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Upbit Exchange Delists Privacy Coins Due to Money Laundering Concerns

South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Upbit announced that it will cease trading support for six cryptocurrencies, including some so-called privacy coins.

Block the possibility of money laundering

In a Sept. 20 notice, UpBit announced that the exchange will delist and cease trading support for Monero (XMR), DASH, ZCash (ZEC), Haven (XHV), BitTube (TUBE) and PIVX by Sept. 30.

The exchange added that it will no longer support deposits in these cryptocurrencies and will cancel orders requested before the end of the transaction support in Korean won, Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH) and USDT markets.

Upbit clarified that the reason for delisting these six privacy coins is to block the possibility of  money laundering and the inflow from external networks. 

Upbit follows in OKEx’s footsteps

This news comes just days after the South Korean arm of cryptocurrency exchange OKEx, OKEx Korea, removed support for five major altcoins due to new international regulations. 

OKEx Korea confirmed it would halt trading of Monero, Dash, Zcash, Horizen (ZEN) and Super Bitcoin (SBTC) on Oct. 10. The reason being that as since they are focused on privacy, the coins fall foul of new guidelines set out by the intergovernmental body the Financial Action Task Force, or FATF.

The FATF is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering. While it is not mandatory for nations to comply with their recommendations, it could see non-compliant nations end up on a financial blacklist. 

More exchanges could follow

As Cointelegraph previously reported, the sweeping changes to crypto transaction rules demand businesses to identify the two parties sending funds to each other if a transaction is worth more than around $1,000.

More than 200 countries should theoretically implement the rules by June 2020, despite concerns that doing so is physically impossible for many decentralized blockchains.

Former Iced Tea-Turned-Blockchain Company Sells Beverage Subsidiary

Long Blockchain Corp., previously named Long Island Iced Tea, has reached a definitive agreement to sell its beverage subsidiary, Long Island Brand Beverages.

Lemonade company adds blockchain to its name

In a Sept. 20 press release, Long Blockchain announced the sale of its beverage subsidiary to Canadian firm ECC2 Ventures. 

Andy Shape, CEO of Long Blockchain stated that this transaction will allow the company to concentrate its efforts on the underlying loyalty operating business, adding: 

“Our loyalty platform has experienced strong growth over the past year with new and existing customers, and we look forward to building on that progress.”

The former iced tea and lemonade manufacturing company had rebranded itself from Long Island Iced Tea to Long Blockchain in the beginning of 2018, which resulted in the company’s share price rising from under $5 million to almost $70 million in a few days.

As Cointelegraph reported in April 2018, Long Blockchain was delisted from the Nasdaq for low market capitalization, while just a few months after, it was issued a subpoena by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. 

In 2017, it was not uncommon for companies to capitalize on the blockchain euphoria sweeping the globe and add the word “blockchain” to their names, despite having nothing to do with the technology. 

FBI looking into Long Blockchain Corp.

In July, Cointelegraph reported that the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is looking into Long Island Iced Tea’s shift to blockchain for evidence of insider trading and securities fraud.

The FBI was seeking to expand a warrant from a different case in order to gain access to communications for their investigation into the former iced tea company. These communications allegedly included evidence that the firm was involved in a possible trading scam.

CME Group to Launch Options on Bitcoin Futures in Q1 2020

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group is adding options to its Bitcoin (BTC) futures contracts in the first quarter of 2020, pending regulatory review.

The development was announced in a news release on Sept. 20.

“Flexibility to hedge Bitcoin price risk”

Tim McCourt — CME Group Global Head of Equity Index and Alternative Investment Products — said:

“Based on increasing client demand and robust growth in our Bitcoin futures markets, we believe the launch of options will provide our clients with additional flexibility to trade and hedge their bitcoin price risk.”

McCourt added that the new products are intended to help institutions and professional traders manage spot market Bitcoin exposure, as well as enable them to hedge Bitcoin futures positions in a regulated exchange environment.

CME Group’s announcement notes that, since the launch of Bitcoin futures on the exchange in December 2017, there have been 20 successful futures expiration settlements, with more than 3,300 individual accounts trading the product.

Year to date, a reported 7,000 CME Bitcoin futures contracts — equivalent to roughly 35,000 BTC — have traded on average each day.

For clients hedging or trading benchmark options on futures across diverse asset classes, CME Group notes that it has seen an average daily volume of 4.3 million in 2019 thus far.

Meanwhile, institutional interest in CME Bitcoin futures peaked in early summer 2019, with a record 56 large open interest holders reported in July.

Institutional momentum gathering pace

This intense uptake has been gradually building all year, with Cointelegraph previously reporting that, in May, CME Bitcoin futures had hit a then all-time high. 

Elsewhere in the institutional Bitcoin futures space, Bakkt Warehouse — the qualified custodian for crypto trading platform Bakkt — began accepting customer Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals earlier this month.

Bakkt intends to launch physically delivered Bitcoin futures, in contrast to the existing cash-settled Bitcoin futures offered by both CME and the Chicago Board Options Exchange.

Ripple Avoids XRP Question as It Moves to Dismiss Securities Lawsuit

Blockchain network Ripple has filed a controversial motion to dismiss a lawsuit over it allegedly selling unregistered securities.

Ripple: Securities ruling beyond scope of the court

In a court filing uploaded by Fortune on Sept. 20, lawyers representing the company against investor Bradley Sostack dismissed the claims against it.

Part of an ongoing legal battle, Sostack says Ripple’s sales of altcoin XRP in 2013 constituted an unlawful securities offering.

Ripple denies this, but the case has thrown up wider concerns over the legality of Ripple’s operations regarding XRP. As Cointelegraph reported, executives have refused to acknowledge the company’s relationship to the token, despite their huge personal holdings and sell-offs of it, which continue.

“Court need not resolve whether XRP is a security”

Now, fresh suspicions are already swirling after lawyers’ motion to dismiss failed to address the securities aspect of XRP at all. 

“Because of the multiple, independent grounds for dismissing this action, the Court need not resolve whether XRP is a security or currency for purposes of this Motion, which assumes Plaintiff’s allegation that XRP is a security,” a section reads.

The substance of the filing attracted attention from crypto-focused lawyer Jake Chervinsky, who adopted a realistic stance on the proceedings.

“They make twelve separate arguments for dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims. Not a single one squarely addresses whether XRP is an unregistered security,” he summarized on Twitter on Friday.

The latest developments appeared to have little impact on XRP markets, the token continuing to trade flat over the past 24 hours at just under $0.30.

Binance to Launch Fiat-to-Crypto OTC for Chinese Yuan in October

Cryptocurrency giant Binance plans to roll out its over-the-counter (OTC) trading platform for Chinese yuan in October.

Chinese market targets

Yi He, Binance co-founder and chief marketing officer (CMO) announced the news at a media session on Sept. 17, as Binance confirmed to Cointelegraph on Sept. 19.

According to the CMO, Binance’s new OTC onramp is scheduled to launch next month and only targets Chinese market as the current plan envisions supporting the Chinese renminbi only, a Binance spokesperson said.

To date, Binance has already set up an OTC trading desk that provides users with large transactions service, as noted by the representative. In April 2019, Binance saw an immense surge in OTC trading, reportedly recording nearly $80 million in profits. 

OTC has been the main way to buy BTC with fiat in China

China has been one of the most sceptical global jurisdictions towards Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies since the Chinese government banned crypto trading in Sept. 2017. Since then, OTC trades have largely become the principal method to buy Bitcoin with fiat money in China, with local investors purchasing stablecoins such as Tether (USDT) via OTC and converting them to other crypto.

OTC is a type of trading that involves a direct deal between two interested parties and is usually conducted without supervision over exchanges.

Binance prepares the ground

Meanwhile, Binance recently initiated its first move in China since the company’s departure from the country amid the crypto trading ban back in 2017. On Sept. 17, the China-founded exchange participated in a $200 million funding round for Beijing-based Mars Finance, a local crypto and blockchain publication.

Bitcoin Bulls in Danger as Price Drops $500 in Minutes Back Under $10K

For the past few days, the price of Bitcoin (BTC) has been hovering above the 20 Moving Average (MA) and drawing closer to the moving average as volume continued to taper off and lower highs were set each day. 

Crypto Market Data

Crypto Market Data Source: Coin360

The digital asset began to look bearish on multiple time frames and it seemed that a downward move was more likely than any other outcome. Once the 12 Exponential Moving Average (EMA) dropped below the 26-EMA on Sept. 16, aggressive intraday traders correctly predicted a double bottom bounce at $10,075. 

BTC/USD 6hr Chart

BTC/USD 6hr Chart Source: TradingView

As this price was hit for a third time on Wednesday amidst the continuation of lower highs, a bearish breakdown was on the cards. 

Surely, many traders are panicking given that the Bitcoin is fast approaching the termination point of the descending wedge. Everyone is expecting volatility and fingers are crossed in hopes Bitcoin will make an explosive upside move, which — when taking a view of the bigger picture — is certainly not off the table. 

BTC/USD Daily

BTC/USD Daily Chart Source: TradingView

The most recent drop brought Bitcoin price right to the 111 Day Moving Average (DMA), a point that has reliably functioned as a bounce point since Apr. 2. The 111 DMA lines up with the $9,600 support and a drop below this point brings BTC closer to exiting the base of the descending wedge at $9,385. This level has also functioned as a support and bounce point for Bitcoin since July 16. 

The pullback to the 111 DMA also lines up with the lower Bollinger Band arm and traders will note that the VPVR shows diminished demand below $9,500 until about $8,800. A drop below $9,300 would draw concern as there is minimal purchasing demand until below $8,600. 

BTC/USD Daily Chart

BTC/USD Daily Chart Source: TradingView

Macro trumps micro when it comes to Bitcoin investing

Bitcoin Golden Ratio creator Philip Swift recently advised traders to keep a hawk’s eye on Bitcoin’s historical volatility, which is dropping precipitously at the moment. Swift tweeted: 

“It’s now very possible that BTC just goes sideways for a while now. If that scenario plays out, then it is worth keeping an eye on Historical volatility — currently dropping quickly. It would present a lovely long position trade opportunity when it drops down to the green box.”

BTC/USD Daily Chart

BTC/USD Daily Chart Source: Philip Swift / TradingView 

Bitcoin Golden Ratio Multiplier

Bitcoin Golden Ratio Multiplier Souce: Philip Swift

Thought the indicator has a lag in reflecting Bitcoin’s spot action based on the API updates of the exchanges where it draws data, Swift’s Bitcoin Golden Ratio indicator shows BTC has dipped below the 1.6 (green line), which represents the higher level of a Bitcoin accumulation phase.  

While it’s unlikely that Bitcoin price will drop back to the 350 DMA (orange) at $6,562 it does suggest that if crucial supports fail to hold, Bitcoin could trade sideways for some time in a further prolonged accumulation phase into the 2020 halving event. 

All is not lost if this bearish situation was to play out, at this point, a drop to $9,350 or below could present an excellent opportunity to enter a low-leverage long position. If one backtests previous dips to $9,350 and $9,100, we can safely conclude that taking a low-leverage position at these price points would have produced satisfying profits. 

The weekly time frame is not bearish, yet…

Popular crypto analyst Filb Filb also zoomed out to the weekly timeframe and reassured investors that all is well with Bitcoin from a macro perspective.

BTC/USD

BTC/USD Source: Filb Filb / TradingView

 According to Filb Filb, this “wick fill narrative for the weekly BTC chart removes a lot of noise.”

He added:

“Prepared for the worst but this doesn’t scream descending triangle top into 50% selloffs to me. Also, VPVR gap at 6K was below — this time it is above. Just worth bearing in mind.” 

BTC/USD Weekly Chart

BTC/USD Weekly Chart Source: TradingView

As shown above, at the moment the weekly time frame is still encouraging with BTC continuing to pull away from a rising 20-WMA. The weekly high of $10,370 still reaches for the upper arm of the descending wedge but the succession of weekly lower highs does warrant attention. 

It’s natural that BTC’s price will tighten with occasional volume spikes as Bitcoin draws closer to the wedge termination point. 

BTC/USD Daily RSI

BTC/USD Daily RSI Source: TradingView

As discussed previously, the daily Relative Strenght Index (RSI) is falling toward 37, a point which has thrice been followed by an explosive upside move on Jan. 28, Feb. 7 and Aug. 28. 

BTC/USD OBV

BTC/USD OBV Source: TradingView

The same could be said for the daily On Balance Volume and traders should watch to see if a lower than 1.311, a point not breached since July 29.

BTC/USD Weekly RSI

BTC/USD Weekly RSI Source: TradingView

The weekly RSI is also clearly up to something. Perhaps in a worst-case scenario Bitcoin price will fall to $9,300, touch the bottom of the triangle on the weekly RSI, then reverse course, working its way back above $10K and on towards the overhead resistance at $10,250. 

Ultimately, Bitcoin price has flashed bearish signals for a few days now and a downside break seemed imminent. Now that it has occurred the next step is to see which supports hold and if Bitcoin will mirror previous bounces at the 111 DMA and descending wedge base. 

Already we have seen buyers step in around $9,600 to buy the dip. One would imagine that a dip to $9,350 would inspire even strong purchasing demand.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.

US FDA to Hold Meeting on Blockchain and AI in Food Traceability

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will hold a public meeting at which it will discuss its “New Era of Smarter Food Safety” initiative.

Per a Sept. 17 announcement, the FDA set up a meeting with a group of international stakeholders on October 21, 2019, to discuss public health challenges and the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act. Specifically, the FDA intends to establish “a more digital, traceable, and safer system” to protect consumers from contaminated food.

Efficient tracking of contaminated food

The initiative proposes to deploy technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and sensors to develop a digital food system, which will allow users to trace the sources of food products and assess associated risks.

The new approach was initially announced in late April by Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless and Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas. Per the announcement, emerging technologies could greatly reduce the time needed to trace the origin of contaminated food and respond to public health risks.

Food industry players are focusing on blockchain

Blockchain technology has the potential to transform and improve the food industry as many food retail and produce companies are making a pivot to its application. Just recently, Nestlé said it had to adopt a “start-up mindset” in order to push ahead with its challenging blockchain venture.

This summer, tech giant Oracle and the World Bee Project revealed the development of a blockchain-based sustainability assurance system for the honey supply chain. In addition to blockchain technology, BeeMark also plans to make use of data science to monitor environmental factors pertaining to the bees’ surroundings.

According to recent research conducted by the University College London center for blockchain and retail blockchain consortium, the grocery sector is currently responsible for nearly half of all distributed ledger technology-based supply chain projects.

‘Get Ready for Bitcoin $20K,’ Says BitMEX CEO as Fed Panic-Prints $53B

Bitcoin (BTC) could soon shoot to $20,000 as a result of emergency measures from the United States Federal Reserve, also known as The Fed, one of the industry’s biggest firms has said.

Fed echoes 2008 crisis moves

In a tweet on Sept. 18, Arthur Hayes, CEO of derivatives giant BitMEX, forecast that fresh quantitative easing (QE) would further decrease faith in fiat currency.

The comments come a day after the Fed swooped to decrease interest rates on some loans which reached more than 10%, or four times its target. More than $53 billion was pumped into the economy. 

“QE4eva is coming. Once the Fed gets religion again, get ready for #bitcoin $20,000,” Hayes wrote. 

The Fed’s QE injection marked its first emergency intervention since the end of the 2008 financial crisis, an event directly leading to Bitcoin’s creation. 

While the cryptocurrency has yet to see a global crisis of the same scale, markets have shown that Bitcoin price benefits from political and economic uncertainty.

Hayes doubles down on Bitcoin price

Not just the Fed, meanwhile, but also the European Central Bank (ECB) is following the QE trend once more this year. 

Completing its latest move last week, commentators believe markets want the ECB to continue the same behavior, giving rise to the “QE4eva” phenomenon described by Hayes.

Earlier this month, Hayes already said Bitcoin would again hit its all-time high of $20,000. As Cointelegraph reported, BitMEX is still grappling with unwanted attention from U.S. regulators, who suspect that Americans are bypassing BitMEX geoblocking and accessing the platform.

Bitcoin Addresses Worth $100,000 or More Hits All-Time-High

The number of Bitcoin (BTC) wallet addresses holding a minimum of 10 BTC — worth over $100,000 to press time —  has hit an all-time high, multiple data sources reveal.

According to BitInfoCharts’ Bitcoin Rich List, as of Sept. 17, there are 157,210 addresses holding between 10 and 1,000,000 BTC. 

Earlier this month, Coin Metrics’ State of the Network report had plotted the latest data historically to reveal that these mega-holders are at an all-time high for the network.

Addresses Holding At Least 10 BTC

No. of Bitcoin wallet addresses holding >10 BTC. Source: CoinMetrics, Sept. 4, 2019

Breaking down the data

Bitcoin wallet address holdings, Sept. 17, 2019

Bitcoin wallet address holdings, Sept. 17, 2019. Source: BitInfoCharts

The Bitcoin Rich List reveals that the holdings of the 10-100 BTC group — split between 140,940 unique addresses — are worth in excess of $46.1 billion.

Meanwhile, among the 1,942 addresses holding between 1,000 and 10,000 BTC each, the total value of their holdings is greater than $48.2 billion.

Just 4 addresses hold between 100,000 and 1 million BTC, worth a total of $5.35 billion.

Notably, the top 4 addresses on BitInfoCharts are centralized exchange wallet addresses, meaning that each reflects assets held in custody for tens of thousands of individual users. 

As Cointelegraph reported, the number five spot was just taken by a mystery 94K BTC transaction that occurred earlier this month. 

In a separate chart devoted to unique wallet addresses analyzed in terms of fiat currency value alone, BitInfoCharts’ data indicates there are 2,118 wallets worth over $10 million each and 17,273 addresses with holdings worth $1 million or more.

The top 1%

Parallel to data on these Bitcoin mega-holders, XRP users have been circulating metrics for the token this week revealing that holders of 70,000 XRP or above — worth $18,900 to press time — qualify as falling within the top 1% of XRP holders.

This June, as crypto winter saw the first sign of thawing, Cointelegraph reported that Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, founders of the Gemini crypto exchange, saw their fortune more than double to hit a combined $1.45 billion — restoring the twins’ erstwhile status as Bitcoin billionaires once again.

$10K Bitcoin Stronger Than Ever But No One Seems to Care: Google Trends

Bitcoin (BTC) has hit a four-month low this week — as a search term on Google, with market fatigue and boredom spreading beyond traders.

“Bitcoin” least Googled since May

Data from Google Trends confirms that the term “Bitcoin” is less popular now than at any time since the end of April. 

Despite the largest cryptocurrency actually trading higher this week than then — at $10,200 versus $4,100 — it appears Bitcoin currently attracts little mainstream interest.

On a normalized scale of 1 to 100, “Bitcoin” currently charts at 38 worldwide, after briefly hitting 100 in late June. That performance coincided with BTC/USD hitting its 2019 high of $13,800. 

12-month worldwide Google search popularity for “Bitcoin.”

12-month worldwide Google search popularity for “Bitcoin.” Source: Google Trends

Interest follows price

As Cointelegraph has previously reported, mainstream attention tends to fluctuate in line with Bitcoin price volatility.

Overall searches have rocketed since the beginning of April when Bitcoin price began its rise from months of sideways trading around $3,500. 

Other episodes of parabolic moves have likewise increased Bitcoin’s stance, as mainstream media titles frequently choose to cover cryptocurrency price performance over any other event.

BTC/USD has remained similarly flat around the $10,000 since mid-August, while commentators continue to suggest that volatility is ripe to return during the rest of the year.

$250K Bitcoin Price Prediction Is Now ‘Conservative,’ Says Tim Draper

Major Bitcoin (BTC) bull Tim Draper now thinks that his own prediction that BTC price will hit $250,000 by 2022 may be understating the power of Bitcoin.

BTC price to grow with adoption

In an interview with crypto news network Blocktv on Sept. 13, the famous American venture capital investor has once again expressed his bullish stance to Bitcoin, forecasting the soon-to-come mass global adoption that will push the price of Bitcoin higher and higher.

Draper stated in the interview:

“$250,000 means that Bitcoin would then have about a 5% market share of the currency world and I think that maybe understating the power of Bitcoin.”

Bitcoin still too complex 

According to Draper, people are still preferring fiat money over Bitcoin so far because fiat money seems to be an easier option to pay for services. The VC billionaire argued that Bitcoin’s lack of ease of use is the main impediment of the cryptocurrency to the mass adoption to date, claiming that “engineers have not made it that easy enough for everyone to use Bitcoin.”

However, in the longer term, people will have Bitcoin as the currency of choice because fiat currencies are subject to political influence due to its centralized nature and they will depreciate in value due to a natural inflation rate, Draper said. 

He also reiterated his stance that Argentina will be a great market for Bitcoin as a number of local entrepreneurs tend to lose their fortune in local fiat currency due to currency manipulation and devaluation.

Still, even in countries such as the United States, people will generally want a currency that is trusted and decentralized over a currency controlled by entities like the Federal Reserve, which can be very political, Draper concluded.

Draper’s new claims follow his recent forecast that there might be a slight delay in Bitcoin’s path to a $250,000 price. 

On Aug. 9, the investor predicted that Bitcoin price will hit the threshold by Q1 2023. On Sept. 9, Draper joined the board of directors of EOS-based decentralized application (DApp) firm MakeSense Labs.

Report: OKEx Delisting Monero, Dash, Privacy-Cryptos Over FATF Demands

The South Korean arm of cryptocurrency exchange OKEx is removing support for five major altcoins due to new international regulations. 

FATF rules halt privacy coins trading

According to crypto news outlet The Block on Sept. 16, OKEx’s Korea unit will halt trading of Monero (XMR), Dash (DASH), Zcash (ZEC), Horizen (ZEN) and Super Bitcoin (SBTC) on Oct. 10.

The reason, says the exchange, is that as since they are focused on privacy, the coins fall foul of new guidelines set out by the intergovernmental body the Financial Action Task Force, or FATF.

As Cointelegraph reported, the sweeping changes to crypto transaction rules demand businesses to identify the two parties sending funds to each other if a transaction is worth more than around $1,000. 

More exchanges could follow

More than 200 countries should theoretically implement the rules by June 2020, despite concerns that doing so is physically impossible for many decentralized blockchains. 

The five cryptocurrencies outlined by OKEx all make it all but impossible to identify the sender and recipient of a transaction by design. 

It remains unclear whether the exchange will apply the restrictions globally. Cointelegraph has reached out to OKEx for comment but did not receive a reply by press time.