SEC about crypto: Auditors under the gun. Why no one wants to work with crypto exchanges
SEC about crypto – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is scrutinizing audits of crypto exchanges, raising concerns about their legitimacy.
Since the collapse of FTX, one-by-one cryptocurrency companies have turned to auditors to provide assurances to customers and potential investors. However, the SEC believes that asset integrity reports should be treated with skepticism. Against this backdrop, even companies like Tether are often mistrusted.
According to Acting Chief Accountant Paul Munter, the commission is scrutinizing cryptocurrency companies’ audit reports.
“We’re deepening our understanding of what’s going on in the market,” he commented. “If we find facts that we think are troubling, we will consider referring the case to the enforcement department.”
And because many platforms don’t fall under the jurisdiction of the federal securities regulator, the SEC is issuing a warning not only to investors but also to accounting firms that are risking their reputations.
SEC cryptocurrency news: auditors refuse to cooperate with cryptocurrency exchanges
Against the backdrop of the events unfolding around FTX, exchange auditors Prager Metis and Armanino have come under scrutiny. Although both firms are still operating at the moment, FTX’s new CEO John Ray said that their reports were highly unreliable.
The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, is having trouble attracting auditors after suspending operations with Mazars. The firm conducted an independent audit of Binance’s reserve evidence, but its report contained little financial information. Without expressing an opinion in the report and without confirming the numbers, Mazars suspended work with Binance and removed the report from its website. Now Binance claims that even the Big Four auditors are unwilling to audit the exchange’s reserves.
Many in the community believe that the lack of effective internal controls at cryptocurrency companies will jeopardize the credibility of financial statements. Meanwhile, audit firms are reconsidering their treatment of cryptocurrencies due to concerns about the risk of lawsuits, reputational damage and increased regulatory scrutiny.
Insurance companies are following auditors’ lead
Insurance companies are also increasingly questioning their relationships with cryptocurrencies. In light of the risks, they either deny insurance coverage to cryptocurrency-related businesses or significantly limit it.
But another group of specialists has got more work in the last year: due to a series of crashes of cryptocurrency companies, the business of bankruptcy lawyers is flourishing.
Earlier, we reported that analysts named the time of the last cryptocurrency market crash in the current cycle.
Ripple case more crucial than ever amid Coinbase, Binance SEC crackdown: Lawyers
The judges presiding over Coinbase and Binance’s lawsuits will likely watch the results of the SEC v Ripple case closely, crypto lawyers told Cointelegraph.
Ripple has been in a legal battle with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission since December 2020, with the regulator alleging that Ripple offered unregistered securities via XRP since 2013.
On June 6 the SEC filed a lawsuit against Coinbase also alleging that it has been offering unregistered securities. A day before it filed a lawsuit against Binance containing some similar allegations.
Lawyer James Murphy, known as “MetaLawMan” on Twitter, explained in a series of tweets on June 9 that a favorable outcome for Ripple could “undermine the entire basis for the SEC’s case” against both Coinbase and Binance.
However, he also warned that “before anyone gets too excited,” a ruling by Judge Torres in the Ripple case would not be “binding precedent” for these recent filings.
This means that the judges for the Coinbase and Binance lawsuit will “not be bound to rule the same way,” as only decisions of the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court have that influence.
Speaking to Cointelegraph, pro-XRP lawyer John Deaton believes the SEC is “well aware” that Judge Torres’ decision in the Ripple case will be published “in the very near future.”
Deaton believes that the SEC purposefully filed these new cases ahead of that result, in case the regulator faces an unfavorable outcome in the Ripple case, stating:
“I believe the SEC wanted to get those cases filed before that decision just in case it is a bad result for the SEC, possibly causing it to lose some political and legal momentum.”
Murphy believes the judge assigned to the Coinbase case, Judge Reardon, “will pay very close attention” to the determination of whether XRP is a security or not, pointing out that they serve in the same court in lower Manhattan.
He believes that Reardon would “follow the same reasoning” as to whether the 13 tokens cited in the Coinbase complaint are securities, adding that this can go “both ways,” if it’s a favorable outcome for the SEC.
XRP-friendly lawyer Bill Morgan, a consultant at Morgan Mac Lawyers, also opined that the Ripple case could have an influence over the Binance and Coinbase cases.
Morgan explained that the outcome in the Ripple lawsuit can be used as an “advantage” for either the industry or the SEC, depending on the result.
“If they lose badly in the Ripple case, they go forwards with Coinbase and Binance with a substantial judgment against them. Obviously Coinbase and Binance will use that to their advantage that the sales of XRP is not an investment contract.”
Deaton noted that he actually predicted back in 2022 that the SEC would sue Coinbase and Binance “by the way the SEC was approaching the Ripple and XRP case.”
However, he believes that the SEC will tone down its action against crypto firms once the major financial institutions adopt a greater share of the crypto market.
“Once JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs or other traditional players get a bigger slice of the crypto market then the SEC will become more reasonable” he stated.
Tether’s game plan in El Salvador: Why invest in Volcano Energy?
Stablecoin issuer Tether has dipped into its war chest to invest in El Salvador’s $1 billion renewable energy project to help drive Bitcoin adoption in the Central American nation.
The Tether issuer is one of a handful of companies investing in El Salvador’s renewable power generation project. Volcano Energy is set to generate electricity from solar and wind energy in El Salvador to power future Bitcoin mining operations in the country.
The planned 241-megawatt (MW) renewable energy park is the latest move in El Salvador’s Bitcoin adoption drive after the country made BTC legal tender back in 2021.
Cointelegraph caught up with Tether’s chief technology officer Paolo Ardoino during Money 20/20 in Amsterdam. Ardoino — who is attending the renowned finance and payments convention promoting Bitfinex Pay and the Lightning Network — delved into several topics concerning Tether, Bitfinex and the wider cryptocurrency space.
Just two days before the interview, Tether announced it would be investing in Volcano Energy to gain exposure to energy production and leverage the facility to power Bitcoin mining farms in the future.
There is also an ideological element to the move, with Ardoino stressing his belief that El Salvador is blazing a trail for sovereign Bitcoin adoption despite the relatively slow uptake of BTC as a payment option in the country.
Ardoino drew parallels to the European Union adopting the euro as a continental currency in the early 2000s, which required significant resources to change existing financial infrastructure, as well as buy-in from citizens of its 27 member states.
“Given all the powers that they had, it still took five, six years, and yet people were super confused.”
The proliferation of Bitcoin as a payment method in El Salvador has had some teething problems, as explored by Cointelegraph journalist Joe Hall in a recent visit to the country using BTC as a primary means of payment.
Ardoino contends that the path to widespread BTC use and adoption in El Salvador will take time, considering that citizens are not being forced to use the alternative currency in their everyday lives:
“It’s extremely unfair to expect that the whole population will use Bitcoin because, first of all, it’s not forced. Adoption is through private companies and public investments, rather than being taxpayer money.”
Tether’s investment in the country’s energy production program is part of a two-fold strategy. Firstly, investing in energy-producing infrastructure holds its own value, which can then be utilized to power Bitcoin mining operations.
Ardoino also argued against the prevailing narratives around the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining and critiques of the industry for putting a strain on the global energy grid:
“Firstly, the majority of Bitcoin mining is already happening with renewable energy. Secondly, Bitcoin mining is mainly using excess energy anyway, but even more so if we first build the energy production.”
Ardoino said Tether’s investment alongside a group of 12 investors aims to build an energy production facility that companies, factories and households can also tap into. The excess energy from Volcano Energy will be used for BTC mining to help make El Salvador a “unicorn with its own unique story.”
Bitcoin price can gain 60% if ‘textbook’ chart pattern confirms
Bitcoin may be in line for a 60% upside if a long-term chart feature stays intact. In part of his latest analysis on June 8, popular trader Mikybull Crypto flagged encouraging signs on the BTC/USD weekly chart.
Weekly Bitcoin price chart keeps $40,000 on the table
With Bitcoin still wedged in a narrow trading range it entered almost three months ago, market participants have little to go on when it comes to short-term price targets. Day-to-day performance has offered no decisive trend up or down, and $30,000 remains formidable resistance overhead.
“The market is still in the same position it has been the past few days. Don’t get chopped up, place some bids at the extremes and wait,” trader Jelle suggested in advice now typical of the current market perspective.
“Stay focussed on the higher timeframe direction.”
For Mikybull Crypto, however, those higher timeframes point to some much more interesting price action around the corner.
The weekly chart, he argued, shows BTC/USD completing and now retesting an inverse head-and-shoulders pattern.
This is the bullish counterpart to the standard head-and-shoulders pattern, which shows resistance being cemented and is typically followed by downside.
While daily timeframes have seen a bearish head-and-shoulders pattern materialize around April’s $31,000 local highs, the broader trend may yet play out in bulls’ favor.
“Bitcoin is flashing a textbook inverse head and shoulders on the weekly TF. Price is currently retesting the Neckline after the breakout,” Mikybull Crypto explained.
“As taught, if the range between the head and neckline is usually the sprint, we are anticipating another 60% rally on BTC.”
That 60% “sprint” would place BTC/USD at around $40,000.
The $40,000 mark and the nearby area are, in fact, already a popular target for various traders.
Crypto Kaleo has continued to describe $40,000 as a “magnet” for the market, while Bitcoin price has preserved key support trend lines throughout the three-month range.
In a prediction this week, meanwhile, fellow trader and analyst Credible Crypto said that $40,000 would not form the ceiling for BTC in 2023.
“Expectations: ‘The Bitcoin halving is in April 2024. Expect $BTC to go sideways between 20-40k for about 12 months which is when we accumulate as much Bitcoin as we can. Once the halving hits, we start our next bull run to 100k+ into 2025. WAGMI,'” he told followers.
“Reality: BTC makes a new ATH in 2023 leaving the majority sidelined. Not everyone makes it.”
This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.
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