After showing some signs of life Tuesday, it was a wicked Wednesday for bitcoin as the largest digital currency slumped by more than 8% by the time U.S. markets closed.
The glum Wednesday performance for the king of cryptos could reignite fears of bitcoin honoring the ominous death cross signal, which it recently committed. A security commits a death cross when its 50-day moving average moves below its 200-day line, something that recently happened for bitcoin. However, soon after the bitcoin death cross occurred, some traders speculated that it had failed and that the cryptocurrency could cobble together some near-term upside.
Bitcoin labored around $6,800 at this writing, indicating that a violation of $6,500, last seen on April 1, could intensify selling pressure.
“The debate remains whether the failure at the death-cross, where the 50-day moving average crossed below the 200-day, was a medium-term low,” according to MarketWatch. “The decline in bitcoin has weighed on the digital-currency complex.”
Ether, Litecoin and Ripple, among other cryptos, slipped on Wednesday with Litecoin giving back a significant chunk of Tuesday’s gains accrued on the back of a major adoption announcement.
An Ominous Forecast
Bitcoin lost about half its value in the first quarter and is well below its December highs of around $20,000, but even that startling decline is not preventing some market observers from forecasting more downside. At least one analyst believes the cryptocurrency will not find a bottom until it hits $4,000.
“We are still most definitely in a strong down trend and there is no reason to think the worst is behind us,” said Jani Ziedins of Cracked Market. “The thing to keep in mind is prices bounce decisively from grossly oversold levels. It is hard to claim last week’s dip to $6,500 was anything like the shocking free falls over the last few months.”
The bad news for bitcoin bulls is that Ziedins believes the digital currency needs to fall to $4,000 before it bounces in earnest.
“And the same can be said of today’s (Tuesday’s) few hundred dollar rebound,” he said. “If we haven’t reached shockingly oversold levels yet, then we are not done falling yet. Expect prices to undercut Feburary’s lows over the next few weeks and that violation to trigger a large wave of defensive selling. Don’t expect prices to bounce until we fall into the $4k range. Then and only then will it be safe to buy the bounce.”
If bitcoin falls from current levels to $4,000, that would represent a drop of just over 41.1%.
Only 1.3 million Bitcoin are left in circulation on cryptocurrency exchanges!
Christmas is coming, and Bitcoin (BTC) scarcity is at historically low levels. CryptoRank announced in a recent tweet that just 6.3% of the overall Bitcoin supply, or 1.3 million BTC, are kept on cryptocurrency exchanges.
The decreasing amount is nothing new; it’s been steadily declining since the Bitcoin halving in 2020, when the BTC block reward was cut in half. The supply of BTC on exchanges has also decreased gradually over the past year, trending downward. On October 2020, exchange wallets made up 9.5% of the BTC supply, just before the all-time highs at Christmas time, and 7.3% in July 2019. In December 2021, the 6.3 percent figure is a record low.
However, the dominance of Coinbase’s BTC wallet is also falling. The American exchange used to store more bitcoin than all other exchanges combined. Over the past year, its domination has decreased from 50.52% to 40.65%.
Following a spate of good price statistics that tie into the rising price of Bitcoin, the announcement has sparked further excitement among investors. First and foremost, owing to the fact that BTC output is shifting from a “liquid” to an “illiquid” state, monthly BTC production has frozen at 100,000 BTC. In other words, more BTC is stored in cold storage than is being mined.
Additionally, it’s crucial to remember that many retail investors and several firms keep their BTC on exchanges, demonstrating that the “illiquid” BTC category may be even smaller. Instead of keeping their BTC in cold storage, some Bitcoin holders would entrust it to exchanges instead of leaving custody of their keys with them.
Surprisingly, Binance CEO and co-founder Changpeng Zhao has encouraged hot wallets, despite the best efforts of Bitcoiners like Andreas Antonopolous to the contrary: “Not your keys, not your bitcoin.” is part of everyday BTC mantra.
This may lead to the situation in which 1.3 million BTC is “stored” on exchanges, but they are not “circulating,” and they certainly do not contribute to the liquidity problem.
Despite calls for a “Santa Rally” on the back of strong analytics, the bears are not yet out of the woods. A tweet from BullRun Invest using Glassnode data showed that 24.6% of all BTC supply is sitting above $47,000.
According to the report, close to a fourth of the BTC purchased at those prices levels are now underwater. If BTC fails to make progress into the 50s, there may be fewer gifts under the tree tomorrow.
U.S. Takes Crypto Crime Seriously with Anti-Money Laundering Reforms
The United States passed into law its Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020, which takes effect on January 1, 2021. This brings digital currency exchange companies and other digital-asset-related businesses under the scope of regulations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), which requires financial institutions “to actively detect, monitor and report potential money laundering activity.”
“I’m pleased that our anti-money laundering legislation was included as a part of this year’s [National Defense Authorization Act]. This bipartisan legislation protects Americans by depriving criminals and terrorists of the tools they use to finance illicit activity. It is the first serious overhaul of our anti-money laundering system in decades, and it makes sense to include it in the biggest, most important national defense legislation Congress passes each year,” South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds said in a press release.
The massive anti-money laundering reforms are targeting businesses dealing with digital currencies and assets by clearly specifying the definition of a “financial institution” to “‘a business engaged in the exchange of currency, funds, or value that substitutes for currency or funds” and “a licensed sender of money or any other person who engages as a business in the transmission of funds or value that substitutes for currency.”
The reforms further define a “money transmitting business” to include those who deal with “currency, funds, or value that substitutes for currency.” Now, there are no longer loopholes that digital asset companies can use when dealing with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the agency that enforces the BSA.
Stricter Penalties Enforced
Aside from updating definitions to ensure that digital currency exchange firms and others dealing in digital assets are clearly within the scope of the AML Act of 2020 and the BSA, stricter penalties are now being enforced for crypto criminals.
Now, those who have been found guilty of violating the AML Act of 2020 and/or BSA are faced with fines amounting to profits earned while committing the violation and possible jail time. Those guilty of an “egregious” breach are also going to be banned from taking a board member position of any financial institution in the country for 10 years. Furthermore, employees of financial institutions who commit these crimes will be obligated to return to their employer all bonuses received during the time the act was committed.
FinCEN is being given additional resources, like increasing its manpower, to ensure the enforcement of these reforms. This will further safeguard investors against crypto crimes and nail down digital currency exchange firms and other digital-asset-related businesses that do not comply with BSA regulations.
Bitcoin (BTC) Crosses 55k And Is Heading Towards 60k Fast!
Less than two months into 2021, the price of bitcoin has risen 95.4%.
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