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Crypto pumps after Fed rate hike, Zuckerberg pins hopes on Metaverse making hundreds of billions and Tesla posts $64M BTC gain: Hodler’s Digest, July 24-30

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Crypto pumps after Fed rate hike, Zuckerberg pins hopes on Metaverse making hundreds of billions and Tesla posts $64M BTC gain: Hodler’s Digest, July 24-30

Coming every Saturday, Hodler’s Digest will help you track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

‘Bullish rate hike’ — Why crypto spiked in the face of bad news

Despite the U.S. Federal Reserve announcing a 75-basis-point interest rate hike on Wednesday, the crypto markets pumped significantly on the same day with the momentum continuing through the week. Quantum Economics founder and CEO Mati Greenspan jokingly called it a “bullish rate hike” and stated that investors were clearly expecting far worse. Analysts such as Swyftx’s Pav Hundal suggested the recent rally may be due to an easing of inflationary pressures around gas and goods such as corn and wheat.

Ethereum dev confirms Goerli merger date, the final update before the Merge

On Thursday, lead Ethereum developer Tim Beiko revealed that the final Goerli testnet merger ahead of Ethereum’s long-awaited Merge and switch to proof-of-stake will occur between Aug. 6-12. In what has been a long and much-delayed roadmap since late 2020, the Ethereum network is now in the final stages of completing its largest upgrade to date. The official Merge is slated for Sept. 19 but could be subject to further delays if there are issues with the Goerli testnet.

Zuckerberg unfazed about $2.8B metaverse division loss in Q2

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that he was unfazed by the company copping a $2.8 billion loss on its Metaverse division in Q2. He highlighted that the company’s Metaverse goals will take several years to roll out, but he sees a “massive opportunity” to make hundreds of billions of dollars, or even trillions, over time as the sector matures. “I’m confident that we’re going to be glad that we played an important role in building this,” he said.

Cathie Wood sells Coinbase shares amid insider trading allegations

Cathie Wood’s investment firm Ark Investment Management, which is one of the largest shareholders of Coinbase (COIN), reportedly dumped 1.4 million COIN shares on Tuesday. The shedding was done via three of Ark’s exchange-traded funds (ETF), and the sale was estimated to be worth around $75 million. The firm reportedly held nearly 9 million COIN shares in late June and has continually snapped up the stock since it opened at roughly $350 last April. Since then, the price has tanked heavily to sit just below $63, and Ark probably should have shorted it when Jim Cramer called it “cheap” at $248 last August.

Tesla reports $64M profit from Bitcoin sale

The Elon Musk-led electric vehicle maker Tesla posted a respectable $64 million profit after selling 75% of its BTC holdings in Q2. The gains seem notable considering the company sold during the middle of a bear market; however, what’s more important and exciting is that Musk appears to be finally losing interest in crypto and we won’t need to hear from him anymore. The firm is said to still have 10,800 BTC on its books, which is worth around $255 million at the time of writing.

Winners and Losers

At the end of the week, Bitcoin (BTC) is at $23,559.86, Ether (ETH) at $1,674.34 and XRP at $0.36. The total market cap is at $1.08 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap.

Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are Optimism (OP) at 75.71%, Ethereum Classic (ETC) at 58.20% and Qtum (QTUM) at 41.89%.  

The top three altcoin losers of the week are Huobi Token (HT) at 9.10%, Kusama (KSM) at 8.98% and NEAR Protocol (NEAR) at 7.76%.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“A lot of NFT projects are just speculation with no real tangible spine, no real true story. Having a football club to root for every week? That’s a spine that people attach themselves to.” 

Preston Johnson, co-owner of Crawley Town F.C. and co-founder of WAGMI United

“Industry shouldn’t be allowed to write the rules that they want to play by.”

Sherrod Brown, U.S. senator and chair of the Senate Banking Committee

“We think it is more relevant for local projects to benefit the local economy, and not just take products to the United States to benefit traders there, for example.” 

Lou Yu, head of KuCoin Labs 

“Powell is particularly skilled at delivering bad news. Clearly investors were expecting worse.” 

Mati Greenspan, founder and CEO of Quantum Economics

“The Metaverse is a massive opportunity for a number of reasons. I feel even more strongly now that developing these platforms will unlock hundreds of billions of dollars, if not trillions, over time.” 

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta

“I worry about things that are not directly related to blockchain and the Metaverse. I worry about climate change and about social fragmentation.” 

Neal Stephenson, author of Snow Crash

Prediction of the Week 

GameFi industry to see $2.8 billion valuation in six years

Absolute Reports published a GameFi-focused report this week estimating that the play-to-earn NFT gaming industry will be worth $2.8 billion by 2028. For it to reach the target, GameFi would need a compound annual growth rate of 20.4% over six years, given that the sector was estimated to be worth $776.9 million last year. The reasons for this lofty target, however, are locked behind a paywall.

FUD of the Week 

Solana-based stablecoin NIRV drops 85% following $3.5M exploit

The algorithmic stablecoin from Solana-based adaptive yield protocol Nirvana Finance, NIRV, de-pegged by 85% this week after the protocol was hacked for $3.49 million worth of USDT. The incident was cited as a flash loan attack which resulted in the funds being siphoned from Nirvana’s treasury. Its native token, ANA, also dropped 85% as a result of the hack.

Phishing risks escalate as Celsius confirms client emails leaked

On Tuesday, beleaguered and bankrupt crypto lending firm Celsius emailed its customers, informing them that a list of their emails had been leaked by an employee of one of its business data management and messaging vendors, Customer.io. The firm has played down the incident, stating that it did not “present any high risks to [its] clients,” adding that they just wanted users to “be aware” — although Celsius also said similar things regarding users’ assets after pausing withdrawals several weeks ago.

TikTok data policy debacle: Is user’s crypto at risk?

Popular social media app TikTok is facing backlash over its far-reaching data collection policies that could extract large amounts of sensitive info from a user’s smartphone or computer. As such, crypto users are now worried about whether TikTok is capable of scraping critical data such as private wallet keys. “TikTok is not just another video app. That’s the sheep’s clothing. It harvests swaths of sensitive data that new reports show are being accessed in Beijing,” claimed U.S. Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr.

Best Cointelegraph Features

The Merge is Ethereum’s chance to take over Bitcoin, researcher says

Ethereum’s imminent transition to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism will transform its monetary policy, potentially making ETH more scarce than Bitcoin.

Tokenomics not Ponzi-nomics: Influencing behavior, making money

Economics is the study of human behavior involving scarce resources — and the effects those behaviors have on those resources, explains Roderick McKinley.

When worlds collide: Joining Web3 and crypto from Web2

A friend of mine who is a seasoned Web2 tech executive joined a Web3 company in June. A switched-on operator, he asked to speak with all 16 staff before deciding to join the firm.

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Shiba Inu eyes 50% rally as SHIB price enters ‘cup-and-handle’ breakout mode

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Shiba Inu eyes 50% rally as SHIB price enters ‘cup-and-handle’ breakout mode

Shiba Inu (SHIB) broke out of its prevailing “cup-and-handle” pattern on Aug. 14, raising its prospects of securing additional gains in the coming weeks.

Shiba Inu could soar 50%

A cup-and-handle appears when the price falls and rises in a U-shaped trajectory in the first stage, followed by a swift move sideways or downward in the second. Notably, the price trend develops under a common resistance level.

Typically, cup-and-handle patterns resolve after the price breaks above the resistance level; SHIB did the same on Aug. 14 after rising 27% to $0.000016, as shown below.

SHIB/USD daily price chart. Source: TradingView

Per the rule of technical analysis, a cup-and-handle breakout target is determined by measuring the distance between the pattern’s lowest point and resistance line and adding it to the breakout point. As a result, SHIB could head toward $0.00002253.

In other words, a 50% price rally by September.

A nonsense rally, nonetheless?

Fundamentally, Shiba Inu’s 27% intraday price rally on Aug. 14 had no visible catalysts except a metric showing that SHIB’s burn rate surged by 825% in a day. But the amount of burned SHIB is worth only over $4,500.

Shiba Inu burn rate. Source: Shibburn.com

On the whole, however, the Shiba Inu network has burned over $6.36 million worth of SHIB tokens in its lifetime.

In addition, the Shiba Inu rally came almost ten days after Binance’s announcement to add SHIB support on its payment cards issued in Europe. In doing so, the crypto exchange raised SHIB’s potential to find new users in the emerging European cryptocurrency space.

We are pleased to announce that @binance has added SHIB to the list of supported tokens for the Binance Card issued in Europe.

You can now pay with SHIB at 60+ million merchants worldwide. Furthermore, get up to 8% cashback and zero annual or FX fees!https://t.co/0Xj7IXPyt0 pic.twitter.com/FqINtnHFWx

— Shib (@Shibtoken) August 5, 2022

Weak fundamentals could offset SHIB’s technically bullish bias, however, given tha cup-and-handle setups have only a 61% success rate in meeting their profit targets, according to veteran analyst Tom Bulkowski.

Related: 3 cryptocurrencies that stand to outperform ETH price thanks to Ethereum’s Merge

Therefore, a failed cup-and-handle breakout—also on a pullback from the 200-day exponential moving average (200-day EMA; the blue wave in the chart below) near $0.00001755—could have SHIB eye an initial correction toward $0.00001306, down 20% from today’s price.

SHIB/USD daily price chart. Source: TradingView

Shiba Inu’s cup-and-handle setup could fizzle because of the token’s overbought daily relative strength index (RSI). Notably, the RSI has crossed above 70, which typically results in a period of sideways consolidation or correction.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Top 5 cryptocurrencies to watch this week: BTC, ADA, UNI, LINK, CHZ

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Top 5 cryptocurrencies to watch this week: BTC, ADA, UNI, LINK, CHZ

The S&P 500 rose for the fourth successive week as investors cheered on signs that inflation may have peaked. Bitcoin (BTC) and select altcoins also extended their recovery, suggesting that investors are increasing their exposure to risk assets.

A similar trend has played out in the cryptocurrency markets. Altcoins, led by Ether (ETH), have outperformed Bitcoin after clarity on Ethereum’s Merge, according to analysts at Glassnode.

Crypto market data daily view. Source: Coin360

However, trading firm QCP Capital is cautious about the momentum in the altcoin market. They highlighted that the open interest on Ether options had surged to $8 billion, exceeding Bitcoin option OI which was at $5 billion. Glassnode suggested that traders have been booking profits on the spread between their spot long Ether versus the quarterly short Ether futures positions.

Could Bitcoin and the altcoins extend their recovery in the next few days? Let’s study the charts of the top-5 cryptocurrencies that may outperform in the near term.

BTC/USDT

Bitcoin rose above the overhead resistance of $24,668 on Aug. 13 and Aug. 14 but the bulls could not sustain the higher levels. This indicates that bears are selling on rallies but repeated breach of an overhead resistance tends to weaken it.

BTC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

The gradually upsloping 20-day exponential moving average of $23,414 and the relative strength index (RSI) in the positive territory indicate that the path of least resistance is to the upside. If bulls sustain the price above $25,000, the momentum could pick up further and the BTC/Tether (USDT) pair could rally to $28,000.

This level may act as a stiff resistance but if bulls clear this hurdle, the rally could extend to $32,000. The critical level to watch on the downside is the 20-day EMA. A bounce off it will indicate that the sentiment remains positive and traders are buying on dips.

On the contrary, if the price turns down from the current level and breaks below the 20-day EMA, it will suggest that bears remain active at higher levels. The pair could then drop to the 50-day simple moving average of $21,976.

BTC/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

The $24,668 level is witnessing a tough battle between the bulls and the bears. The upsloping moving averages indicate advantage to buyers but the negative divergence on the RSI suggests the momentum may be weakening.

If the price breaks below the 20-EMA, it will signal a minor advantage to the bears. The pair could then decline to the 50-SMA and later to $23,600. Alternatively, if the price turns up from the 20-EMA and rises above $25,050, the up-move may resume.

ADA/USDT

Cardano (ADA) broke and closed above the overhead resistance at $0.55 on Aug. 13. This indicates that the uncertainty has resolved in favor of the bulls.

ADA/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

The rising 20-day EMA of $0.52 and the RSI in the positive territory indicate that bulls have the upper hand. The ADA/USDT pair could rally to $0.63 and then to the strong overhead resistance at $0.70. This level is likely to attract strong selling by the bears.

Contrary to this assumption, if the price turns down from the current level and breaks below the 20-day EMA, it will suggest that the break above $0.55 may have been a bull trap. The pair could then decline to the 50-day SMA of $0.49 and later to $0.45.

ADA/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

The pair completed an ascending triangle pattern on a break and close above the overhead resistance at $0.55. This pushed the RSI on the 4-hour chart to overbought levels, which may have tempted short-term traders to book profits.

The price may drop to the breakout level of $0.55. If bulls flip this level into support, the pair may continue its up-move to the pattern target at $0.65. This positive view could invalidate in the near term if the price plummets below the uptrend line.

UNI/USDT

Uniswap (UNI) has been consolidating between $8.11 and $9.83 for the past few days. This suggests that the bulls are buying the dips but the bears are defending the overhead resistance.

UNI/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

The longer the price remains in the range, the stronger the breakout will be from it. The 20-day EMA of $8.54 is sloping up and the RSI is in the positive territory, indicating an advantage to buyers. If bulls thrust the price above $9.83, the UNI/USDT pair could pick up momentum and rally toward $10.55 and later to $12.

Alternatively, if the price turns down from the current level and breaks below the 20-day EMA, it will suggest that the pair may continue its range-bound action for some more time. The bears will have to sink and sustain the price below $8.11 to gain the upper hand.

UNI/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

The 4-hour chart shows that the bears are defending the zone between $9.50 and $9.83. If the price breaks below $8.74, the sellers will attempt to sink the pair to the strong support at $8.11. The buyers are expected to buy the dip to this level.

The flattening moving averages and the RSI near the midpoint suggest that the range-bound action may continue for some more time. The next trending move could start on a break above $9.83 or on a close below $8.11.

Related: Bitcoin hits $25K as bearish voices call BTC price ‘double top’

LINK/USDT

Chainlink (LINK) has been trading in a large range between $5.50 and $9.50 for the past several weeks. The bulls attempted to push the price above the range on Aug. 12 but the bears held their ground.

LINK/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

The 20-day EMA of $8.00 is sloping up and the RSI is in the positive territory, indicating that bulls have the upper hand. If the price rebounds off the 20-day EMA, the bulls will make one more attempt to clear the overhead hurdle at $9.50. If they succeed, the LINK/USDT pair could rally to $12.30 and then to $13.50.

Instead, if the price breaks below the 20-day EMA, it will indicate that traders are booking profits near the resistance. That could sink the pair to the 50-day SMA of $7.00 and increase the stay inside the range for a few more days.

LINK/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

The price turned down from the overhead resistance at $9.50 and broke below the 20-EMA on the 4-hour chart. This suggests that traders may be booking profits. The pair could drop to the 50-SMA, which may act as a strong support.

If the price rebounds off the 50-SMA, the bulls will again try to push the pair above $9.50. If they succeed, the pair could start the next leg of the up-move. On the other hand, if the price slips below the 50-SMA, the pair could decline to $8.29.

CHZ/USDT

Chiliz (CHZ) has been in a strong recovery for the past few days but the long wick on the Aug. 14 candlestick suggests that bears are defending the overhead resistance at $0.19.

CHZ/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

Although the rising 20-day EMA of $0.14 indicates an advantage to buyers, the RSI in the overbought territory suggests a minor correction or consolidation in the short term. If the price turns down from the current level, the first critical level to watch on the downside is the 20-day EMA.

A strong rebound off this level will suggest that the bulls are viewing the dips as a buying opportunity. That will improve the prospects of a break above the overhead resistance. If that happens, the CHZ/USDT pair could rally to $0.22 and then to $0.24.

Alternatively, if the price slips below the 20-day EMA, the pair could slide to the 50-day SMA of $0.12. Such a move will suggest that the pair may form a range in the near term.

CHZ/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

The sharp rally in the pair pushed the RSI deep into the overbought territory on the 4-hour chart, indicating that a correction or consolidation was possible. The same may have started and the pair could decline to the 20-EMA, which is an important level to keep an eye on.

If the price rebounds off the 20-EMA, it will suggest that the positive sentiment remains intact. The buyers will then again try to resume the up-move. This bullish view will be negated in the near term if the price breaks and sustains below the 50-SMA.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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AML and KYC: A catalyst for mainstream crypto adoption

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AML and KYC: A catalyst for mainstream crypto adoption

For Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin (BTC), the motivation to create a new payment ecosystem from scratch in 2009 stemmed from the economic chaos caused by the banking sector’s over-exuberant and risky lending practices mixed accompanied by the bursting of the housing bubbles in many countries at the time. 

“And who do you think picked up the pieces after the fallout? The taxpayer, of course,” said Durgham Mushtaha, business development manager of blockchain analytics firm Coinfirm, in an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph.

Satoshi recognized the need for a new monetary system based on equity and fairness — a system that gives back power into the hands of the people. A trustless system with anonymous participants, transacting peer-to-peer and without the need of a central entity.

Snippet from the Bitcoin whitepaper. Source: bitcoin.org

However, a subsequent market downturn — fueled by the initial coin offering bubble bursting — made the crypto industry realize the need to build credibility, authority and trust by proactively working with regulators and legislators. Enter Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customers (KYC) procedures.

Mushtaha started the discussion by highlighting how, unlike fiat currency, transactions in coins and tokens built on blockchain technology are far easier to trace using on-chain analytics and AML tools. Furthermore, introducing KYC procedures to identify and legitimize users across major crypto exchanges resulted in a far more robust financial system that became more impervious to money laundering and other illicit activity.

As a result, it effectively bolstered the sector’s image and enticed more people to trust their hard-earned money in the market. “I see the next bull market becoming a watershed moment, where the masses dive into crypto as fears dissipate and the sector grows exponentially,” he said.

Impact of KYC and AML on the evolution of finance

The early discussions and implementation of global AML and KYC legislation date back five decades, marked by the establishment of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) in 1970 and the global Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in 1989. “The risk scenario indicators developed in traditional finance over the past 50 years have been adopted into crypto and niche sectors of the industry, including decentralized finance,” added Mushtaha:

“Where we differ from traditional finance is our on-chain analytical processes. There are no blockchains in traditional finance, so they are missing a huge part of the jigsaw as the blockchain sector is not siloed.” 

Sharing insights into what today’s KYC and AML implementation looks like from a provider perspective, Mushtaha revealed that Coinfirm has over 350 risk scenario indicators that cover money laundering, financing of terrorism, sanctions, drug trade, ransomware, scams, investment fraud and more. 

With AML getting more sophisticated in the decentralized finance (DeFi) space, “We can now tell you whether your wallet was directly implicated in illicit activities or has inherited risk from another address by receiving assets from ill-gotten gains.” In addition, technology has evolved alongside the crypto ecosystem to provide risk profiles on wallet addresses and transactions based on on-chain analytics.

Declining use of cryptocurrencies in money laundering

Year after year, numerous reports have confirmed a consistent decline in the use of money laundering — with transactions involving illicit addresses representing just 0.15% of cryptocurrency transaction volume in 2021. Mushtaha believes that this finding stands to reason. 

“Those involved in illicit activity would be wise to steer clear of blockchain-related assets and stick to the tried and tested dollar. The United States dollar is still the most utilized and preferred currency for money laundering,” he said while adding that, in crypto, once a wallet address has been identified as holding assets that were earned through illegal activity, there’s little the criminal can do.

99.85% of activity on blockchains is NOT crime. Keep this in mind when reviewing the next harsh regulation proposal.


Crypto Crime Trends for 2022: Illicit Transaction Activity Reaches All-Time Low in Share of All Cryptocurrency Activity https://t.co/94VB7FiyZb

— Sten Tamkivi (@seikatsu) January 16, 2022

With present-day regulatory scrutiny ensuring crypto exchanges are KYC compliant, bad actors find it difficult to off-ramp crypto assets into fiat or spend them in open markets. Speaking about the various methods most commonly used to transfer illicit funds, Mushtaha stated:

“Sure, they can try to make use of anonymizing techniques, like mixers, tumblers and privacy coins, but then their assets will be flagged and tainted for using them.”

As cryptocurrencies become more accepted and prevalent globally, criminals will turn to a black market in order to sell ill-gotten assets. Given the availability of marketplaces where money can be spent without KYC, it will be incumbent on future law enforcement agencies to crack down on such sites.

KYC and AML tools can now correlate IP addresses with wallet addresses, and clustering algorithms do an amazing job at identifying associated addresses. Such measures would be difficult, even for state-level actors, to launder through exchanges outside their borders. Mushtaha added, “The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has lists of identified addresses belonging to sanctioned persons and entities. The assets in those addresses are too hot for anyone to handle.”

Role of CBDCs in countering money laundering

Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) could offer central banks a level of control never seen in fiat currency. Imagine all of the issues with fiat, like government manipulation and inflation, but now with the power of on-chain analytics. CBDCs will allow more granular scrutiny of users’ spending habits and central banks to freeze holdings, limit them, set expiry dates, automatically tax every transaction or even decide what can and can’t be bought with them. “Every merchant, financial institution and retail customer would also need to comply with KYC, thereby disincentivizing money laundering,” said Mushtaha.

Libra, a permissioned blockchain-based stablecoin launched by Facebook’s parent company Meta, failed to gain traction when it was launched in 2019. Consequently, mainstream conversations around Meta’s crypto initiatives catalyzed numerous governments to try out CBDCs, with China being one the first to launch its CBDC.

Worldwide CBDC initiative overview. Source: atlanticcouncil.org

The possibilities for currency control are not the sole motivations for this wave of government-sponsored innovation. While pointing out that governments no longer follow the gold standard, Mushtaha highlighted present-day inflation as a direct result of federal and central agencies printing money at will.

“The United States printed more dollars than ever existed before. And the result of that is rampant inflation that’s off the charts.” 

Moreover, Mushtaha argued that increasing the interest rates too much, too quickly, would cause a catastrophic cascade of overextended debt-ridden financial institutions to collapse. As a result, CBDCs stand out as a solution for central banks, adding that “For the first time, central banks could destroy money as well as create it.”

Evolution of AML, KYC and technological advancements

Based on his extensive experience in the AML/KYC sector, Mushtaha stated that technology adapts to the evolution of regulations and not the other way round. Startup trading platforms that decide to integrate AML tools have the option to apply for a virtual asset service provider (VASP) and securities licenses. “Becoming compliant means a huge pool of opportunities becomes open to you. Funding in this space is only available to those focusing on compliance.” As a result, AML solution providers find themselves bridging the gap between the crypto world and the compliant financial system.

Mushtaha shared an instance working with a startup that is currently developing a nonfungible token (NFT)-based KYC solution using zero-knowledge Proofs. “The cleverness comes from their recognition that NFTs used for KYC don’t need to solve the double spend problem, so can be disengaged from the blockchain entirely. This then allows for private biometric data to be stored on the NFT and a zk-Proof to be sent to each platform where the individual wants to open an account.”

Although the solution is designed to perform as a centralized entity for storing the NFT information “most likely on a permissioned (publicly inaccessible) chain,” Mushtaha affirms it’s a step in the right direction as NFTs serve KYC use cases over the next decade as digitalization continues to permeate across industry verticals.

In terms of AML, new tools and advancements are coming out every month owing to the accelerated rate of innovation. According to Mushtaha, an in-house tool allows Coinfirm to analyze every wallet address that contributes assets to a smart contract-controlled liquidity pool, adding that “We can provide risk profiles for tens of thousands of addresses at a time.”

AI innovations focusing on algorithmically generated transaction-based user behavior pattern recognition will be a key trend. “The blockchain holds a wealth of behavior-related data, that can be used to analyse money laundering patterns, and then extrapolate risk profiles for wallet addresses that behave in these ways,” explained Mushtaha.

Machine learning tools, which have collected large pools of data sets over the years across the crypto landscape, will also be utilized to predict potential trade outcomes.

Governments monitoring cross-border crypto transactions

The FATF issued its revised guidance in October last year, where they labeled every crypto asset that preserves privacy or that doesn’t involve an intermediary of some kind as high risk. This is not surprising as the FATF’s explicit mandate is to eliminate “any threats to the integrity of the international financial system,” of which it considers cryptocurrencies to be one. Hence, the introduction of the Travel Rule in 2019 requires all VASPs to pass on certain information to the next financial institution in a transaction. 

When the rule gets applied to un-hosted wallet addresses held by private individuals, however, “The FATF seems to be laying the groundwork to apply the Travel Rule to these wallets if peer-to-peer transactions increase in the next few years, potentially imposing on privacy rights,” said Mushtaha.

A more prudent approach, according to Mushtaha, would be to harmonize the mostly fragmented implementation approaches of the existing Travel Rule across jurisdictions, making cross-border transactions more straightforward while also focusing on VASP compliance.

Crypto entrepreneurs’ role in countering money laundering

Given the availability of off-the-shelf AML solutions designed to tailor-fit each VASP’s particular requirements, Mushtaha believes “there really is no excuse anymore” for neglecting compliance. It is also incumbent on VASPs to establish comprehensive educational materials for their users as the world prepares for frictionless mass adoption.

#Binance works closely with regulators worldwide, with the purpose of driving Web3 into the mainstream.

Hear from Binance VP, Global Marketing, James Rothwell who covers the importance of regulation in establishing a Web3 world. pic.twitter.com/ZaJfLQPX35

— Binance (@binance) August 2, 2022

Mushtaha believes that crypto entrepreneurs are in a unique position to help write the next chapter of the global financial system, and they should understand that AML compliance isn’t an impediment to their success — but a catalyst. “Most retail investors want to navigate this space safely, managing their risks while transacting,” he recommended. “And giving these investors peace of mind should be a VASP’s priority.” 

Working toward a regulatory future

KYC and AML are necessary elements of today’s macro economy and are important components of the crypto space. Mushtaha disagrees with the belief that regulations erode anonymity. 

“Regulations will drive mass adoption, but it’s incumbent on the players in this space to proactively put forward the framework for regulation that encourages innovation while disincentivizing illicit activity. There is a need to strike a balance where one can monitor money laundering while maintaining a user’s privacy. These are not mutually exclusive goals; you can have both.” 

And, to investors, Mushtaha advised the age-old adage, “do your own research.”

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