US Treasury Sanctions Bitcoin, Litecoin Addresses Under Kingpin Act


By Max Boddy

The United States Department of the Treasury has added multiple cryptocurrency addresses to its Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, or the Kingpin Act. These addresses, and the individuals associated with them, have been deemed to be associated with foreign narcotics operators.

The Treasury updated its SDN list with recent Kingpin Act Designations on Aug 21. The three alleged narcotic operators associated with these addresses are Chinese citizens Xiaobing Yan, Fujing Zheng and Guanghua Zheng. The three individuals all have associated Bitcoin (BTC) addresses mentioned on the SDN List, and Guanghua Zheng additionally has a Litecoin (LTC) address.

As explained in a White House press release from 2015, the Kingpin Act exists to ban trading and transactions between narcotics traffickers and U.S. entities, namely companies and individuals. Under the Kingpin Act, a multitude of governmental branches coordinate to investigate narcotics traffickers, who are then named in a list that is brought before the President of the U.S., who then determines which members on the list will receive U.S. sanctions.

Mnuchin: Bitcoin is vulnerable to money laundering

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin believes that Bitcoin is vulnerable to money laundering. Mnuchin said that he intends to closely monitor Bitcoin and believes that billions of dollars in cryptocurrency are used for illicit purposes. 

Mnuchin has further stated that he believes Bitcoin is used for money laundering much more effectively than the U.S. dollar. According to Mnuchin, the government combats “bad actors in the U.S. dollar every day to protect the U.S. financial system.”


Current Tether Supply Suggests Bitcoin Price Is Correcting to $20,000


Horus Hughes writes:

Bitcoin price charting on a longer timeframe, market structure and the issuance of 1 billion Tether so far this year are making crypto and equities analyst FilbFilb incredibly bullish on BTC/USD in the run up to the 2020 halving. 

Bitcoin traders split into 3 groups 

Since correcting from 2019’s all-time high of $13,800 and thrice failing to break above $12,500, crypto investors broke into three camps. 

The first took the bearish perspective and predicted a pullback to $8,500-$7,500, often citing the CME gap. 

The second envisioned a lengthy period of consolidation where Bitcoin price would remain pinned between $9,000 and $12,000, providing the opportunity for savvy traders and institutional investors to accumulate prior to the 2020 halving. 

The third group interpreted the parabolic breakdown as nothing more than a blip and remain steadfast in their belief that the digital asset will eventually rally back to $13,500 and higher. 

4 ways Bitcoin price structurally shifted in 2019

According to popular crypto and equities analyst FilbFilb, Bitcoin price has undergone a structural shift for several reasons, he explained in his weekly newsletter. 


  • The digital asset is consolidating near $11,800 (a resistance formed in Q1 2018) after bouncing off the double bottom at $9,500. This level now serves a strong weekly support and FilbFilb believes consolidation below resistance is a bullish indicator.

  • Bitcoin has broken above $12,000 four times in separate weeks over the last seven weeks and the price action within this zone is different from Q1 2018 as all attempts to surmount $11,800 were met with swift rejection.

  • Bitcoin’s market structure represents a bullish pennant with a “minimum target” aligning with the next important weekly resistance at $16,000. According to FilbFilb, this is a “multi month pennant, which is supported by the back breaking rejection of the lows found in 2018.” In 2018, retests of $12,000 consistently broke out the downside, where as in 2019 Bitcoin price action appears likely to make a strong upside move over the coming weeks.

  • The VPVR shows a void in price history above $12,000 and a sharp upside move to $14,000 would open the doors to price discovery. It’s unlikely that a move to or above $14,000 would induce selling as those holding a position at this level are probably not looking to sell.

A break above $14,000 also represents a new 2019 all-time high and the news event surrounding this event could lead to an influx of capital from investors of various ilk. 

In combination, these factors make a strong bullish case for Bitcoin price in the run up to the May 2020 halving. 

Tether issuance does not immediately impact market 

However, FilbFilb also cautions that: 

“On lower time frames, the Adam and Eve target remains to play out, with $12.9k being the target.” 

Using Y=0.0002x+1.161, FilbFilb concluded that the correlation between Tether and Bitcoin is 0.89. 

Therefore, when applied to Tether’s current market cap of $4.34 billion, the model suggests that the price of Bitcoin should be somewhere around $20,000. 

When the same calculation is used without the 32-day re-anchoring, the result was still a 0.8 R-squared. Y=0.0003x + 0.9695 gies a BTC valuation of $13.500, which according to this year’s all time high, isn’t too far off the mark. 

Correlation between Bitcoin and Tether statistically significant 

Admittedly, there are a few caveats which the analyst sufficiently addresses: 

  • The Tether / Bitcoin analysis is solely reliant up data from 236 days and correlation does not a pure determination of causation.

  • Similar to other stablecoins, issued Tethers could be burned at any moment.

  • More Tethers could be printed at any moment, and USDT does not represent the entire crypto market supply of stablecoins. Furthermore, Tethers are used for more than simply purchasing Bitcoins.

  • If Bitcoin’s market cap continues to grow, the formula and analysis will require adjustment as the current 1 billion Tether issuance’s impact on a $70 billion Bitcoin market cap will have a different impact on a larger or smaller Bitcoin market cap.

Ultimately, what is worth noting is that there is a statistically significant correlation between Bitcoin price and Tether’s market cap. 

Thus, one can infer that Bitcon’s price could be correcting upwards from its current value of $11,500 given the market cap of Tether and the 1 billion in USDT issuances this year. 

“An additional $1 billion market cap could potentially move price by around $5K USD,” adds FilbFilb.  

But while FilbFilb cautions that he is not comfortable making prediction of a $20,000 Bitcoin price today, he is confident that: 

“There’s statistical evidence to suggest that there are enough Tethers in issuance to make a directional move towards it, should they get deployed in that way.”

Macro-economic factors support the case for a bullish Bitcoin

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, a series of worsening macro-economic factors are presenting challenges for traditional markets. But these issues also appear to be supporting Bitcoin’s allure as a store-of-value investment and hedge against market volatility within traditional markets. 

Bitcoin’s growing correlation to Gold, China’s yuan devaluation, Brexit, global monetary easing on part of numerous central banks, and negative bond yields are all driving investors to view Bitcoin as a hedge against volatility.

As Cointelegraph reported several weeks ago, Digital asset research firm Delphi Digital found that the current macroeconomic landscape is creating the “perfect storm” to ignite Bitcoin price appreciation.

“The relative size of Bitcoin’s market value compared to the investible gold market, for example, makes it a tempting opportunity for investors starving for assets with above-average growth potential as well,” the researchers note. 

Therefore, it’s no surprise that investors may be increasingly turning to Bitcoin — and Tether as an easy way to access this digital gold — in the coming months as storm clouds continue to gather over the global economy.


Macro Factors Creating ‘Perfect Storm’ to Drive Up Bitcoin Price: Report


Marie Huillet reports:

Digital asset research firm Delphi Digital says that the macroeconomic landscape is creating the “perfect storm” to ignite Bitcoin price appreciation.

Monetary easing, crypto peaking

In a fresh report cited by Forbes on August 1, the researchers isolate the dovish turn in global central banking policy as the stand-out factor likely to propel Bitcoin’s price skywards:

“First, and arguably most important, sentiment from global central banks took a drastic turn towards more dovish monetary policies. The Fed, ECB, BOJ, PBOC, and many others are now preparing market participants for more rate cuts and additional stimulus measures as they attempt to keep the current economic expansion going.”

Central bankers’ consensus around the need for quantitative easing stems a geopolitical landscape shaped by protracted trade tensions between the United States and China, disappointing GDP growth in Germany, and the anticipated aftershock of a possible no-deal Brexit.

The digital gold narrative

Beyond monetary easing, the increasing risk of fiat currency devaluation represents a longer-term catalyst that is likely to further drive the price of both Bitcoin and physical gold, the report argues. 

As is often discussed, Bitcoin’s scarcity by design and its potential to serve as a store of value in a faltering world economy has earned it the moniker of “digital gold” — a narrative consolidated in Delphi’s new analysis. 

In a discussion of the two assets, the report argues that the digital gold view is ever more relevant amid “extreme monetary policies and rising geopolitical tensions” and that:

“The relative size of Bitcoin’s market value compared to the investible gold market, for example, makes it a tempting opportunity for investors starving for assets with above-average growth potential as well.”

Delphi Digital, in fact, predicts that given its unique non-sovereign properties, the investible Bitcoin market could in future outgrow the current gold market — over $7 trillion as of fall 2018.

As reported just yesterday, a former top-level executive at Goldman Sachs has similarly predicted that Bitcoin’s market cap could hit around $8 trillion in future. 

Shared perspectives

Delphi Digital’s view of Bitcoin’s correlation with macroeconomic factors has been echoed by the likes of Anthony Pompliano, who recently stated that the European Central Bank’s expected dovish turn will be “rocket fuel” for Bitcoin. 

Also this summer,  the head of global fundamental credit strategy at Deutsche Bankremarked that central banks’ dovish policies are positively impacting “alternative” currencies such as bitcoin while hurting investment banks.


Bitcoin Startup Brings Lightning Network Payments to Amazon, Whole Foods


Marie Huillet reports:

United States-based payments startup Fold has made Lightning Network (LN) payments possible at Amazon, Starbucks, Uber and other big name retailers. The news was revealed in an official blog post published on July 10.

As previously reported, the Bitcoin (BTC) Lightning Network is a second-layer solution to bitcoin’s scalability limitations, opening payment channels between users that keep the majority of transactions off-chain, turning to the underlying blockchain only to record the net results.

In its announcement, Fold reveals that participating selected retailers will settle users’ LN payments — denominated in satoshis, or one hundred millionth of one Bitcoin — via their prepaid access programs in a currency of their choice. 

LN payments are thus processed via the Fold site, where users can select a retailer and pay the relevant invoice using their Lightning wallet. Once paid, this provides them with a gift card — at a maximum value of $25 — that is redeemable either in-store using a barcode or online via alphanumeric code. 

Beyond the evident scalability and accessibility benefits of providing LN support at major retailers, Fold underscores that its services more broadly aim to keep faith with the cornerstone principles of crypto: meaning no Know-Your-Customer (KYC) checks, a non-custodial system and — in an outburst of Bitcoin maximalism — no support for altcoins.

Beyond the aforementioned Amazon, Starbucks, and Uber, Fold’s Lightning payment service is also available for REI, Home Depot, Southwest Airlines, Target, AMC, Whole Foods and others. 

Fold follows other third-party crypto payment processors aiming to provide ways for users to use Lightning at major e-commerce and retail locations. 

This April, fellow startup Moon launched a web browser extension allowing online shoppers to use their Lightning wallets for purchases on Amazon and similar sites. As Fold, Moon serves as an intermediary — meaning that household names like Amazon are for now still not handling or processing the crypto directly.

As reported, Fold had rolled out its Bitcoin payments service — this time explicitly designed as a gift card — that was available for use at retailers such as Starbucks as early as 2015.

This March, blockchain development firm Lightning Labs announced the initial release of the Lightning offramp Lightning Loop, providing a non-custodial way to receive funds via the network.


Chia Releases Green Paper Detailing Eco-Friendly Means of Crypto Mining


San Francisco-based tech firm Chia Network has released a green paper that describes an eco-friendly means of mining cryptocurrencies.

The green paper provides a description of how proof of space and proof of time create a "Nakamoto-style" consensus algorithm for Chia’s blockchain. Specifically, Chia proposes to “farm” rather than mine to verify blockchains that issue cryptocurrencies, wherein proof of space and proof of time take the place of the proof of work (PoW) principle used for mining of Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). The paper further explains: 

“Instead of using proofs of work, Chia alternates proofs of space with verifiable delay functions. This results in a chain than in many aspects is similar to Bitcoin, in particular, as in Bitcoin no synchronisation is needed and we can prove rigorous security guarantees assuming a sufficient fraction of the resource (space in Chia, computation in Bitcoin) is controlled by honest parties.”

Initially, Chia’s CEO Bram Cohen debuted his solution to Bitcoin in late 2017, which he said resolves “centralization problems” with the virtual currency by employing the concept of proof-of-time. Cohen said “the idea is to make a better Bitcoin, to fix the centralization problems,” relying on a two-step block authentication method.

As reported in June, the carbon emissions generated by Bitcoin are comparable to the whole of Kansas City, and even a small country, according to a study published in the Joule journal. With annual emissions of CO2 estimated at between 22 and 22.9 megatons, Bitcoin sits somewhere between Jordan and Sri Lanka in terms of output. The study suggested that this level would double if every other cryptocurrency was also taken into account.

According to a March study by a blockchain specialist at Big Four auditing firm PwC, renewable energy would not be enough to solve bitcoin’s sustainability problem. The carbon footprint of a Bitcoin transaction reportedly outpaces that of a traditional non-cash banking transaction.


Bitcoin Breaks $13,000 As Rally Continues


Ana Alexandre reports:

Bitcoin (BTC) has broken the $13,000 price mark, and many of the top-20 cryptocurrencies showing double-digit gains on the day, according to Coin360.

BTC broke the $12,000 level earlier today, and has continued surging to trade at $13,252 at press time. The leading coin has gained over 16% on the day. Today, Bitcoin’s market dominance climbed to over 60% for the first time since April 2017.

Bitcoin’s recent rally has caused a stir in the crypto community, wherein some of its players have made predictions on its further price dynamics. Today, eToro analyst Simon Peters claimed that BTC prices could match their all-time high of $20,000 within the next two weeks — and could hit $50,000 or $100,000 by the end of the year.

Ether (ETH) is trading at around $349.20 at press time, with an increase of 12% over the past 24 hours. The altcoin started the day at $309, with its current price marking today’s high.

Ripple (XRP) has been demonstrating a calmer price performance, reporting a 5.30% increase over the day to trade at $0.486 at press time. XRP’s market capitalization is currently around $20.4 billion, which is nearly $17 billion less tha[n] Ethereum’s.

NEM (XEM) and NEO (NEO) have reported double-digit gains of 18.33% and 10.11% respectively on the day. Monero (XMR) is the only loser on the top-20 list, with a 2.83% loss on the day.

Total market cap of all digital currencies is around $376 billion as of press time, while the daily trading volume has reached $108 billion.

Oil prices also demonstrated a rise today, with U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures being at $58.95 per barrel, up $1.12 from their last settlement, and WTI hitting its highest level since May 30 at $59.13 a barrel, CNBC reported.

Gold, by contrast, fell 1% today, wherein Spot gold was down 0.5% at $1,411.3 per ounce on track to snap a six-session long winning streak.


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This is because under the EU charter, most major policies must be achieved through a unanimous vote.  And while there was great hope a few years ago that Greece would become this change agent following their installation of the Syriza government, this was quickly negated by the Troika's ability to hold much needed loans over their heads and force them to vote in lockstep with France and Germany.

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