Momentum running through the psychological $6,000 barrier, there is little immediate headline catalyst.
But two stories of note this week may have helped drive some of the weakness.
As CoinTelegraph reports, South Korea’s top financial regulator has released a set of revised anti-money laundering (AML) guidelines for virtual currencies, according to a press release published this week.
The press release notes that the Financial Services Commission (FSC) conducted on-site inspections of three domestic banks – Nonghyup, Kookmin, and Hana Bank – the results of which prompted the update to AML guidelines.
The new guidelines note that cryptocurrency exchanges must conduct Customer Due Diligence (CDD) and Enhanced Customer Identification (EDD) to ensure the trade purposes and funding sources of users are legitimate. If a business refuses or is unable to provide information for customer verification, the guidelines note that any transactions from that entity must be rejected or terminated.
According to the revised guidelines, crypto exchanges are also responsible for making certain that foreigners are not using local crypto exchanges, criminals are not using the personal accounts of other people to launder money, and that there are no suspicious transactions and payment processing, CCN news site writes.
And, as CCN reports, for a significant part of 2017 and even this year, social media platforms have taken a lot of heat over their alleged role in influencing the 2016 U.S. presidential election. And for a period of time on Tuesday during a congressional hearing, cryptocurrencies were put in the same spot — at least with regards to the future.
According to Dueweke, the danger of using virtual currencies to influence the U.S. electoral process is acuter now considering that there are state actors who are hostile to the United States that are turning to cryptocurrencies as a way of bypassing the financial system of the West as well as its Anti-Money Laundering and Know-Your-Client regulatory requirements. Per Dueweke Russia was a particularly big threat.
“Considering that a large percentage of global criminal hackers and many cybercriminals are Russian or speak Russian (it is estimated that 25% of Darknet content is Russian), and given Russia’s current state of tension with the United States and Europe, this development should be closely monitored,” Dueweke warned in his prepared testimony.
This comes about a week since the U.S. Secret Service’s Office of Investigations deputy director, Robert Novy, called on lawmakers to enact legislation which would curb the use of anonymity-enhanced cryptocurrencies or privacy coins. Novy was testifying before a Terrorism and Illicit Finance subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services.
Moreover, the Justice Department has jumped in with a criminal investigation, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is furious at the options and futures exchange CME Group for not having put in place agreements to properly settle its futures contracts, as the exchanges whose prices the CME relies on for settlement values refuse to share the data! (See the June 8 MarketWatch article, “U.S. regulators demand trading data from bitcoin exchanges in manipulation probe.”)
Still, I am grateful that the CME launched bitcoin futures contracts, even though it is glaringly obvious that they did so prematurely because that created a two-way market. Although I think these contracts have a very high chance of being eventually delisted as trading volumes decline and the bitcoin price keeps going lower, the CME futures contracts popped the bitcoin bubble even before the regulators jumped in.
As any fund manager worth his salt will tell you, no market price is real unless you can short the asset. Before the listing of bitcoin futures, we had a global mania that was a one-way street. I believe bitcoin is the first truly global mania because of the rise of the internet. Previously, bubbles were geographically segregated, such as the Tulip Bulb mania, the South Sea bubble, the 1929 Wall Street crash and many others.
There is nothing evil about short-selling. If an asset price is overvalued, based on a thorough analysis of the situation, then an investor can short it. If a thorough analysis calls for the price to appreciate, which is typically due to rising profits or rising cash flows (when it comes to stocks), then the investor should buy. There are numerous devils in the details of shorting and buying stocks, bonds, commodities and (crypto)currencies, but if properly done, this analysis is what rational investing is all about.
At the time of this writing, Bitcoin has a “market cap” of $111 billion, according to coinmarketcap.com. As I have mentioned previously, I think the term “bitcoin market cap” is absurd, as there are no sales and earnings to discount into the future. A market in bubble mode is not a discounting mechanism but a runaway train just marking time until it goes off the tracks.
Do all good things have to come to an end?
InterAnalyst has been serving investors globally since 1990. Authoring hundreds financial articles and publications, thousands of trading charts to investors worldwide.