Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, fell over 12% from a day earlier to $32,576, according to Coin Metrics data. It earlier sank to an intraday low of $30,863. Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency, was down 23% to $1,005. It briefly tumbled below $1,000, hitting an intraday low of $945.
The sell-off in cryptocurrencies comes after a huge rally and perhaps signals some profit-taking from investors. Bitcoin is still up over 300% in the last 12 months and last week hit an all-time high just below $42,000.
“The correction we saw was expected as we believe the BTC price surge recently from under $20,000 to $40,000 in the past four weeks will induce sell pressure,” said Simons Chen, executive director of investment and trading at cryptocurrency financial services firm Babel Finance.
The $40,000 mark could have been a trigger for profit-taking, Chen said.
Bitcoin’s resurgence has been attributed to a number of factors including more buying from large institutional investors.
But some bitcoin critics — such as David Rosenberg, economist and strategist at Rosenberg Research — have called bitcoin a bubble.
Long-term bullishness around bitcoin remains however.
Jehan Chu, founder of cryptocurrency-focused venture capital and trading firm Kenetic Capital, said the pullback in bitcoin could be a buying opportunity for new investors.
“This short term correction is both natural and needed, and is a great entry point for long-term investors as we quickly reach $50k this quarter and $100k by year’s end,” Chu told CNBC.
Last week, Social Capital’s Chamath Palihapitiya said bitcoin could go above six digits.
“It’s probably going to $100,000, then $150,000, then $200,000,” Palihapitiya told CNBC’s “Halftime Report.” “In what period? I don’t know. [Maybe] five or 10 years, but it’s going there.”
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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Cardano founder, Charles Hoskinson speaks on the future of Bitcoin and taking profits
Charles Hoskinson has always been a huge advocate for decentralized finance and building a network that could provide solutions to the problems with our current financial and banking systems. In this recent AMA Charles speaks out on his view about the issues that Bitcoin faces as well as reminding everyone that cryptocurrency isn’t all about taking profits.