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Loving Litecoin: Abra Announcement Sends Litecoin Surging

Bitcoin was not the only digital currency that rallied Tuesday. At one point during Tuesday’s U.S. trading session, litecoin was higher by about 15% after crypto startup Abra said it is expanding its use of litecoin to bolster the company’s exchange and wallet offerings.

In a session on Reddit on Monday, Abra CEO Bill Barhydt said, “We went with Litecoin as the second asset class, after bitcoin, for our smart contract investing solution for 3 primary reasons: 1. commitment to bitcoin compatibility: core roadmap, p2sh support, lightning support, etc; 2. slightly better scalability than bitcoin in short term (block size and block times); 3. mining fees which are primarily a function of #2 although this is more of a short term benefit as mining fees would likely sky rocket if we’re successful anyway!”

The news first broke late last month, but gained more attraction ahead of Barhydt’s Reddit session. Charlie Lee, founder of Litecoin, had recently been touting a major announcement regarding the digital currency. With a market value of around $7.40 billion, litecoin is one of the largest digital currencies after bitcoin.

“P2SH (supported in Bitcoin, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash) is the perfect model for simulating our synthetic CFD. It’s secure, easier to work with and more liquid than ether for our purposes. We may support native ether via this model in the future but don’t have any immediate plans to announce such news,” said Barhydt on Reddit.

More On Abra And Litecoin

Abra has raised $40 million in venture funding from the likes of American Express, Fidelity’s venture capital arm, and Foxconn, the major Apple supplier.

“Abra is the only global app that allows you to buy, store, and invest in 20 cryptocurrencies in one place. Fund your wallet on your mobile phone with fiat or bitcoin. Then invest in bitcoin, ethereum, ripple, bitcoin cash, litecoin, dash, and many more cryptocurrencies – instantly,” according to the company’s web site.

Lee, a former Google engineer, created Litecoin in 2011 to be something of a silver to bitcoin’s gold. Litecoin features faster coin generation than bitcoin and the former’s algorithm is script-based rather than the SHA-256 behind bitcoin’s algorithm. Litecoin is more easily obtained than bitcoin.

The price of litecoin would have to more than double from current levels to return to the 52-week high of over $365.

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Bitcoin

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.

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Banking

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.

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Bitcoin

Bitcoin (BTC) Crosses 55k And Is Heading Towards 60k Fast!

Less than two months into 2021, the price of bitcoin has risen 95.4%.

Earlier this week BTC smashed through 50k and is headed towards 60k just as fast. The price is currently trading at 57k as of press time up 60% this month alone. Along with BTC’s meteoric rise quite a few altcoins are going along for the ride.
Some are saying the astonishing rise of BTC’s price to the tremendous demand from buyers looking to hedge against inflation as governments keep spending and central banks keep printing money trying to keep their economies going through the pandemic.
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