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California fraud cases highlight the need for a regulatory crackdown on crypto

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California fraud cases highlight the need for a regulatory crackdown on crypto

The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) announced last month that it had issued desist and refrain orders to 11 entities for violating California securities laws. Some of the highlights included allegations that they offered unqualified securities as well as material misrepresentations and omissions to investors.

These violations should remind us that while crypto is a unique and exciting industry for the public at large, it is still an area that is rife with the potential for bad players and fraud. To date, government crypto regulation has been minimal at best, with a distinct lack of action. Whether you are a full-time professional investor or just a casual fan who wants to be involved, you need to be absolutely sure of what you are getting into before getting involved in any crypto opportunity.

California has toyed with setting up a crypto-specific business registration process for those looking to do business in the state. The proposed framework was vetoed by Governor Gavin Newsom as the resources required to establish and enforce such a framework would be prohibitive for the state. While this type of compliance infrastructure has not been employed yet, it points to concerns that regulatory authorities have related to the crypto industry.

There appears to be a pattern that new industries, especially those that garner as much international attention as crypto, are especially susceptible to fraud. One must go only as far back as cannabis legalization to find the last time California had to deal with fraudulent schemes at this scale.

Related: The feds are coming for the metaverse — from Axie Infinity to Bored Apes

It appears inevitable that California, known to be a first mover in regulation and compliance, will create some form of crypto-specific compliance infrastructure in the name of consumer protection. If history is any indication, once California releases its framework, other states will follow.

Federal and state representatives have been attempting to draft legislation to establish financial standards for crypto with little luck to date. At the federal level, Senators Cory Booker, John Thune, Debbie Stabenow and John Boozman co-sponsored a bill to empower the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to serve as the regulatory body for crypto, while Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Cynthia Lummis co-sponsored a bill to establish more clear guidance on digital assets and virtual currencies. Lawmakers have even reached out to tech luminaries such as Mark Zuckerberg to weigh in on crypto fraud.

Cryptocurrencies, California, CFTC, Legislation, Law, Scams, Fraud, Bitcoin Scams
Source: Chainalysis

None of these or other similarly crypto-focused bills are expected to pass in 2022, but this level of bipartisan cooperation has been unprecedented in recent times. The collaboration should reflect just the sheer magnitude of the need for a regulatory framework. Said another way, Democrats and Republicans speaking to one another about anything should stop the presses, but the fact that they are co-sponsoring multiple bills should tell us that there is a monumental requirement for guidance.

How should one approach investing in the crypto space if the government is not going to establish controls for crypto? There are a few general points that one should consider if they are presented with a crypto investment opportunity.

Related: GameFi developers could be facing big fines and hard time

When reviewing any opportunity, do your due diligence! Do not take anyone’s word without some level of substantive support. If crypto is not an area of expertise, reach out to professionals who do have qualified experience. Make sure to utilize crypto monitoring and blockchain analysis tools, if possible, as part of the vetting process.

A common strategy of fraudsters is putting undue pressure or artificial timelines on a potential close. Slow down the process and use any and all time necessary to make an investment decision.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. As overplayed as the cliché may be, it does bring up a valid point. There have been instances of schemes offering to pay initial and ongoing dividends for any new investors that are brought in and for additional dividends to be paid from any investors that those new investors bring in. If this sounds like a pyramid or multi-level marketing scheme, that’s because it is. Terms like “No Risk Investment” get thrown around as well. Ultimately, if no one knows where the opportunity is coming from, beware.

While crypto can be a fun and electrifying topic with many legitimate opportunities, there are bad players who will take advantage of the lack of government oversight and the excitement of overenthusiastic or undereducated investors.

Zach Gordon is a certified public accountant (CPA) and vice president of crypto accounting for Propeller Industries, serving as fractional chief financial officer and adviser to a portfolio of crypto and Web3 clients. He has been named a Forty Under 40 CPA, sits on the Digital Assets Committee for the NYSSCPA and has been working with crypto clients in a variety of capacities since 2016.

This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

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Chainlink eyes 25% rally ahead of LINK staking launch in December

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Chainlink eyes 25% rally ahead of LINK staking launch in December

Chainlink (LINK) looks poised for a 25% price rally in the days leading up to its staking protocol launch, based on several fundamental and technical factors.

Chainlink’s price rallies ahead of staking launch

The staking feature, which will go live as v0.1 in beta mode on Dec. 6, comes as a part of the so-called “Chainlink Economics 2.0” that focuses on boosting LINK holders’ reward-earning opportunities for “helping increase the crypto economic security” of Chainlink’s oracle services.

Earlier, Chainlink users had to launch their own nodes to receive rewards in LINK tokens. The staking feature effectively opens new avenues for them to earn LINK rewards that could, in theory, boost demand for the token.

Additionally, demand for LINK’s parent platform, Chainlink, as an oracle service provider, should also increase.

David Gokhshtein, founder of blockchain-focused media company Gokhshtein Media, believes it could happen in the wake of the recent FTX collapse.

The analyst highlighted how traders have been seeking more clarity on exchanges’ reserves after the FTX fiasco, which can boost demand for oracle services like Chainlink and, in turn, push LINK’s price higher.

$LINK is definitely being overlooked. With everything that’s happened and with the new “Proof of Reserves” being pushed out there, ChainLink will be used to push that data out there.

— David Gokhshtein (@davidgokhshtein) November 26, 2022

Chainlink Labs launched its proof-of-reserve auditing services to exchanges on Nov. 10.

The speculations have helped LINK’s price rally in recent days. Notably, Chainlink’s price gained 35.50% eight days after bottoming out locally at around $5.50 — trading for as much as $7.50 on Nov. 29, its highest level in two weeks.

The LINK/USD pair now eyes further upside in the near term, price technicals suggest.

A failed LINK price breakdown

LINK reclaimed its multi-week rising support trendline on Nov. 29, three weeks after losing it in the wake of the FTX-led market sell-off.

In doing so, the Chainlink token also invalidated its prevailing ascending triangle breakdown setup toward $4.

It now trades inside the pattern’s range, eyeing a rally toward the upper trendline near $9.40, up 25% from the current price levels, by the second week of December, as shown below.

LINK/USD three-day price chart. Source: TradingView

Michaël van de Poppe, market analyst and founder of Eight Global, also anticipates LINK to hit or cross above $9

#Chainlink showing a ton of strength, also expecting continuation there to happen.

If I didn’t have a long yet (but I do), then I’d be targeting for something like this in which I’d be looking at $9 area for a TP. pic.twitter.com/rRdv4eL91H

— Michaël van de Poppe (@CryptoMichNL) November 29, 2022

Moreover, a bullish continuation move above the $9.40 resistance could have LINK eye $16 next, the ascending triangle breakout target.

Related: Binance publishes official Merkle Tree-based proof of reserves

Conversely, slipping below the triangle’s lower trendline again risks bringing the breakdown setup toward $4 back in play, down about 45% from current prices.

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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Non-whale Bitcoin investors break new BTC accumulation record

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Non-whale Bitcoin investors break new BTC accumulation record

Some non-whale Bitcoin (BTC) investors seem to have had zero issues with the cryptocurrency bear market as well as fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) around the fall of FTX, on-chain data suggests.

Smaller retail investors have turned increasingly bullish on Bitcoin and started accumulating more BTC despite the ongoing market crisis, according to a report released by the blockchain intelligence platform Glassnode on Nov. 27.

According to the data, there are at least two types of retail Bitcoin investors that have been accumulating the record amount of BTC following the collapse of FTX.

The first type of investors — classified as shrimps — defines entities or investors that hold less than 1 Bitcoin, $16,500 at the time of writing, while the second type — crabs — are a category of addresses holding up to 10 BTC, $165,000 at the time of writing.

“Shrimp” investors have reportedly added 96,200 BTC ($1,6 billion) to their portfolios following the FTX crash in early November, which is an “all-time high balance increase.” This type of investor collectively holds 1.21 million BTC, or $20 billion at the time of writing, which is equivalent to 6.3% of the current circulating supply of 19.2 million coins, according to Glassnode.

In the meantime, “crabs” have bought about 191,600 BTC, or $3.1 billion, over the past 30 days, which is also a “convincing all-time-high,” the analysts said. According to the data, the new milestone has broken a previous high of BTC accumulation recorded by crabs in July 2022 at the peak of 126,000 BTC, or $2 billion, bought per month.

Bitcoin net position change for addresses holding up to 10 BTC. Source: Glassnode

While crabs and shrimps have been accumulating record amounts of Bitcoin, large Bitcoin investors have been selling. According to Glassnode, Bitcoin whales have released about 6,500 BTC, or $107 million, to exchanges over the past month, which remains a very small portion of their total holdings of 6.3 million BTC, $104 billion.

The behavior of shrimps and crabs seems to be interesting given the latest industry events, with Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto exchange becoming a subject of a massive industry scandal involving alleged fraud and funds misappropriation.

On the other hand, some big Bitcoin investors have claimed to keep being bullish on Bitcoin despite the ongoing crisis, with the government of El Salvador starting purchasing BTC on a daily basis, starting from Nov.17. Twitter CEO Elon Musk also expressed confidence that Bitcoin “will make it” despite the current industry issues, but there might be a “long crypto winter,” he said.

Related: Exchange outflows hit historic highs as Bitcoin investors self-custody

In the aftermath of the fall of FTX, Bitcoin immediately lost about $6,000 of its value, plummeting from around $21,000 below $16,000 in mid-November. The cryptocurrency has been slightly recovering over the past few weeks, edging up to no higher than $17,000.

At the time of writing, BTC is trading at $16,500, or up around 1.7% over the past 24 hours, according to data from CoinGecko.

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President of Bank of Brazil Shows ‘Open Finance’ Digital Real Concept Featuring Stablecoin Integration and Payments Functionality

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President of Bank of Brazil Shows ‘Open Finance’ Digital Real Concept Featuring Stablecoin Integration and Payments Functionality

digital real

Roberto Campos Neto, president of the Bank of Brazil, explained the role that the Brazilian central bank digital currency (CBDC), the digital real, might play in the future of personal finance. At an event, Neto explained the concept of “open finance,” showing a “super app” that featured PIX (a payments network) functionality, and also integration with other stablecoins already available.

Digital Real Might Connect Directly With Cryptocurrencies

The proposed Brazilian CBDC, the digital real, is ostensibly growing to have more and more functions. Roberto Campos Neto, president of the Bank of Brazil, showed the concept the bank has for the finished version of the currency. On Nov 25. at an online event, Campos Neto introduced the ideas that the institution has for the currency, under the “open finance” name.

This idea includes the integration of the digital real, which is still under development, with traditional and decentralized financial structures and institutions. A “super app,” that will allow customers to hold stablecoins and the CBDC, was also shown in the event, showcasing the connection the system will have with the already available PIX payments network.

On the app mockup, Campos Neto clarified:

This is basically a teaser of what this integration I’m talking about will be. Instead of having several apps on your cell phone, from several banks, you will have some kind of integrator.

In this way, the app will allow the users to have a complete picture of their savings, traditional or crypto-based, in just one place.

A Push for Digitization

While the digital real concept has been in development for quite some time, there is no estimated date for its completion, as the central bank and other organizations continue to test the different implementations and functions this new coin would have. However, Campos Neto stated that the currency will be a bridge to decentralized finance, as the country pushes towards monetary digitization.

On this, Campos Neto explained:

The digital real part is a bridge to the defi environment. We are bringing the digital world to the banking system. Several other central banks are doing the opposite. They are actually pushing digital out of banking.

However, contrary to what Campos Neto states, several central bank digital currencies are already being tested by myriad central banks. The European Union is currently studying the implementation of a digital euro and is expected to regulate it soon. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is also piloting an interoperable network of central bank wholesale digital money, and a proposal has surged in Argentina to eliminate physical money.

What do you think about Campos Neto’s open finance concept for the digital real? Tell us in the comments section below.

Sergio Goschenko

Sergio is a cryptocurrency journalist based in Venezuela. He describes himself as late to the game, entering the cryptosphere when the price rise happened during December 2017. Having a computer engineering background, living in Venezuela, and being impacted by the cryptocurrency boom at a social level, he offers a different point of view about crypto success and how it helps the unbanked and underserved.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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