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Telegram Denied: Court Sides With SEC, Grants Injunction Against Issuing GRAMs

A United States District Court has granted an injunction against Telegram, preventing the company from issuing its GRAM tokens at the present time.

Court says that GRAMS are securities under Howey test

Per a March 24 filing granting the Securities and Exchange Commission’s request for a preliminary injunction, the Court wrote that:

“The Court finds that the SEC has shown a substantial likelihood of success in proving that  the contracts and understandings at issue, including the sale of 2.9 billion Grams to 175 purchasers in exchange for $1.7 billion, are part of a larger scheme to distribute those Grams into  a secondary public market, which would be supported by Telegram’s ongoing efforts. Considering the economic realities under the Howey test, the Court finds that, in the context of that scheme, the resale of Grams into the secondary public market would be an integral part of the sale of securities without a required registration statement.”

The SEC and Telegram: A Hate Story

The Telegram court case has been ongoing since October last year, following the 2018 initial coin offering (ICO) for the Telegram Open Network (TON).

As with many ICOs, the SEC has taken the stance that under the 1934 Howey Test, such offerings constitute the sale of unregistered securities.

Telegram had held that since it filed a Form D 506(c) Notice of Exempt Offering of Securities prior to the first round of its offering, it was authorized to sell tokens to accredited investors.

However, the Court noted in granting the injunction that since Telegram intended for the Gram tokens to reach the secondary market, disqualifying them from exemption: 

“Telegram’s sale of Grams to the Initial Purchasers, who will  function as statutory underwriters, is the first step in an ongoing public distribution of securities and, as such, Telegram cannot receive the benefit of an exemption from the registration requirement under either section 4(a) or Rule 506(c).”

In a sentence that may deliver a blow to many issuers of tokens through the ICO model, the Court rejected Telegram’s argument that the Gram would become a commodity once actualized and therefore fell outside the purview of the SEC. 

“The Court rejects Telegram’s characterization of the purported security in this case. While helpful as a shorthand reference, the security in this case is not simply the Gram, which is little more than alphanumeric cryptographic sequence. Howey refers to an investment contract… that consists of the full set of contracts, expectations, and understandings centered on the sales and distribution of the Gram. Howey requires an examination of the entirety of the parties’ understandings and expectations.”

Concluding that the court must stop the delivery of GRAM tokens, the filing reads:

“The Court also finds that the delivery of Grams to the Initial Purchasers, who would resell them into the public market, represents a near certain risk of a future harm, namely the completion of a public distribution of a security without a registration statement.  An injunction, prohibiting the delivery of Grams to the Initial Purchasers and thereby preventing the culmination of this ongoing violation, is appropriate and will be granted.”

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

Bitcoin Price Eyeing $7,000 After Fed Says it Has ‘Infinite Cash’

Bitcoin (BTC) and gold showed clear signs of strength on March 24 as the United States Federal Reserve revealed the true extent of its money printing. 

Having cleared $6,000 on Monday, BTC/USD went on to hold ground at around $6,500. At the same time, gold rallied, as market analysts suggested its recent selloff was over.

Fed: We have “infinite cash”

The precious metal traded at around $1,572 at press time, a daily improvement of 1.35%. 

Bitcoin versus gold 1-year chart

Bitcoin versus gold 1-year chart. Source: Skew.com

For gold, the rebound echoed behavior during the financial crisis of 2008, Goldman Sachs highlighted, quoted by Bloomberg. Then, as now, the Fed removing barriers to dollar liquidity ultimately sent the precious metal shooting higher.

As various sources reported, the Fed will now embark on a giant buyback exercise which will be worth $125 billion each day — or a massive $2.5 trillion per month. 

Aimed at shoring up the U.S. economy, the scheme is akin to flooding the market with “new” dollars in what has become the biggest money printing experiment in U.S. history. 

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has already described the liquidity on offer to businesses and banks as “almost unlimited.” 

In an interview with CBS on Sunday, Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, went further still, saying:

“There is an infinite amount of cash in the Federal Reserve. We will do whatever we need to do to make sure there’s enough cash in the banking system.”

Fed going “full Zimbabwe”

This, in turn, has emboldened gold bugs and Bitcoiners alike, who argue that fiat is rapidly unraveling as a trustworthy financial instrument. In a tweet following the news, PlanB, the creator of Bitcoin’s stock-to-flow price model, described the Fed’s actions as the central bank going “full Zimbabwe.”

Bitcoin stock-to-flow price model as of March 24

Bitcoin stock-to-flow price model as of March 24. Source: PlanB/ Twitter

It’s timing, he noted, was pertinent — just 50 days before Bitcoin’s supply is due to drop to new lows of 6.25 BTC per block. 

Stock-to-flow calls for an average Bitcoin price of around $100,000 between 2021 and 2024. PlanB has demonstrated that the model remains intact, despite BTC/USD dipping below $4,000 last week.

Online Petition Asking for Ross Ulbricht’s Release Gathers 275K Signatures

A petition calling on the White House to release Ross Ulbricht, the creator of the dark web marketplace Silk Road, has gathered more than 275,000 signatures.

FreeRoss.org — an initiative created by a group of Ulbricht’s family, friends and supporters — has said that the momentum continues to grow and that they feel that a solution “could come soon.” 

Through an update on the online petitions website released on March 19, FreeRoss.org claimed Ross is “doing fine”. They have also reported that visits were canceled for 30 days, as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The online petition hopes to reach 300,000 signatures.

Ross not being “treated fairly”

The group of family and friends of Ulbricht assured that the double life sentence without parole is a “miscarriage of justice,” and he was “not treated fairly,” claiming to have the support of more than 200 organizations including many members of the cryptocurrency community.

Additionally, Ulbricht’s supporters accuse the federal investigators of corruption, in addition to prosecutorial misconduct and constitutional violations.

Tim Draper calls for Ulbricht’s release

On December 14, 2019, Cointelegraph reported the words of billionaire investor Tim Draper, who called for the release of the Silk Road founder during an interview with Fred Schebesta of the Crypto Finder video podcast:

“He’s been in jail for a while. Get him out. I cry when my cat goes into a cage, it tears my heart out when these prisoners go into cages.”

‘This Will and Needs to Be Bitcoin’s Year’ Says Mike Novogratz

With vast swaths of the world markets in virtual lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic, some predict that the shocks rippling through the global economy in early 2020 may yet come to dwarf the magnitude of the 2008 financial crash.

Just as Bitcoin (BTC)’s creation is bound up with 2008 and the Great Recession, Galaxy Digital founder Mike Novogratz sees this year as make-or-break for the cryptocurrency.

In a tweet posted on March 22 — just hours after the United States Congress failed to reach a bipartisan agreement on a proposed $2 trillion economic support package — Novogratz wrote:

“$BTC will continue to be volatile over the next few months but the macro backdrop is WHY it was created.  This will be and needs to be BTC’s year.”

Never let a good crisis go to waste

Earlier this month, traditional markets had suffered their worst blows since 1987 — a plummet mirrored in Bitcoin’s 60% drop to lows of around $3,600 on some exchanges.

As the pandemic enters its fifth week — exacerbated by collapsing demand and a price-war in the oil sector — spooked investors have continued their sell-offs overnight. 

Asian stocks have slumped in the fallout from the stalemate in Congress, with Wall Street futures crashing to hit their downside limit of 5%. 

Ten days ago — with investors deserting even “safe-haven” commodities such as gold — Novogratz argued that Bitcoin was no less vulnerable to the impact of the frantic liquidations:

“[Bitcoin] was always a confidence game. All crypto is. And it appears global confidence in just about anything has evaporated.”

Yet his latest tweet now points to the potential opportunities for the cryptocurrency amid the economic crisis.

In this view, Bitcoin — as a censorship-resistant medium of exchange and non-inflationary unit of account —  was designed precisely as an alternative to the faltering world monetary system. 

In a tweet that followed his remarks on Bitcoin yesterday, Novogratz had appealed to a stalling Congress not to repeat the “first failure of TARP” — the controversial bailout fund passed in 2008, which some consider to have left the structural weaknesses of the system virtually intact.

Taking note of Bitcoin’s apparent decoupling from COVID-stricken traditional markets earlier this week, Changpeng Zhao — the CEO of crypto exchange Binance — had similarly argued that the pandemic should be understood as a trigger, rather than the root cause, of a visibly fragile world economic order.

Did BTC Miners Crash Bitcoin Price With 51 Days Before the Halving?

Bitcoin (BTC) price has started to show strength in its recovery since the black Thursday selloff this past week, but is this something we can expect to continue? Or is this a dead cat bounce on the way down to lower lows?

In today’s analysis I’m looking not only at the charts, but also at the possibility of large Bitcoin miners being the cause of the 50% price drop on March 12, after supporting data emerged last week suggesting that short-term holders sold a whopping 281,000 BTC, which resulted in the crash.

Daily crypto market performance. Source: Coin360.com

Daily crypto market performance. Source: Coin360.com

Did miners dump over a quarter of a million BTC?

In an article published by Coinmetrics on March 17, on-chain data supported the fact that short-term BTC holders were most likely responsible for the selling rather than new holders.

The figures they quoted included 281,000 BTC was on the move after 30 days of holding, compared to 4,131 that hadn’t been touched for over a year before being moved.

This data might suggest to some that it was weak hands that FOMO bought in during Bitcoin’s 30% price rise at the beginning of 2020. However, one has to consider the possible motives at play for such a large amount of Bitcoin being sold off cheap.

This to me opens up the very real possibility that the same people responsible for Bitcoin’s price rise this year, were the same people responsible for its fall.

As can be seen in the chart below, Bitcoin had been trending in a downward parallel channel since June 2019 — a trend that seemed to bottom on Jan. 4, 2020, which saw the Bitcoin price take off in a new ascending channel.

This new impetus for Bitcoin’s price was welcomed, but not questioned. Why did Bitcoin start to rise? Was it the upcoming halving, which is now just 51 days away? Was it the mining difficulty increase? Was it renewed institutional interest? However, what if it was all of these things combined, but with a twist.

What if the miners stopped selling Bitcoin?

There are 1,800 new Bitcoins mined every day, and between the period of Jan. 4 and Mar 12, there would have been 122,400 Bitcoin mined. This is about 50% of the amount that was revived by short term holders, and you don’t get more short term than freshly mined BTC.

BTC USD daily chart. Source: TradingView

BTC USD daily chart. Source: TradingView

Why would miners crash the market?

I’m not going to pretend that I know any of this for a fact, this is just a theory with a lot of supporting data. But I will throw a few reasons that would make sense for larger miners to crash the market before continuing with my analysis.

  • To liquidate leveraged competitors (many smaller miners hedge on leverage platforms like Bitmex);
  • To increase their market share ahead of the halving (because of the above);
  • To shake out big manipulators (PlusToken scammers, Institutional investors) prior to the halving.

I believe the above to be plausible reasons, especially if you consider how much hashing power comes out of China, a nation that pretty much has a crystal ball when it comes to the Coronavirus outbreak, as the first cases where being reported there back in November 2019.

This almost creates a perfect storm of conditions to execute the black swan event that was able to simultaneously gain dominance in the market, and regain control of the price. After all, if miners have no control over the price, then the halving will have no impact.

If in doubt, zoom out

BTC USD daily chart Source: TradingView

BTC USD daily chart Source: TradingView

When you zoom out on the Bitcoin 1-day chart, it’s almost obvious where miners could have stopped selling. The breakout at the beginning of the year just looks like a bump in the road, as we have since resumed the same downward channel we were in for the entire second half of 2019.

We’ll never really know whether or not the above scenario is true because of the selloff. However, one thing that is definite is that the price bounced off the support of the descending channel at $4,400 as anticipated in last week’s analysis, so I am keeping these levels in mind looking forward to the week ahead.

At present, the price is holding above the middle of the channel, which is around $5,800. However, should this level fail to hold, then I expect $4,200 to be tested next week.

Should $5,800 continue to hold, then $7,200 is the key level of resistance for Bitcoin to push past and flip to support to be rid of this descending channel once and for all.

Mining difficulty reduction

BTC mining difficulty. Source: BTC.com

BTC mining difficulty. Source: BTC.com

Since the beginning of 2020, we have largely had the mining difficulty increase. This, in turn, seemingly saw the price rise, and as such, it seemed like a valid indicator.

However, next week we are set to see the year’s first double-digit adjustment, and unfortunately, it’s a negative one of -10.54%. Only time will tell if this will have a negative impact on the price of Bitcoin.

The yearly trend suggests that it might also just be correcting itself after such a dramatic selloff on the day it last increased. Bitcoin has a history of punishing its holders prior to big rewards, and the next chart might help you visualize what could be in store over the coming weeks and months.

BTC Rainbow Chart Source: Blockchain Centre

BTC Rainbow Chart Source: Blockchain Centre

Similar to the stock to flow ratio chart, only this one I feel helps convey an important message, and that message is “Keep buying Bitcoin at these levels.”

Whilst this chart isn’t intended to be financial advice, and like the S2F model has most likely been based on hindsight, what it does show is potentially how long we might remain in the blue “fire sale” zone both ahead and beyond the halving.

As a Bitcoin hodler and trader, I take great comfort in one thing shown on this chart. There are many more buying opportunities than there are selling opportunities, so should the price of Bitcoin continue to slide next week, try to view it as an opportunity to buy more, rather than reflecting on how much of a rekt pleb you feel right now.

Bullish scenario

I said it last week, I’ll say it again, the CME gap still exists at $9,165. Whilst it feels almost impossible right now, 90% of CME gaps still fill, so there’s always a possibility.

However, being more realistic and looking at the week ahead, if Bitcoin can hold $5,800 as support then all eyes are on $7,200 as the key level to break out from.

From here, I would expect the next level of resistance to be present around $8,000 before we can even start to think about $10,000 again.

Bearish scenario

We can’t completely ignore all the global turmoil right now. Thus, if $5,800 fails to hold, I think it’s highly probable that we will revisit $4,200.

Falling below $4,200 is not a scenario I believe we need to consider. However, if this were to break, then $2,760 would be the last level of support I’d be looking at, as this would represent an 80% retracement from last year’s high of $13,800. If it fails to bounce there, then I would completely expect Bitcoin to go to sub $1,000 levels.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of @officiallykeith 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.

Fundstrat & eToro Analysts Predict Coronavirus Crisis May Strengthen Bitcoin

What has been driving recent Bitcoin price action? Or perhaps more importantly, who? And why does it matter? 

Lead Digital Strategist at Fundstrat David Grider and Platinum Account Manager at eToro Simon Peters break down Bitcoin’s next move, how the coronavirus and financial crisis may impact the halving, and how Bitcoin’s fundamentals will affect its long-term prospects.

Who Is Behind Bitcoin Price Movements?

Bitcoin has experienced an incredible amount of volatility over the past two weeks amidst the coronavirus pandemic and global financial crises. A Chainalysis report found professional traders and investors were usually the drivers behind recent major price movements, despite only moving about 5% of the total supply of Bitcoin.

David took issue with the vague label of “professional trader/investor”. He reminded us that traditional or institutional players are not the only ones who can drive the market with high volume trades:

“I think that probably you’ve seen an onboarding in 2016/2017 of a traditional, probably institutional, fund class to some degree but not very large, right. But still prior to that this was a very small market and I think that it’s still probably mostly dominated by early larger crypto whales, right.”

How Will the Coronavirus Crisis Strengthen Bitcoin?

Since the beginning of March Bitcoin has been heavily correlated with large movements in the stock market. When asked if the Bitcoin price drops in the past two weeks were the result of professional players liquidating their positions, Simon nodded his head in agreement.

He went on to explain how this shedding of weak hands could allow Bitcoin to eventually evolve into a hedge asset:

“We’ve seen this conversion of assets into cash, regardless of which market it is, but there will come a point where, due to this increasing amount that’s been pumped into the system, the cash is going to lose its value. Then as the virus no doubt stems down and the number of new cases that are being reported tails off, the question to investors then is, ‘what do I do with all this cash that I have?’ And then they may look into other assets that can hedge against that, essentially, with crypto possibly being one of them.”

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Bye $7K? Bitcoin Price Pull-Back Likely After Impressive 80% Rebound

It has been a tremendous week for Bitcoin (BTC), as the price of Bitcoin rebounded from $3,800 to $6,800. However, a harsh rejection on Friday put a stop to the rally as the price dropped $1,200 within two hours. 

These have been unusual movements from Bitcoin, as the equity markets in the United States didn’t show any strength during the week and the Dow Jones shed 4.5% on Friday alone. 

Crypto market daily performance

Crypto market daily performance. Source: Coin360

Bullish divergence plays out on Bitcoin 

As the previous article stated, a bullish divergence was shown on the chart. Divergences (both bearish and bullish) often indicate a temporary trend reversal. In this case, the 4-hour chart of Bitcoin was showing a clear bullish divergence. 

Alongside with the divergence was rock bottom sentiment, meaning the ingredients for a slight upwards rally, as occurred in the previous week. BTC price rebounded from $3,800 towards $6,940, a rally of 81%. 

BTC USDT 4-hour chart

BTC USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

The 4-hour chart is showing precise levels of resistance and support. The $5,600 area broke to the upside, which indicated continuation to the upside, leading the price to a high of $6,940.

The resistance area is quite clear and found between $6,400-6,900. Unfortunately, the price of Bitcoin couldn’t break through this resistance, which was required to flip the trend bullish.

At this point, the rejection looks to be a bearish retest of the previous support zone. A bearish retest means that the previous support is confirmed resistance and usually leads to further downwards momentum. 

BTC USD 1-day chart

BTC USD 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

The 1-day chart shows a clear picture, through which the bearish retest is seen. To become bullish, a breakthrough in the red resistance area is profoundly needed. Once the price of Bitcoin breaks through this zone and additionally reclaims the level as support, then the bullish momentum can return to the market.

However, at this point, the market looks to make a bearish retest after an 80% surge since the low at $3,800. The $5,600 support level is essential. If Bitcoin can hold this area as support, a possible new resistance test can occur.

The more the resistance zone gets tested, the weaker it becomes and vice versa. But, the trend is still down, and therefore, investors should keep in mind that lower levels are more likely to be tested for support.

Total market cap facing clear resistance at $185 billion

Total market capitalization crypto 1-day chart

Total market capitalization crypto 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

The total market capitalization chart is showing a brighter picture, as usual. It showed a clear downtrend through 2018 with lower highs and lower lows, indicating a bear market, while Bitcoin kept resting on the $6,000 support.

Currently, the chart is providing a similar situation here. The total market capitalization dropped below the $185 billion levels and dropped towards the next support zone (green areas) at $108-110 billion. 

Given that the market has seen such a big drop, it’s not unnatural to see a strong relief bounce after. However, this was met with an instant rejection at $185 billion, which is now confirmed resistance.

A bullish perspective would be the breakthrough of this resistance area, after which a confirmation of support would suggest further momentum upwards towards $240 billion. 

Unfortunately, with this latest rejection, it seems more likely to have tests downwards for support before any upwards momentum is warranted.

The bullish scenario for Bitcoin 

BTC USD 4-hour bullish scenario

BTC USD 4-hour bullish scenario. Source: TradingView

At first, the price of Bitcoin is currently hovering in between ranges, which makes it more difficult to give a clear cut view of the markets. However, the bullish scenario is straightforward.

The price of Bitcoin needs to hold the $5,600 level for support, as that’s a key point for the market. As long as that support holds, upwards tests of the $6,500-6,900 areas are likely to occur. 

The next step for bullish momentum would be the flip of the $6,500 area for support. Once that happens, a continuation of $7,500 is the next thing to look for. 

The bearish scenario for Bitcoin 

BTC USD 4-hour bearish scenario

BTC USD 4-hour bearish scenario. Source: TradingView 

The bearish scenario is still the likely scenario of the two. The rejection at $6,800 doesn’t show any strength, as any bullish momentum is only warranted through a breakthrough in that area. 

Given that the price didn’t, I assume the market will make a lower high at $6,400-6,600 area, after which further downwards momentum is warranted. The $5,500-5,600 area is a crucial point, as discussed previously. Once the price of Bitcoin breaks below this level, a severe drop is likely to occur. 

Is that a bad thing for the market? No, low prices will give investors tremendous opportunities to buy the assets relatively cheap again. Gold and silver have seen big shocks throughout the week as well. 

What are the levels to look for in case of a breakdown? There are three zones to watch for potential support, which are the $4,700-4,800 area, the $4,200 level and the $3,750 level.

The last two would provide a potential bullish divergence on the daily timeframe, which would make a strong signal for a bottom. An example is found in the bottom structure in December 2018.

All in all, it seems unlikely to have a bottom already, and further accumulation should be expected for the market. 

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.

Bitcoin Price Did Not Crash 60% Due to Coronavirus, Says Binance CEO

The coronavirus pandemic was just the spark that ignited the current global economic meltdown, not its cause, the CEO of Binance says.

In a blog post on March 20, Changpeng Zhao, known as “CZ” in cryptocurrency circles, argued that coronavirus had shown that the world’s economy is far too weak.

CZ: The economy “should be stronger”

Asked whether he felt conditions this year were different from the global financial crisis (GFC) of 2008, he summarized:

“In 2008, there wasn’t a pandemic pausing global economy. But I believe the Coronavirus is just a trigger, not the root cause. Our economy should be stronger, at least strong enough to survive some shocks.”

Zhao was speaking as Bitcoin was increasingly decoupling from the misery facing traditional markets. After a historic daily fall last week in line with stocks indexes, this week saw a startling recovery which at one point neared 90%.

Since then, BTC/USD has cooled, trading down around 7% in the past 24 hours. Unlike the legacy system, however, Bitcoin is not “broken,” says Zhao.

At some point, investors will stop hoarding cash — a practice that has strengthened the dollar during coronavirus — and instead begin broadening their portfolios again. Among the destinations for wealth will be Bitcoin.

“Have people bought more bitcoin yet? No, in most cases. Many of them are still panicking over toilet paper,” Zhao continued. 

“These changes take time to propagate in the economy. Changes don’t happen immediately when a mass population is involved.”

A “safu haven”?

The comments echo those of Andreas Antonopoulos, the cryptocurrency educator who predicted the impact of a financial crisis on Bitcoin with uncanny accuracy several months ago. As Cointelegraph reported, Antonopoulos said that Bitcoin would initially fall hard, as investors exited crashing stocks, but then recover. 

Also favoring that sequence of events was John Bollinger, the creator of the Bollinger Bands volatility indicator, who argued that investors “sell what they can” under such circumstances. The intensity of Bitcoin’s fall, however, caught him off-guard.

“Truly did not see that coming, I thought it might act as a safe haven asset,” he tweeted at the time.

For Zhao, however, it was clear that Bitcoin will function as a safe haven in the future, given that its supply is fixed and cannot be manipulated like fiat currency.

“Don’t expect bitcoin to be guaranteed to go up when the Dow Jones index crashes, or vice versa,” he said. 

“It’s not a perfect inverse correlation product. If you want that, you should just short the Dow Jones Index futures.”

Woman Arrested for Stealing $480,000 From Crypto Exchange She Co-Founded

A woman was arrested in Bengaluru, India on March 17 for allegedly stealing 63.5 Bitcoins (BTC) from Bitcipher Labs — a cryptocurrency exchange that she had previously co-founded. 

The thefts took place on January 11 and March 11 respectively, resulting in $480,000 worth of BTC being stolen from Bitcipher. 

Bitcipher co-founder steals $480,000 in BTC

Ayushi Jain, the 26-year-old former-employee, was found to have stolen 63.5 BTC from hardware wallets owned by the exchange.

Indian police acted in response to a complaint filed by Bitcipher Labs’ CEO, Ashish Singhal, who had identified the two unauthorized transactions. 

The Bengaluru Investigation Department stated that an “investigation revealed the complainant had hardware wallets in which Bitcoins were stored, and a 24-word passphrase (password) was written on a piece of paper.” 

Police suspected that the thief was “someone proficient in using this technology, and who was closely associated with the firm”, due to the fact that the culprit was able to operate a cryptocurrency hardware wallet and access the funds using the wallet’s corresponding passphrase.

Stolen funds were recovered

After preparing a list of the exchange’s former employees, Ayushi was identified as a likely suspect, as she had quit the company on Dec. 16, 2019, despite having co-founded the firm alongside Singhal in 2017.

After being detained, Ayushi confessed to the theft. The stolen funds were recovered by police. A senior police officer stated:

“On Wednesday, we took Ayushi into custody and searched her house. We seized a laptop which contained the history, showing how Ayushi used the passphrase and stole money in installments between January and March. She confessed to the crime. By Thursday afternoon, we recovered the entire amount.”

Police seized Ayushi’s laptop, and all stolen funds have been returned to the exchange.

Crypto Exchanges Rush to Enter Indian Market

India has become a renewed focus of the cryptocurrency community. Recently, the Supreme Court reversed the Reserve Bank of India’s ban on financial institutions, and are now providing services to businesses operating with cryptocurrencies.

Despite several cryptocurrencies rushing to enter the Indian market, a recent parliamentary investigation has revealed that only two cryptocurrency exchanges are licensed with the country’s Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

Raoul Pal Super Bullish on Bitcoin Price After Miraculous 80% Rebound

Bitcoin (BTC) is now turning the ongoing coronavirus disaster into a cause for gains — the cryptocurrency is up 80% in just one week. 

As the effects of the pandemic on traditional markets intensify, Bitcoin has appeared to U-turn on its bearish stance.

Pal: “Entire system” at risk of loss

Data from Coin360 and Cointelegraph Markets showed BTC/USD climbing as high as $6,650 on March 20 — 24-hour gains of over 20%. Versus last week’s lows of around $3,700, the pair has appreciated 79.5%.

Bitcoin price 7-day chart

Bitcoin price 7-day chart. Source: Coin360

While Bitcoin’s reaction to coronavirus has constantly delivered surprises, analysts are now focusing more on the deadly impact of the associated health crisis on the world’s financial system.

As the cryptocurrency recovered its losses, the mood among market participants likewise became one of solidarity.

“I can not express how bullish I am on bitcoin,” Raoul Pal, founder and CEO of Global Macro Investor, tweeted on Thursday. 

“We are at risk of losing the entire system right now. I know they will find a way to save it but all trust is lost.”

Pal added that gold investors would also be shielded from that lack of trust, albeit with smaller potential upside than for Bitcoiners.

A $2T corporate debt “disaster”

Misgivings extend to stock market figures themselves. Kelly Loeffler, the CEO of Bakkt and now a United States senator, reportedly sold up to $3.1 million of stocks in the weeks after attending a closed-door briefing on coronavirus in January.

Most of all, however, it is markets’ weak response to the unprecedented levels of financial stimulus which is intensely worrying commentators. 

“These are truly extraordinary times and it’s quite sobering,” Angus Coote, co-founder of Australian fund manager Jamieson Coote Bonds, told mainstream media on Friday. 

“I’ve been in the business for 25 years and this makes the GFC [global financial crisis] look like child’s play.”

Particularly in focus is corporate debt, with $2 trillion set for “rolling over” this year effectively siloed due to coronavirus.

“It’s a disaster,” Coote added.

Decoupling? Bitcoin Price Up 40% Since Last Week, Stocks Not So Much

Bitcoin (BTC) price rallied above the $5,500 resistance on March 19, overtaking $6,000 as the digital asset stampeded to $6,359. The 18%+ rally restored more than $800 in value to Bitcoin price.

Since last week’s catastrophic 50% correction, Bitcoin price has recovered by 40% off its low at $3,775. Traders will now watch to see if the previous levels of resistance at $5,500, $5,900 and $6,300 will function as support.

Crypto market weekly performance. Source: Coin360

Crypto market weekly performance. Source: Coin360

Currently, traditional markets are also performing well as the S&P 500 is up 2% and the Dow has gained 1.6%.

Generally, markets seem pleased that the European Union proposed a 750 euro stimulus package which would see $820 billion worth of private sector and government debt purchased before the end of 2020. This comes just a day after the Trump Administration announced support for a $1 trillion coronavirus stimulus package which would support similar bailouts.

Bitcoin vs S&P 500. Source: Skew.com

Bitcoin vs S&P 500. Source: Skew.com

Interestingly, aside from today’s stellar performance, major equities markets continue to struggle as Bitcoin is in the midst of a strong recovery. Data from Skew shows that even though Bitcon price action has been in tandem with major markets, the digital asset now appears to be breaking this trend and decoupling from the performance of the S&P 500.

As mentioned in yesterday’s analysis, Bitcoin price took the bullish route and pushed above the pennant trendline and $5,500 resistance on a high volume surge which allowed the digital asset to form a daily higher high at $6,359.

BTC USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

BTC USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

For the last few days traders have expressed their belief that $6,300 would provide some push back and currently the price is meeting resistance at this level. The increase in sell volume and overbought RSI suggest that some traders who opened positions in the $3,770 to $5,000 range are now taking profits and the best step going forward would be to see Bitcoin consolidate in the $5,800 to $6,100 range just to re-establish support here.

BTC USDT 1-hour chart. Source: TradingView​​​​​​​

BTC USDT 1-hour chart. Source: TradingView

On the 1-hour and 6-hour time frame there is a tweezer-top forming, suggesting that the price will pull back possibly to retest 5,900, a former resistance, which must now function as support. For the time being, traders should keep an eye on trading volume to observe whether or not traders quickly buy into pullbacks at the underlying levels of support.

Bitcoin weekly price chart. Source: Coin360

Bitcoin weekly price chart. Source: Coin360

Altcoins also benefited from Bitcoin’s surge with many rallying by double digits. Ether (ETH) rallied 18.72%, XRP gained 13.72%, and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin SV (BSV) added 24.30% and 32.67%.

The overall cryptocurrency market cap now stands at $173.7 billion and Bitcoin’s dominance rate is 64.8%.

Keep track of top crypto markets in real time here

Hawaii Launches Digital Currency Sandbox to Attract Crypto Firms

The governor’s office of Hawaii revealed its new ‘Digital Currency Innovation Lab’ on March 17 — a blockchain and cryptocurrency incubator developed through collaboration between the state’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Division of Financial Institution (DFI), and the Hawaii Technology Development Corporation (HTDC).

The initiative will run for two years, and will allow “digital currency issuers to do business in Hawaii without obtaining a state money transmitter license during the effective period of the pilot program.”

Through the program, Hawaii aims to “achieve a more in-depth perspective of digital currency” and inform future cryptocurrency regulation in the state.

Sandbox participants are immune to action against unlicensed money transmission

Iris Ikeda, Hawaii’s commissioner of financial institutions, has emphasized that the DFI has issued a no-action message to prevent regulatory recourse for companies operating under the sandbox who engage in what would normally be considered unlicensed money transmission activities.

“DFI is leveraging its statutory authority to provide an innovative way to introduce digital currency issuers into the State of Hawaii, while ensuring the safety of our consumers,” Ikeda said. “By acknowledging digital currencies as a transmission vehicle of the future, we will be able to craft legislation that is conducive to its development in Hawaii.

Len Higashi, the acting executive director of the HTDC, expressed his hope that the program will allow Hawaii to “position itself on the forefront of financial technology and potentially, reap the economic benefits that accompany the leadership stance taken.”

Interested companies have until May 1 to apply for the program, and must pay a $500 application fee plus $1,000 for each term of participation.

Hawaii makes first efforts to foster crypto firms since 2017

In 2017, Hawaii introduced the double-reserve requirement, mandating that companies operating with virtual currencies hold an equal sum of fiat and their clients’ crypto holdings. 

Although crypto companies were not prohibited from operating in the state, the regulation drove most blockchain firms operating in Hawaii elsewhere — including leading U.S.-based crypto exchange Coinbase.

Despite sandbox, regulatory future for crypto in Hawaii is unclear

While the HTDC website notes that the sandbox was developed to address the concerns of companies deterred by the double-reserve requirement, it is not clear what Hawaii’s vision for its blockchain and crypto sectors is after the sandbox concludes.

The website states that after the two-year program finishes, “participants must conclude all digital currency transactions unless explicit approval has been granted,” adding that “DFI will determine the appropriate licensing for the company to continue operations, if applicable.” 

Last week, Rhode Island also introduced a regulatory sandbox designed to facilitate innovation within blockchain and cryptocurrency.