U.S. Justice Department sues Helix bitcoin mixer company founder
The U.S. Justice Department is suing the founder of Helix bitcoin mixer company Larry Harmon, for failure to pay a $60 million fine, Reuters reported, citing the lawsuit.
According to court documents, Harmon didn’t comply with anti-money laundering requirements in creating the mixer. According to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Harmon also conducted his own business through the mixer, violating local law.
Harmon pleaded guilty in 2021 to money laundering charges, but could avoid jail time. Attorneys said Harmon, the creator of the Helix bitcoin mixer app, had no intent to violate the law because U.S. authorities did not require blockchain developers to follow anti-money laundering requirements in 2014.
However, FinCEN believes that from 2014 to 2017, the accused must have collected information on more than 1.2 million transactions totaling $300 million. According to authorities, the Helix bitcoin mixer app creator must have demanded names, contact information and other identifying information from users because cryptocurrency from darknet marketplaces like Hansa and Hydra was laundered through the mixer. Harmon could face up to 20 years in prison under the new charges.
We previously reported that cryptocurrency exchange ACX was taking customers’ money for its own use.
The Ethereum (ETH) price crossed the $1800 mark, opening the way to $2000
Ethereum crossed the $1800 mark for the first time since August 2022. DeFi’s rise in popularity and the successful launch of the Shanghai update could see the price of ETH begin a bullish rally.
Crypto investors are investing in DeFi
The high likelihood of a new banking crisis seems to have spooked investors: more than $20 billion has been withdrawn from traditional financial institutions amid the recent Silicon Valley Bank and Signature incidents. Some of that money has migrated to DeFi protocols built on Ethereum.
This is confirmed by Glassnode’s onchain data, which shows a surge in the supply of ETH blocked on decentralized finance platforms. The big influx of funds occurred on March 13, a few days after the Silicon Valley Bank collapse.
Between March 13 and March 20, the supply of Ethereum in smart contracts grew by nearly 270,000 coins. That represents 0.22% of the total ETH in circulation, worth about $200 million.
When the volume of blocked tokens in smart contracts grows, the number of coins available for trading on cryptocurrency exchanges becomes smaller. The decrease in selling pressure caused by the recent DeFi boom could also be a catalyst for Ethereum’s price to rise.
The important onchain metric NVT (Network Value to Transactions Ratio) also supports a bullish outlook. As of March 19, the NVT ratio was 127.27, down 40% from the 213.75 recorded on March 5. A decline usually signals that an asset is undervalued.
Global In/Out of the Money (GIOM) data from the IntoTheBlock platform gives an indication of the potential bullish dynamics of the ETH price. The metric tracks the distribution of prices among holders based on the volume of tokens held at each address.
Ethereum Price Forecast
The Ethereum price is likely to face minimal resistance, as it approaches the $2000 zone. A further rise towards $2900 is likely if it gains a foothold above this mark. For the bears to gain the upper hand, the price of ETH must fall below $1600.
Ethereum holders will also be watching for a Shangai update, which is scheduled for April 12. Some investors expect that a successful launch will trigger a price rally, while others believe that the owners of the blocked tokens in Beacon Chain will rush to get rid of them.
We previously reported that Tether printed for 1 billion dollars on the TRON network.
Bitcoin (BTC) tests $28,000, but onchain metrics urge caution
Over the past week, bitcoin has strengthened by about 30%. However, onchain indicators warn that despite this brisk rally, BTC could retreat to the $24,500 area.
According to analytics platform MacroMicro, the average cost of mining bitcoin accelerated last month.
Over the past 30 days through March 20, the cost of mining peaked at $33,000 per block, while the currency was only able to appreciate to $28,500. This divergence means that despite bitcoin’s rise, miners’ losses have only been piling up over the past month.
A nice development was the day of March 18, when the value of BTC overtook the cost of mining by about $3,000. However, all of this surplus will soon evaporate when new miners come to the market in the near future, rushing to take advantage of the coin’s appreciation.
In addition, the current rise in bitcoin may encourage miners to sell some of their reserves to compensate for earlier losses. Considering that miners’ reserves account for about 10% of the total amount of BTC in circulation right now, such bearish pressure from node operators in the bitcoin network could have a tangible impact on the cryptocurrency’s exchange rate.
Coin inflows to exchanges
Another potentially troubling sign could be the recently increased net inflow of bitcoins to trading platforms. This is signaled by data from the leading blockchain analytics resource, Glassnode.
Over the past seven days, the inflow of BTC deposits to exchanges has significantly exceeded the outflow of coins from trading platforms. During this period, the number of bitcoins stored on exchange addresses has consistently increased from 3,895 BTC as of March 13 to 36,700+ BTC as of March 19.
Typically, prolonged net inflows of bitcoins to exchanges are a sign that hodlers are preparing more intensely for short-term trading activity or convenient profit-taking opportunities.
If these assumptions are confirmed, such sales could trigger a pullback in the BTC exchange rate in the coming weeks.
BTC forecast: possible dive below $25,000
According to IntoTheBlock’s In the Money/Out of the Money (IOMAP) statistics, a likely target for bitcoin may be the $24,500 area.
As a reminder, this metric tracks addresses that approach the breakeven level. Historically, hodlers tend to sell when the BTC exchange rate reaches the average price. As of March 20, more than 72% of bitcoin hodlers were in the profit zone. This could signal the potential for massive profit-taking.
If bitcoin enters a bearish trend, the first stop will be the $27,000 area, where 307,000 addresses that bought 364,000 coins can offer decent support for the coin. If this barrier does not hold, a sharp drop in price to $24,500 is possible. There are about 1 million addresses who bought about 360 thousand coins.
This pessimistic forecast will be neutralized if the price breaks above $29,500, where 345 thousand addresses, which earlier bought 130 thousand coins, are concentrated. This breakthrough may provoke a rally to $32,000. In this area, there is a cluster of 237 thousand addresses that may want to sell some of the 74 thousand BTC that belong to them.
We previously reported that Hong Kong allocated another $50 million to the crypto industry.
Hong Kong allocated another $50 million to the crypto industry
Hong Kong has allocated another $50 million to accelerate the development of the crypto industry after local authorities allocated HK$50 million (about $6.37 million) in late February to develop the Web3 direction. This is stated in a press release on the website of the government.
Legalization of cryptocurrencies in Hong Kong
According to the head of the Financial Services and Treasury Bureau of Hong Kong (FSTB) Christopher Hui, the pool of funds will be allocated, in particular, to organize major international Web3-events. Hui also said that the government will organize educational programs for young people, for which preparations have already begun.
In addition, the 2023 budget provides for the creation of a working group to focus on developing virtual assets and study the situation in the crypto market, development opportunities and the need for changes in regulation.
“Hong Kong is well positioned to become a leading hub for Web3 in Asia and beyond, and we attach great importance to virtual assets (VA) and Web3. The government is committed at a high level to developing this sector and providing a comprehensive support system for enterprises,” Hui said.
He added that the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) is now working on regulating stablecoins to introduce them into the economy next year. The country also plans to improve securities regulations so that retail investors can access ETFs based on cryptocurrency futures.
Despite several personal initiatives, Hong Kong authorities are also working closely with mainland China, testing international payments in the digital currency and working with the Central Bank. In all, as of the end of February, more than 80 Chinese companies had expressed interest in operating in Hong Kong.
Bloomberg wrote about China’s support back in late February. The agency pointed out that after Hong Kong set out to develop the crypto industry last October, Chinese officials have become more frequent visitors to Hong Kong. According to sources, this interest is because Beijing wants to use the city as a testing ground for digital assets amid tight control of crypto activity on the mainland.
We previously reported that the collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank is spurring demand for crypto apps.
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