After the crypto lending platform Celsius halted operations on June 12, at 10:10 p.m. (ET), two days later the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) quoted “people familiar with the matter” who said Celsius was hiring restructuring lawyers. At the time, the WSJ said Celsius was looking to hire the bankruptcy and restructuring law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. However, a new report from the WSJ claims sources say that Celsius is now working with the restructuring advisory firm Alvarez & Marsal.
Sources Say Celsius May Be Collaborating With a Restructuring Advisory Firm
The current financial situation of the crypto lending company Celsius is still unknown and since June 12, people still suspect that the firm is insolvent. Bitcoin.com News reported on the rumors and speculation that surrounds the company to this day and on June 13, the crypto lending firm Nexo offered to buy Celsius-based assets.
The reason why people suspect that Celsius is having financial hardships is because of the company’s tweet on June 12. “Due to extreme market conditions, today we are announcing that Celsius is pausing all withdrawals, swaps, and transfers between accounts,” Celsius revealed. There’s also been speculation about Celsius having 17,919 WBTC leveraged in Maker protocol that faced liquidation.
On June 14, a WSJ report said that Celsius was looking to hire the restructuring law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. “People familiar with the matter” explained that Celsius was attempting to get help from investors first. At the time, Akin Gump did not comment on the matter when it was asked if the firm was involved with Celsius. Now, another WSJ report says that Celsius may be collaborating with the restructuring advisory firm Alvarez & Marsal.
People Familiar With the Matter Claim Goldman Sachs Has Eyes on Celsius Network Assets
Additionally, Coindesk’s Tracy Wang reported that “Goldman Sachs is looking to raise $2 billion from investors to buy up distressed assets from troubled crypto lender Celsius.” Wang detailed that the information stemmed from “two people familiar with the matter.” The report goes on to explain that the two sources said the proposed Goldman Sachs deal “would allow investors to buy up Celsius’ assets at potentially big discounts in the event of a bankruptcy filing.”
A report from Reuters further detailed that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and state regulators were investigating Celsius over the account freeze. Other accounts have said that Akin Gump and the financial giant Citigroup told Celsius they recommended it file for bankruptcy. The report that discusses Akin Gump’s and Citigroup’s alleged recommendation said that both companies declined to comment on the subject.
After Celsius paused withdrawals, there haven’t been many words from the company except a blog post that tells the Celsius Network community that the company’s “objective continues to be stabilizing our liquidity and operations.” Celsius added that the “process will take time” but the post does not detail what type of process it meant. In the comment section, Celsius is criticized a great deal over the issue.
“Basically you have added nothing to what you have already said. Which is, per se, very little already,” an individual wrote in response to the company’s statement. “The lack of transparency is very concerning,” another person said. “Choosing Celsius was the worst choice of my life,” a Medium user called “Crypto Cooper” wrote five days ago. CEL, the Celsius Network’s native token is down 80.9% during the last 12 months and 86.3% lower than the asset’s all-time high.
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17919 WBTC, Akin Gump, bankrupt, CEL, Celsius, Celsius customers, celsius network (CEL), Celsius restructuring, CitiGroup, Crypto Cooper, Goldman Sachs, halt withdrawals, Insolvency, insolvent, Investors, law firm, restructuring, restructuring Celsius, rumors, seeking help, sources, speculators, Tracy Wang, Withdrawals, WSJ
What do you think about the report that says Goldman Sachs is reportedly looking to purchase distressed assets from crypto lender Celsius? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
Jamie Redman is the News Lead at Bitcoin.com News and a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open-source code, and decentralized applications. Since September 2015, Redman has written more than 5,000 articles for Bitcoin.com News about the disruptive protocols emerging today.
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.
Shiba Inu eyes 50% rally as SHIB price enters ‘cup-and-handle’ breakout mode
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.
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.
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.
— 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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