Crypto News Headlines (11-Feb-2022)

The crypto market appears to have shrugged off weeks of lackluster performance as the price of Bitcoin(BTC) rose 14.5% over the past week to its current value of just over $43,000, according to Coinmarketcap.

Bitcoin Slid nearly 3% over the day after peaking above $45,500 on Thursday,  but is now well above this year’s bottom of $33,500 seen on January 24.

This may still be not enough for some investors, though, with recent analysis by asset manager Blockforce Capital indicating that the average price investors bought Bitcoin at over the last five months is $47,000.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the arrest of Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan on charges of conspiracy to launder cryptocurrency stolen during the 2016 Bitfinex hack, and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

The story has captured mainstream fascination this week like few other crypto stories do, in particular because people have been fascinated with the alleged culprits, who showed off their New York City social lives and rapped on Instagram and TikTok. 

As Bitcoin analyst Jason Deane of Quantum Economics told Decrypt, “It seems impossible to marry the sheer extent of the alleged crime with the meme-rich videos of these two ‘influencers’ who appear as far away from being master criminals as it is possible to be.”

Here’s what we know thanks to the public legal documents: The DOJ seized $3.6 billion worth of Bitcoin; both Lichtenstein and Morgan have been charged with conspiracy to launder cryptocurrency, and conspiracy to defraud the U.S.; and if found guilty, both parties face up to 20 years in prison.

Binance, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, is making a $200 million strategic investment in Forbes, the 104-year-old magazine and digital publisher, CNBC has learned.

The funds will help Forbes execute on its plan to merge with a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, in the first quarter, according to people with knowledge of the deal.

Investors have grown skeptical of SPAC deals generally, and media deals in particular, in recent months amid the broader stock market retrenchment. Binance will replace half of the $400 million in commitments from institutional investors announced by Forbes in August, said the people, who declined to be identified before the transaction is announced.

In November 2021, Zomato reported a consolidated net loss of Rs 434.9 crore for the July-September quarter, saying it was mainly on account of investments in the growth of its food delivery business. With those out of the way, the company earlier today reported that its consolidated net loss fell sharply to Rs 67.2 crore in October-December. Meanwhile, Swiggy’s consolidated revenue from operations fell by 26.6% in a pandemic-hit FY2021.

The top altcoin led the market recovery on the back of recent Bitcoin gains. Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap was finally above the $3000 psychological barrier as the market bullish momentum seemed to regain strength. 

Nonetheless, there was some peculiar market movement over the last few days which may have had a part to play in ETH’s current trajectory. 

In the last one day itself, larger amounts of Ethereum have been moved between anonymous addresses. Data from crypto tracking service Whale Alert pointed out that in the early hours of 10 February, 100,000 ETH worth $318,372,739 at that time was transferred from unknown wallet to unknown wallet. 

Furthermore, just a few hours from press time, 8,797 ETH close to $28,435,772 was transferred from an unknown wallet to Huobi.

The “Freedom Convoy” of Canadian truckers in Ottawa has raised nearly 16 Bitcoin (roughly $700,000) from 4,877 donors after their GoFundMe donations were blocked. 

The group even has garnered support from Elon Musk via Twitter, who belives crypto “cannot be stopped.” In late January, Musk also tweeted, “Canadian truckers rule.”

The trucker convoy in Ottawa making international headlines was formed in opposition to nationwide vaccination mandates on truckers re-entering Canada from the United States. It has since evolved to object to all COVID-19 health restrictions, spawning similar protests throughout Canada.

Ottawa police are attempting to reign in the convoy over concerns of their trucks blockading city streets and interfering with local businesses.

In the past few months, the world’s been shrinking fast for Bitcoin miners. After China expelled the industry in June, the exiles moved on to Iran and Kazakhstan, only to get booted again when their giant appetite for electricity stretched power grids to the breaking point, causing blackouts that sparked angry protests in Tehran and Almaty. Since then, nation after nation that fear the same fate are joining the ban-Bitcoin movement. In December, India proposed a law slamming the gates, and in Sweden, two top officials advocated a full EU ban, arguing that “clean Bitcoin” powered by the nation’s wind and solar farms is still a bad deal. Soon after, regulators in Norway agreed. If Bitcoin’s robbing loads of Europe’s energy, the warning goes, its nations won’t have enough power to produce cars, steel and semiconductors, and light homes, as its nations make the transition from fossil fuels to renewables. Most of the world is saying, if you don’t want cities going dark and need to reach climate goals, dump Bitcoin mining.

This week, the head of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) urged Congress to give his agency power to regulate the cryptocurrency market. He warned senators that failing to do so would restrict the regulator’s ability to prevent fraud. The news comes as some market stakeholders suggest that a turf war might be brewing between the CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over which regulator should take the lead when it comes to cryptocurrencies. Rostin Behnam, the CFTC chair, made the remarks on Wednesday this week when speaking in front of the Senate Agriculture Committee. He said that Congress needed to grant the agency more authority and resources to regulate the digital assets commodity market. His comments came after he sent a letter to Congress on Tuesday in response to a letter from the committee. In the letter, Behnam described the current regulations as “an insufficient patchwork of regulations imposed mostly at the state level.”

The Reserve Bank of India kept key lending rates —repo rate and reverse repo rate —unchanged at 4 percent and 3.35 percent, respectively on Thursday. The central bank has projected 7.8 percent GDP growth in FY23, which is lower than the Finance Ministry’s estimate of 8 to 8.5 percent.

Investors cheered the RBI’s status quo on key interest rates and policy stance with most rate-sensitive stocks rising. This pushed the headline indices higher.

Meanwhile, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said inflation is expected to peak in Q4 of FY22 and it shall moderate in the second half of FY23. According to him, the food prices are easing and that is adding to optimism but the hardening crude oil prices is a major upside risk.

The central bank maintained its critical stance on cryptocurrency and said it is a huge threat to macroeconomic and financial stability. He warned that cryptocurrency investors must keep in mind that they are investing at their own risk and that there’s no underlying for such assets.

The first phase of Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections 2022 was held today in western UP across 58 constituencies in 11 districts. About 58 percent of voters cast their ballot in this phase of polling, which covered the Jat-dominated belt of UP’s western region.

The drawdown seen earlier took shape as investors digested fresh US inflation data that came in at 7.5% against an expected 7.3% year-over-year. Risk-on assets such as crypto and equities reacted lower, with all eyes now on the Federal Reserve’s rate hike slated for March.

The S&P 500 was down 0.23% and the Nasdaq composite -0.18%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average stayed just above the flatline.

Crypto trader and analyst Michael van de Poppe observed:

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) results for the U.S.A. are coming in at 7.5% year-over-year, the expectations were 7.3% year-over-year.$DXY is shooting up and risk-on assets are dropping down like Bitcoin & equities.Likelihood that the FED will start rate hikes in March.”

Crypto trader Cantering Clark says Bitcoin’s dip from intraday highs has brought it back into range. He suggests the cryptocurrency will resume its recent upside momentum if the slip in stocks has also seen a low. For him, the key is for BTC to hold above $43k.