud & clear! Community is an important part of our considerations for all listings, and you have clearly shown your support. There’s more work for us to do as we move through our listing review process.”

Where is Shiba Inu’s [SHIB] price headed?

Kraken Exec drops Shiba Inu [SHIB] listing hint; Deletes tweet later

The volatility in the market has taken a dip as depicted by the converging Bollinger Bands [BB]. The above 4-hour SHIB chart also revealed that price movement has been constricted to the symmetrical triangle pattern for the past week. The low volume has been one of the major factors that have caused hindrance to the uptrend.

The looming death cross as the 50 moving average [Pink] neared the 200 moving average [Yellow] further validated the bearish thesis.

Kraken Exec drops Shiba Inu [SHIB] listing hint; Deletes tweet later

The technicals do not look optimistic. For one, the dotted markers of Parabolic SAR aligned themselves below SHIB’s candlesticks arrangements. The closing bars of Awesome Oscillator [AO] pointed towards bullish momentum which appeared to be fading. On the other hand, the Relative Strength Index [RSI] is projecting a mild buy signal as it struggled to hold its ground above the 50-median line.

At the time of writing, SHIB was trading at $0.00005330. The above analysis indicated that the imminent death cross may flip the buy signal into a period of sell-off. A bearish breakout from the symmetrical triangle pattern could drag the asset to its immediate support area of $0.00004801. A breach of this level can be damaging and bring $0.00003595 and even to a low of $0.00002802 into play especially in case of a market meltdown.

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FTX USA surpasses Kraken and Coinbase and becomes the most liquid broker in the country

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FTX.US, the American affiliate of FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried’s global cryptocurrency brokerage, is matching its rivals.

This Thursday (11), West Realm Shires Services Inc, operator of FTX.US, announced the broker’s financial results for the third quarter of 2021, with an increase of 512% in average daily trading volume (about US$ 360 million) among the key metrics.

The platform has had US$768 million traded in the last 24 hours, according to the website CoinGecko, a number that is not far from the record value of US$807 million registered on September 7th.

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Currently, FTX.US is the fourth largest crypto broker in the US in terms of volume, behind only Coinbase, Kraken and Binance.US.

However, there is one crucial metric on which FTX.US already outperforms Coinbase and Kraken: liquidity.

The term “liquidity” is used in financial markets to describe the ease with which an asset can be converted into cash or exchanged for another asset. The greater the liquidity, the lower the risk that a brokerage firm will not be able to complete a trade at the indicated price.

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According to the CryptoWatch website, FTX.US holds the first place in terms of liquidity among all crypto brokers in the US, as the company points out that it has held that position since the beginning of the year.

FTX.US is also reported to have accounted for about 4.5% of all trading volume on the US spot market through the end of September (a 2% increase from the start of the third quarter).

The number of users in the period between July and September increased 52%, said the broker.

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“The trust and support of our user base has allowed FTX.US to become the fastest growing and most in demand crypto brokerage in the US, but we have barely started,” said Brett Harrison, president of FTX.US.

According to him, the broker will continue to increase its current offerings and “quickly expand into new areas, including derivatives, NFTs and payment services”.

FTX and its regulatory ambitions

During the third quarter, FTX.US also announced the launch of its own market for non-fungible tokens (or NFTs). Still, the main focus remains on the company’s derivatives plans.

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In August, the company announced the acquisition of LedgerX, a crypto derivatives trading platform regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (or CFTC).

The deal was finalized in October and LedgerX was renamed FTX US Derivatives.

According to Harrison, this acquisition puts FTX.US “in a unique position to reshape the US derivatives market” as it allows the company to provide licensed crypto futures and options to both retail and institutional customers.

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FTX.US also hopes to play a central role in defining regulatory policy for crypto, according to Harrison.

To further strengthen its position in this sector, the broker has hired Mark Wetjen, a former CFTC representative, as its policy and regulatory strategy leader.

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